A habitat (which is Latin for "it inhabits") is an ecological or environmental area that is inhabited by a particular species of animal, plant or other type of organism. It is the natural environment in which an organism lives, or the physical environment that surrounds (influences and is utilized by) a species population.
The term "population" is preferred to "organism" because, while it is possible to describe the habitat of a single black bear, we may not find any particular or individual bear but the grouping of bears that constitute a breeding population and occupy a certain biogeographical area. Further, this habitat could be somewhat different from the habitat of another group or population of black bears living elsewhere. Thus it is neither the species nor the individual for which the term habitat is typically used.
The term microhabitat is often used to describe the small-scale physical requirements of a particular organism or population. A microhabitat is often a smaller habitat within a larger one. For example, a fallen log inside a forest can provide microhabitat for insects that are not found in the wider forest habitat outside such logs. Microenvironment is the immediate surroundings and other physical factors of an individual plant or animal within its habitat.
Human habitat is the environment in which human beings exist and interact. For example, a house is a human habitat, where human beings sleep and eat.
- ^ Dickinson, C.I. 1963. British Seaweeds. The Kew Series
- ^ Abercrombie, M., Hickman, C.J. and Johnson, M.L. 1966.A Dictionary of Biology. Penguin Reference Books, London