A habitat refers to the physical dimensions of an environment or place or site that serves as home for an organism or community of organisms or species, and it includes all the conditions present in that place. Examples would include a desert, tropical forest, field, Arctic Tundra, a particular ocean, even a city. The Irish EPA offers the following definition: “The dwelling place of a species or community, providing a particular set of environmental conditions (e.g. forest floor, sea shore).” Literally, the word means, in Latin, “it inhabits.”
Habitats can be distinguished from “ecosystem” which refers to “A community of organisms that depend on each other and the environment they inhabit.” In one sense, an ecosystem can be seen as a collection of habitats where organisms interact with each other.
Some further ideas to explore on Habitats:
Identify the nearest habitat and try to determine its boundary.
What organisms live in the habitat?
What protections are provided for the habitat – by law, by regulation, by custom or practice.
“Habitat” Irish Environmental Protection Agency, www.epa.ie/glossary/
“Habitat”, European Environment Agency,
See “Ecosystem” in iePEDIA section of irish environment
National Geographic, “Habitats” environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/habitats/
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