The carbon cycle explains how carbon circulates around the Earth:
- Enter the atmosphere: Carbon enters the atmosphere as carbon dioxide from breathing and burning carbon.
- Absorbed by plants: The carbon dioxide is then absorbed by plants through photosynthesis.
- Animals eat the plants: Most of the carbon dioxide from the plant is exhaled during breathing (respiration.)
- Becoming a fossil: When the animal dies, it is eaten by decomposers, with the carbon in their bodies returning to the atmosphere. This doesn’t always happen – the carbon is sometimes stored in the ground, which could be used for fossil fuels.