AskDefine | Define habitat

Dictionary Definition

habitat n : the type of environment in which an organism or group normally lives or occurs; "a marine habitat"; "he felt safe on his home grounds" [syn: home ground]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. a specific place or natural conditions in which a plant or animal lives.

Related terms


Extensive Definition

A habitat (which is Latin for "it inhabits") is an ecological or environmental area that is inhabited by a particular species. 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 "species 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 comprise 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.
A microhabitat is a physical location that is home to very small creatures, such as woodlice. Microenvironment is the immediate surroundings and other physical factors of an individual plant or animal within its habitat.

Ecological use

The term "habitat" can be used more broadly in ecology. It was originally defined as the physical conditions that surround a species, or species population, or assemblage of species, or community (Clements and Shelford, 1939). Thus, it is not just a species population that has a habitat, but an assemblage of many species living together in the same place that essentially share a habitat. In ecology, the habitat shared by many species is called a biotope. A biome is the set of flora and fauna which live in a habitat and occupy a certain geography.
Habitats can provide greater protection from big animals, for example, a thick undergrowth where an animal such as the Kudu may hide or go unnoticed.


Habitat destruction is a major factor in causing a species population to decrease, eventually leading to its being endangered, or even to its extinction. Large scale land clearing usually results in the removal of native vegetation and habitat destruction. Bushfires and poor fire management, pest and weed invasion, cyclone and storm damage can also destroy habitat.
One of the roles of national parks, nature reserves and other protected areas is to provide adequate refuge to animals by preserving habitat.

Human habitat

Human habitat is the environment in which human beings live, work, play and move about. It is not just a dwelling place – a house - but the sum of all factors that constitute the total environment.


Further reading

habitat in Bulgarian: Местообитание
habitat in Catalan: Hàbitat
habitat in Danish: Habitat
habitat in German: Habitat
habitat in Spanish: Hábitat
habitat in French: Habitat (écologie)
habitat in Indonesian: Habitat
habitat in Italian: Habitat
habitat in Hebrew: בית גידול
habitat in Javanese: Habitat
habitat in Lithuanian: Buveinė
habitat in Dutch: Habitat
habitat in Japanese: 生息地
habitat in Norwegian: Habitat
habitat in Norwegian Nynorsk: Habitat
habitat in Occitan (post 1500): Abitat
habitat in Polish: Siedlisko (biologia)
habitat in Portuguese: Hábitat
habitat in Romanian: Habitat
habitat in Russian: Ареал
habitat in Simple English: Habitat
habitat in Slovenian: Habitat (ekologija)
habitat in Serbian: Ареал
habitat in Swedish: Habitat
habitat in Tamil: வாழிடம் (வாழ்சூழலியல்)
habitat in Vietnamese: Hệ sinh thái tự nhiên
habitat in Turkish: Habitat
habitat in Ukrainian: Ареал
habitat in Chinese: 棲息地

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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