Producers are essential to any ecosystem, because they provide the base of energy that all organisms in an ecosystem use. This energy is made by the producers from the sun through the process of photosynthesis. There is a large variety of producers in the ecosystem in order to support all of the organisms that are consumers.Examples of producers in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are (as shown above) wintergreen, azalea, honeysuckle, gooseberry, and mulberry plants as well as maple and walnut trees.
There are different levels of consumers in any ecosystem. They are broken into primary, secondary, tertiary, and quarternary consumers. Each level of consumers means that they prey on those that are lower. The primary consumers only consume the producers, but the secondary consumers may eat the primary consumers, or the producers. Each level may consume any of the levels below them. Examples in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (as shown above) of primary consumers are: deer, flying squirrels, doves, and raccoon Examples of secondary consumers are: barn owls, bobcats, and timber rattle snakes. Examples of tertiary consumers are: bald eagles, black bears, red wolves, and great horned owls.