Ilab Week 3

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 Deciduous forests are closer to the equator than the coniferous forests of the tiaga, and so they have a longer growing season. This gives the plants more time to produce food, and the forest yields about 6000 Kilocalories per square meter per year for animals to eat. These primary producers form the first trophic level. The trees in the deciduous forest shed their leaves in winter. This prevents their branches from being broken by the weight of the snow, but also means that they have to grow leaves anew each spring. The trees and shrubs produce flowers, seeds, and fruits, such as wild cherries and persimmons. Many of the shrubs beneath the trees also produce fruit, such as huckleberries, blackberries, and thimbleberries. Below the shrubs there are wild flowers, clumps of grasses, and ferns. Herbivores eat the leaves and fruits of the forest. Some of the animals that live in coniferous forests also live here. Squirrels, small rodents, and deer find food in the deciduous forest, and other plant eaters, including many birds and insects, are also members of the community of primary consumers. These animals are on the second trophic level. These animals can use the 6000 Kilocalories per square meters per year produced by the plants, but the most of this energy is used up in the processes of living, such as breathing, circulating the blood, growth, and reproduction. Only about one tenth of the energy is stored in the bodies of the herbivores, so animals eating these herbivores can only get 600 Kilocalories per square meters per year from their bodies. The small carnivores, the secondary consumers, form the third trophic level. Many of these animals, such as woodpeckers and skunks, eat insects, while others, such as racoons, foxes, and snakes, eat the small rodents and frogs. The small carnivores have 600 kilocalories per square kilometer per year to eat, but, again, nine tenths of these Kilocalories are used up in keeping the animals alive. The bodies of the...
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