INTERDEPENDENCE OF ANIMALS AND GREEN PLANTS.
Nature has variant and abundant ecosystems portraying not only beauty but also perfect balance of interdependence between animals and plants.
What is an ecosystem? It is a natural unit [habitat] consisting of plants, animals and micro organisms living intimately connected with respect to their nutritional dependence on food chain
Among the variant and abundant ecosystem, four have captivated me greatly, namely: the marine abundant in oceanic plants, corals and fish, tropical rain forests wherein reign peace and tranquility, savannah grasslands of wild animals, farm-crops and livestock rearing by man.
Conservation and protection of the ecosystems invites prior dispositions of: an aesthetic mind. Love that transcends…. Understanding nature better… Believing that nature is a fascinating mystery and that it is omniscient….
Ecological interdependence is best understood as a mutual and reciprocal dependence between herbivores, animals that eat plants, carnivores animals that eat herbivores, many micro organisms bacteria and fungi the agents of recycling dead plants and animals. The mutual dependence involves “TAKING” and “Giving food nutrients, a sustenance of nourishment, growth, and reproduction in all living organisms. Plants however, can survive and sustain themselves without animals, the reason being, they are the primary producers of the food chain. Herbivores look no where else but upon plants for all the food nutrients to sustain life. Reciprocally, animals replenish the soil with organic waste products and decay of cadavers, rich in food nutrients for the plants.
On dry land plants are ubiquitous and stationary while herbivores and carnivores roam adventurously in search of food. All live side y side, interdependently and in perfect harmony. Plants require carbon dioxide… which is a product of respiration in plants & animals. In view of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) ecosystems are protected areas for biodiversity conservation.Conservation and protection of the environment is essentially important for maintaining carbon dioxide- oxygen energy cycle in ecological balance.
Depending on no other organism for food, plants are autotrophs, the only living organisms capable of synthethesizing their own food nutrients through photosynthesis. Conversely, herbivores are heterotophs, incapable of synthesizing their own nutritive food. Heterotophs is wholly dependent on autotrophs ready-made food.
Herbivores are the animals adapted to the cultural behavior of eating plants- grass, leaves, fruits , edible roots and tubers. Aquatic animals, fish and corals feed on marine algae or sea-weeds. Indian ocean is a thriving ecosystem of phytoplankton plants the food for fish and more in particular corals. Plants on land and sea are primary producers [autotrophs] of the food chain.
Plant eating animals, herbivores on land and in the sea are primary consumers. Autotrophs are preys or hosts of heterotophs. Secondary consumers are carnivores, meat or flesh eating animals the predators preying on herbivores. At the end or apex of the food chain are bacteria that feed by biodegrating [decomposition] on dead animals, and fungi by parasitation on plants. The importance of consumers is the balance of food chain in the ecosystem.
One factor that controls nutrient cycle or ecological recycling is decomposition [rotting, decay] Decomposition is a process of breaking down complex organic substances, dead plants, animal waste products and dead animals into simpler inorganic substances, food nutrients to be used by autotrophs. The chemical action of breaking down food nutrients by decomposers, themselves heterotrophs deriving their energy and nutrients for nourishment, growth and reproduction from decaying organism. The decomposers, bacteria and fungi play an important role in the ecosystem by recycling nutrients into production. The process of recycling food nutrients takes place in three ways, and these are:
Animal waste products.
Animal waste products, feces [faeces], droppings, scat. Cow-dung and urine [plasma ultrafiltrate] are provisions of plant minerals nutrients. The waste products make humus, manure, the life force –in the soil, rich in organic matter, in particular nitrogen. Urine on the other hand has large quantities of macronutrients nitrogen [mostly urea] , phosphorous, and potassium. Micro nutrients include among others sulphur and calcium to mention but a few.
Animals waste products, feces and urine make farm yard manure [FYM]. In areas with intensified and manageable zero grazing and affordability of biogas technology, slurry [liquid manure] ejected from the digestor is drained directly to the farm-crops. It is the most effective fertilizer rich in broken down nutrients and absorbed directly by the hair roots.
Dead frees in tropical rain forests.
The floor of tropical rain forests litters with dead and decaying falling leaves, twigs, branches, logs, trunks and old stumps. The parasitizing fungi break them down [decompose] into organic compounds of sugars, starches and carbohydrates, essential nutrients that are necessary for a healthy forest. Carbon dioxide, water and methane are released. Methane are released. Carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere to start the cycle of photosynthesis. Methane is an organic compound containing carbon and hydrogen. [hydrocarbons]. The decomposed organic matter both on land and sea provide an abundance of carbon and hydrogen. Hydrocarbons are the basis of fossil fuel that includes coal, petroleum and natural gas.
Nitrogen is as essential to plants as much as oxygen, carbon dioxide and hydrogen. It exists abundantly consisting 78% of the earth’s atmosphere.
Nitrogen cycle is “The natural circulation of nitrogen in which atmospheric nitrogen is converted to nitrogen oxides by lightning and deposited in the soil by rain where it is animated by plants and either eaten by animals [and returned as faeces or decomposed back to elemental nitrogen by bacteria.” [allworsd.com].
Lightning strikes, the atmospheric nitrogen enters the soil with rain. It is converted into ammonia by nitrogen fixation bacteria residing in the root nodules of legumes. The circulation of nitrogen passes through food chain. Herbivores eat plants, carnivores eat herbivores. The waste product of animals, decomposition of dead plants and animals contain nitrogen in organic form. Bacteria and fungi convert organic nitrogen into ammonia has the compounds of nitrogen and hydrogen. Its two sources are nitrogen fixation, path faction of dead animals and vegetable decay. Ammonia is converted into amino acids, the building blocks of protein, essential for photosynthesis, growth and reproduction in plants.