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Why do All Food Chains Start with Plants? (Quick Read)


The food chain includes 3 types of links, each playing an essential role in the life cycle: 

  • Producers
  • Consumers
  • Decomposers


  1. The producers

Producers are the living beings at the beginning of the food chain. For example, plants are producers. Producers are always the first link in a food chain.


Producers are the living beings capable of producing their own living matter.


  1. Consumers

Consumers are living beings that cannot produce their own organic matter. To grow and develop, they need to consume other living beings. For example, animals or humans are consumers.


  1. Decomposers

Decomposers are the living beings that degrade organic matter, transform it and return it to nature in the form of mineral elements.


They are the living beings in charge of “cleaning” the earth and recycling dead living beings into organic matter that can in turn be consumed by producers. For example, maggots are decomposers.


Why does every food chain start with plants?

It’s actually quite simple, the first link in any food chain is a producer, which means that they (the plants) produce themselves. It is actually quite logical, the plant does not need any other living being to appear, but water, and light mainly.


To be precise, it is the fir tree, which is part of the conifers that is at the source of the whole food chain, it is the latter that introduced the idea of the seed to our planet.


Plants have a very long history that began more than 500 million years ago, to clarify this explanation, it is important to understand how plants arrived at earth:


How did plants come to be on earth?

Algae, which live in water, are the first plants to appear. To reproduce, they release what are called spores (reproductive cells) into the water. Over time, some algae emerged from the water.


Then the first forms of terrestrial plants appeared. These plants stayed low to the ground, like the mosses you see here. They are exactly the same as they were 400 million years ago. They also release spores that fall to the ground. Not only that, but they will allow the moss to reproduce on moist soil near the shore and disperse.


Then, the ferns appeared. They also reproduce thanks to their spores. They are able, for the first time in evolution, to grow on dry land, outside aquatic environments.


How did the seeds appear on earth?

The fir tree is part of the conifers. They invented the seed 350 million years ago. This allowed them to reproduce easily and to take precedence over other plants.


And then, about 100 million years ago, flowering plants appeared. The flower is a very sophisticated organ that allows the plant to reproduce. It attracts insects that will pollinate it. The flower is then fertilized and will then produce fruits that contain seeds, and so on.


From algae to flowering plants, plants have evolved, acquired new forms and new means of reproduction. These have allowed them to adapt and inhabit new environments.

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