What is the primary function of the carbon cycle?
recycling the supply of carbon on Earth
recycling the supply of water on Earth
creating fossil fuels
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The plants use the carbon in forming chemical bonds for long term energy storage. Plants can't store the suns energy as it arrives but they can store chemical energy.
Photosynthesis takes CO2 out of the atmosphere and combining it with H2O creates glucose (C6H12O6) and oxygen. The plant uses its glucose to make into polysaccharides like starch for food and cellulose for structure.
This locks the carbon up until the plant is eaten where some carbon is released through respiration but some is kept to become part of the animal. Once the plant or animal dies and decays the carbon is released to the soil. Some returns to the atmosphere but some carbon remains trapped in the soil to eventually form hydrocarbons or fossil fuels.
Until we began burning hydrocarbons the photosynthesis, respiration, decomposition was the main cycle.