Food Web of the Deciduous Forest

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Deciduous forests are dominated by broad-leaved trees that annually drop their foliage for part of the year, whether cold winter or parched dry season. The food web of such an ecosystem describes the transfer of energy from producers to consumers to decomposers.

The food web of the deciduous forest sees energy cycled through ecological niches.
(Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

A great array of producers in the deciduous forest do the work of converting sunlight to usable food energy. Along with bacteria, plants are the major producers in this ecosystem, from groundcover herbs to towering maples, beeches and other broad-leaved trees.

Plants are important producers in any deciduous forest.
lupine image by Einar Bog from Fotolia.com

Herbivores are primary consumer, that is they eat the producers. In a typical deciduous forest of the Northern Hemisphere, they include rodents, like mice and voles, hoofed mammals, like deer and moose, lagomorphs, like rabbits, and a host of seed- and nut-eating birds.

Rabbits are common primary consumers in deciduous forests.
eastern cottontail rabbit (sylvilagus floridanus) image by Bruce MacQueen from Fotolia.com

These herbivores are, in turn, hunted and eaten by secondary consumers, the predators of the deciduous forest. Depending on the part of the world, these might include gopher snakes, horned owls, coyotes, lynx or even Amur tigers, which fell deer and boar in deciduous woods of the Russian Far East and adjoining China.

An Amur tiger is an extreme example of a deciduous forest secondary consumer.
siberian tiger image by Tom Curtis from Fotolia.com

Various kinds of fungi, soil bacteria and invertebrates are only a few of the deciduous forest’s decomposers, those that break down organic matter. Even a secondary consumer, like a red fox or a goshawk, will eventually be processed by these essential organisms.

Common deciduous forest decomposers include earthworms and fungi.
Earthworms image by Ana Dudnic from Fotolia.com

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References

  • "Dictionary of Nature"; D. Burnie; 1994
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