Imagine if every leaf that fell to the forest floor was still there, perfectly intact, looking just like the day it parted with its tree. Or consider what would happen if every time an animal pooped, the waste just sat on the ground. Ewww! Earth would be covered in piles of dead things and doodoo! Luckily nature has a much better idea...organic matter on the ecosystem floor goes through a decaying process. We call this process decomposition. And it is awesome!
Decomposition is literally defined as the process of rotting or decay. It happens when dead plants, animals and organic wastes are broken down into their structural components. This process is usually started by microscopic organisms that live on the forest floor or in the soil. Species that feed on the organic matter are called decomposers. We don’t often hear about these organisms, but what an important job they have! They are the unsung heroes of the food chain. We know herbivores eat plants and carnivores eat meat; decomposers feed on dead things and animal waste.