Can consumers survive without producers?

Knowledge pool
Habitats - Large forest dwellers

Food chains and webs

The principle of eating and being eaten prevails in the forest. If you create an overview of the above-mentioned food relationships, you get what is known as a food chain. The food relationships in the forest in turn consist of many different food chains that are connected to one another like the threads of a network. That is why one speaks of the “food web”.

What all food chains have in common is that they start with plants that build up their plant body through photosynthesis. The plants are therefore referred to as producers or producers. The next links in a food chain are dependent on the organic components of the link in front of them for their growth. They are therefore called consumers or consumers. A distinction is made between first-order consumers (first-order consumers) who eat plants, second-order consumers (second-order consumers) who in turn feed on herbivores, third-order consumers (third-party consumers), etc. As a rule, the food chains do not have more than 4 - 5 links. The final link is the end user.


If the end user dies, it is broken down into its mineral components by so-called "destructors". Worms and insects do the preparatory work. Then it is the turn of the fungi and bacteria. They break down the remains into the smallest organic building blocks, which can then be taken up again by the plants. So the destructors provide nutrients for the producers. So we come full circle.

© Silke Harrer, Susanne Decker