Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-99c86f546-qdp55 Total loading time: 0.342 Render date: 2021-12-04T18:04:38.382Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

5 - Biotic interactions

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2012

Peter Thomas
Affiliation:
Keele University
John Packham
Affiliation:
University of Wolverhampton
Get access

Summary

Producers and consumers

Primary production is undertaken by autotrophs, which in forests are green plants (photoautotrophs) that produce complex compounds from simple raw materials using the energy of light in the process of photosynthesis. Chemoautotrophs do this using the energy of chemical reactions (chemosynthesis), but do not play an important role in woodlands. Heterotrophs, by contrast, consume other organisms and so are dependent on the uptake of energy in organic materials synthesized by these other organisms. Herbivores, carnivores, parasites and decomposers (saprotrophs) are all heterotrophs; they vary in size from microorganisms and insect larvae to elephants and all play important roles in woodland, forest and related ecosystems. The increase in biomass of heterotrophs is known as secondary production. Heterotrophs that exploit autotrophs directly are called herbivores or primary consumers. These are consumed by secondary consumers, the carnivores, and some of these may in turn be eaten by tertiary consumers to form food chains. It is rare for an animal to feed on just one other species, so in reality food chains become a food web, a network of interconnected food chains (see Fig. 1.10). Many of the consumers forming this plant-dependent web influence green plants adversely, often by feeding or trampling. Others are positive, acting as pollinators and dispersers of fruits and seeds, and even more significantly, promoting nutrient cycling (see Section 8.3).

Type
Chapter
Information
Ecology of Woodlands and Forests
Description, Dynamics and Diversity
, pp. 187 - 240
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2007

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

  • Biotic interactions
  • Peter Thomas, Keele University, John Packham, University of Wolverhampton
  • Book: Ecology of Woodlands and Forests
  • Online publication: 05 June 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511805578.007
Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

  • Biotic interactions
  • Peter Thomas, Keele University, John Packham, University of Wolverhampton
  • Book: Ecology of Woodlands and Forests
  • Online publication: 05 June 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511805578.007
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Biotic interactions
  • Peter Thomas, Keele University, John Packham, University of Wolverhampton
  • Book: Ecology of Woodlands and Forests
  • Online publication: 05 June 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511805578.007
Available formats
×