A habitat is an ecological or environmental area that is inhabited by human, a particular species of animal, plant, or other type of organism. A place where a living thing lives is its habitat. It is a place where it can find food, shelter, protection and mates for reproduction. It is the natural environment in which an organism lives, or the physical environment that surrounds a species population.
A habitat is made up of physical factors such as soil, moisture, range of temperature, and availability of light as well as biotic factors such as the availability of food and the presence of predators. A habitat is not necessarily a geographic area—for a parasitic organism it is the body of its host, part of the host's body such as the digestive tract, or a cell within the host's body.
A microhabitat is the small-scale physical requirements of a particular organism or population.
The monotypic habitat occurs in botanical and zoological contexts, and is a component of conservation biology. In restoration ecology of native plant communities or habitats, some invasive species create monotypic stands that replace and/or prevent other species, especially indigenous ones, from growing there. A dominant colonization can occur from retardant chemicals exuded, nutrient monopolization, or from lack of natural controls such as herbivores or climate, that keep them in balance with their native habitats. The yellow starthistle, Centaurea solstitialis, is a botanical monotypic-habitat example of this, currently dominating over 15,000,000 acres (61,000 km2) in California alone. The non-native freshwater zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha, that colonizes areas of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed, without its home-range predator control, is a zoological monotypic-habitat example. Even though its name may seem to imply simplicity as compared with polytypic habitats, the monotypic habitat can be complex.
- Ecological niche
- Habitat conservation
- Habitat corridor
- Habitat fragmentation: the fragmentation of habitat
- Marine habitats
- Habitat destruction: the loss of habitat