Ecosystem Facts



  • An ecosystem is a community of living things interacting with each other and their surroundings.
  • An ecosystem can be anything from a piece of rotting wood to a huge swamp. In every ecosystem each organism depends on the others.
  • When vegetation colonizes an area, the first plants to grow there are small and simple, such as mosses and lichens. Grass and sedges appear next.
  • The simple plants stabilize the soil so that bigger and more complex plants can move in. This is called vegetation succession.
  • Rainforest ecosystems cover only 8 percent of the world’s land, yet they include 40 percent of all the world’s plant and animal species.
  • Farming has a huge effect on natural ecosystems, reducing the number of species dramatically.
  • Green plants are autotrophs, or producers, which means they make their own food (from sunlight).
  • Rainforests are the world’s richest and most threatened regions.
  • Animals are heterotrophs, or consumers, which means they get their food from other living things.
  • Primary consumers are herbivores that eat plants.
  • Secondary consumers are carnivores that eat herbivores or each other.