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A habitat (which is Latin for "it inhabits") is an ecological or environmental area that is inhabited by a particular species.[1][2] It is the natural environment in which an organism lives, or the physical environment that surrounds (influences and is utilized by) a species population.[citation needed]

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.

File:RangeMap Lmarinus.jpg
A distribution map showing the bird Larus marinus's range and breeding grounds

A microhabitat or 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 predators, 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.

Anthropogenic use

Habitat is the environment in which human being live, work, recreate and move about. It is not just a dwelling place – “a house” with four walls but it is the sum total of all factors which constitute the total environment where human beings live, work and perform their essential and day to day obligations.

What is a ‘Habitat Centre’?

It is the centre of contemporary cultural economic, business and social events. The concern for the habitat and its environment works as the functional backbone of the complex. It not only provides an improved working environment to its employee but will also contribute to the urban level functions that a living city requires.

Habitat Centre should be conceived as an ideal physical environment with a range of facilities that maximize the effectiveness of the individuals and institutions, in their holistic support of the habitat. The principal resolve of the centre –“ to restore at every level – environment and ecological – a balanced, harmonious and improved way of life”, is to be reflected in its concept and design.

Several leading corporate entities and nonprofit organizations like Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI), Housing & Urban Development Corporation Ltd. (HUDCO), National Housing Bank (NHB), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), International Labour Organization (ILO), etc. sharing a common concern for the ‘Habitat’, would come together to participate in this exciting venture of institution building. The Habitat Centre would be a home not only to those offices and research organizations but in order to facilitate their interaction, the centre provides a range of facilities like conference venues, exhibition halls, seminar rooms, restaurants and performance venues for cultural activities.

Habitat Centre is conceived to provide a physical environment which would serve as a catalyst for a synergic relationship between individuals and institutions working in diverse habitat related areas and therefore, maximize the total effectiveness.


  1. Dickinson, C.I. 1963. British Seaweeds. The Kew Series
  2. Abercrombie, M., Hickman, C.J. and Johnson, M.L. 1966.A Dictionary of Biology. Penguin Reference Books, London

Further reading

bg:Местообитание ca:Hàbitat da:Habitat de:Habitat id:Habitat it:Habitat he:בית גידול jv:Habitat lt:Buveinė nl:Habitat no:Habitat nn:Habitat oc:Abitat simple:Habitat sl:Habitat (ekologija) sr:Ареал sv:Habitat ta:வாழிடம் (வாழ்சூழலியல்) uk:Ареал