Four Components of an Ecosystem

by Jennifer VanBaren; Updated September 26, 2017
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The word ecosystem refers to a community of organisms living in the same environment. Some ecosystems are large, such as an entire jungle; while some are very small, such as small ponds. An ecosystem includes the ways these organisms live, feed and reproduce within that particular area. Ecosystems contain many components, but the four main things needed in an ecosystem are plants, animals, rocks and minerals, and water.

Plants

An ecosystem must have plant life. Plants are useful and necessary in an ecosystem because they extract minerals from water. They also make their own food through carbon dioxide. This is a necessary part of an ecosystem because the animals and other parts of nature need plants primarily for food. Plants are considered producers because they not only make food for themselves to sustain their own lives, but they feed other organisms in the ecosystem.

Animals

Animals are another key component in an ecosystem because they are considered consumers. They eat plants, and other animals. Animals are vital in the circle of nature. Larger animals eat smaller animals. Small animals eat plants and insects. Through animals, an ecosystem functions properly by keeping control of living things.

Water

Water and other elements of the physical nature are also considered one of the key components of an ecosystem. All living organisms require water to survive. In order to have a sufficient amount of water, an ecosystem requires things such as rain, sunshine and clouds. All of these components work together to allow an ecosystem to survive.

Rocks, Soil and Minerals

Other natural and chemical factors required in an ecosystem are rocks, soil and minerals. Plants require these elements in order to survive and plants are needed for other organisms to survive. Other elements required in an ecosystem are decomposers, which include bacteria and fungi. These are needed to break down dead plants and animals. After decomposers break these things down, new types of microorganisms are created. Decomposers also are needed to simply eliminate all dead organisms by removing them naturally.

About the Author

Jennifer VanBaren started her professional online writing career in 2010. She taught college-level accounting, math and business classes for five years. Her writing highlights include publishing articles about music, business, gardening and home organization. She holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting and finance from St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer, Ind.

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