How Do Plants & Animals Depend on Each Other?

Giraffes are herbivores that depend on plants as their sole food source.
••• Jupiterimages/ Images

The global ecosystem depends on both plants and animals to survive -- and as part of that ecosystem, plants and animals need each other. Although their symbiotic relationship is sometimes subtle, at other times their impact on one another is striking.


Bees pollinate flowers.
••• Andy Sotiriou/Photodisc/Getty Images

Plants and animals benefit each other as members of food chains and ecosystems. For instance, flowering plants rely on bees and hummingbirds to pollinate them, while animals eat plants and sometimes make homes in them. When animals die and decompose, they enrich the soil with nitrates that stimulate plant growth.


Flowering plants rely on hummingbirds to pollinate them.
••• Jupiterimages/ Images

Many relationships between plants and animals are mutually beneficial. For instance, flowers need hummingbirds to pollinate them, just as hummingbirds need the flowers' nectar to refuel.

Global Significance

If a species goes extinct, many others suffer.
••• Anup Shah/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Plants provide a global benefit to animals by releasing oxygen into the atmosphere. Although pollination and food chains affect only a few local plants and animals, they frequently overlap to form larger food webs that contain hundreds or even thousands of wildlife species. This global significance means that when one plant or animal goes extinct, many others suffer as a result.

Related Articles

The Average Rainfall in a Fresh Water Ecosystem
What Are the Causes of the Destruction of Ecosystem?
The Effects of Cutting Down Trees on the Ecosystem
What Foods Do Animals Eat in the Tundra?
Interactions in the Ecosystem
How to Convert Hours & Minutes to Decimals
Why Is the Food Web Important?
Animals Found in the Tropical Evergreen Forest
What Are the Functions of Photosynthesis?
How Does the Earth's Revolution Affect Its Seasons?
How to Convert Kilojoules to Kilocalories
The Effects of Carbon Dioxide on Air Pollution
Effect of Human Activities on the Environment
Animals That Live in the Bottlenose Dolphin's Habitat
Characteristics of the Ecosystem
How to Calculate an Equivalent Fraction
How to Convert 12 Volt Alternator to 120 Volts
How to Convert Pounds Per Square Foot to PSI
How is Calculus Used in Economics?
How to Find the X Intercept of a Function