Show that the energy flow in an ecosystem is linear.

The diagram below shows the energy flow in the ecosystem.

energy-flow-ecosystem-heat-concise-physics-solutions-icse-class-9-1200x995

Plants being primary producers, absorb solar energy to prepare food. This food is then used up by primary consumers, so they obtain only a small part of energy from the producers and rest is wasted in decay of producers.

Afterwards, a small part of energy stored as food in primary consumers is obtained by secondary consumers (carnivores). They again use a part of energy in respiration and rest is stored in them as food.

Now, the tertiary consumers (carnivores) obtain energy as food from the secondary consumers and utilise a small part in respiration and rest is wasted in their decay and decomposition.

The energy flow in ecosystems is thus linear i.e., it moves in a fixed direction. At the end, the energy reaches to the degraded (or unuseful) state. It does not return to the sun to make the process cyclic.

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