13 Interesting Examples of Habitats
Habitat is defined as a specific, unique area that supports plants, animals, and any other biological forms of life. The world is filled with different types of habitats, even though some official resources list only four types of main biomes. The Arctic, aquatic, desert, and grassland are just some of the different and diverse habitats spread across the world.
Habitats support life but also protect the environment that surrounds them. Each habitat has its unique weather and a symbiotic relationship that sets it apart from how another habitat might work.
Unfortunately, it is also a truth that the world’s habitats are under severe threat. Human interference and pollution are two of its largest problems – and the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that only 23% of all species are considered safe.
Did you know that both Arizona and Ethiopia contain deserts – but that other, manmade deserts also exist in the world? There aren’t just four habitats in the world, but many more encompassing a wide, almost unending variety of life. Sometimes, you change from one habitat to another just by going into your garden.
The arctic climate is characterized by lowered, freezing climate – but that is not its only distinguishing feature. Arctic habitats are defined by their icy environment and the combined lack of trees due to the weather conditions.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, arctic habitats are under serious threat due to over warming – and have warmed by at least 10 degrees Fahrenheit since 1900.
Arctic environments exist all over the United States, Canada, Russia, Iceland, Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Greenland. If there’s ice and a lack of trees, you might be in an arctic climate!
Polar habitats exist separately and are located at the utmost poles of the world (where conditions reach even further into the extremes).
See Related: Best Books on Pollution
The term aqua means water, and it should provide a clear clue as to what you can find in this habitat. Aquatic habitats are officially defined as rivers, lakes, wetlands, and lagoons – ones where the water concentration is less than 1%.
Simply, aquatic biomes have a lot of water – and exist in smaller capacities too. A small pool of water is just as much of an aquatic ecosystem as the larger river near your house!
Aquatic habitats can be found all over the world, though they are distinguished from Marine habitats in two ways. First, the salt concentration of a marine habitat is high – and second, the concentration of a marine habitat is higher than that of an aquatic one.
See Related: Is Rainwater Harvesting Worth It?
Coastal habitats are a type of environment that is flanked by a combination of the ocean on the one side and land on the other. Coasts are known for their high humidity levels, which often lead to other habitats (like coastal forests) nearby.
While a marine habitat would describe the ocean itself, the term coastal refers to the rich selection of animal and plant life that can be found around it.
Weather conditions in coastal areas are not often extreme – but can be varied, with higher rainfall than in comparative habitats, like grasslands.
Mangroves, seagrass, kept forests, and the beach is different coastal habitats. These areas all support vast forms of life and co-exist with the environments near them.
Coastal areas are one of the most protected habitats in the world, and like wetlands, they are often one of the most damaged by pollution and industry.
See Related: Home Wind Turbines
Desert habitats are defined by their dry, arid conditions and lack of flowing streams of water that you would associate with some other habitats. The desert can sometimes be unforgiving for humans on their own but still remains a very rich environment for plant and animal life.
Temperatures in the average desert habitat might reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit or more. While they can be extremely hot, deserts are also known for cooling down at night – this gives its unique selection of nocturnal nature the time to flourish.
Deserts might not look like it at first sight, but they are an ideal habitat for many. Arizona and Ethiopia are two examples of the world’s deserts, rich in life – but still with much of a need for environmental protection to preserve these areas for the future.
See Related: Electric Scooters Pros and Cons
5. Desert (Manmade)
Deserts are characterized by their high temperatures, low humidity, and harsh conditions – but sometimes, deserts are not a natural occurrence. Manmade deserts aren’t a natural biome but an ecological disaster.
The phenomenon is called desertification and sees the lush green of an area stripped over a long period of time. Eventually and subject to more physical abuse, the area eventually becomes an unnatural desert.
The Sahara is one example of an area that wasn’t always known as a desert but became one thanks to human interference. Worldwide projects are in place to prevent desertification, and to reverse the damage in areas where desertification has already done its damage.
See Related: Best Composting Books You Need to Know
Forest environments exist to support as much as 3/4 of the world’s life, and it makes the average forest one of the most diverse areas in life – that’s if you know where to look for it.
There are different types of forests, categorized by the trees that are predominantly found in them. A forest might be tropical but also coniferous or coastal.
Forests support a wide selection of different lifeforms, including mushrooms, various forms of moss, and often hundreds of different birds, mammals, and insects.
Forests like the Amazon are under an increased threat of deforestation. Efforts are being made to restore forests to their former glory and to prevent damage to existing ones.
See Related: Are Cork Trees Endangered?
Grasslands get their name from the two things you are most likely to see in this habitat: an abundance of grass and land in the same biosphere.
The Serengeti is perhaps one of the most famous examples of grassland in the world, though grasslands with similar weather conditions and nature can be found everywhere (including Australia, New Zealand, and the United States).
Large, open areas define the average grassland habitat. While the environment can be hot, the average grassland gets enough rain throughout the year to support its rich and diverse life.
See Related: Best Clothing Companies That Plant Trees
The term tundra describes a specific type of habitat that stands out from the rest due to its elevation – often, extreme temperatures edging to the low end of the thermometer are typical of the tundra.
A tundra might be arctic or alpine, with Alpine tundra considered especially high. Alaska and Canada both contain tundra, though certain areas of the Alps would also classify. (Yes, it’s the elevation.)
Within an arctic tundra, temperatures can be as low as -25 degrees Fahrenheit. Problematic for people, but ideal for the life this specific habitat supports.
Global warming is one of the unfortunate environmental factors which affect the world’s tundra. If temperatures rise too far, these wonderful areas can no longer support life. Check these different types of tundra plants out there.
See Related: Important Erosion Pros and Cons You Need to Know
9. Mountain Ranges
Mountain ranges are something that you might think of as environments rather than habitats, but a mountain range creates its own weather system – and thus, it counts as its own habitat for a variety of unique life.
Of the world’s mountain ranges, the Andes is considered one of the longest – though there are several large (and smaller) mountain ranges to be found worldwide.
What makes it a range? Several connected mountains make up a mountain range, usually with their peak (or highest elevation level. Approximately one-third of the world’s surface is covered with various mountain ranges.
Some mountain ranges are known for their harsh climates, and some stretches remain unexplored today due to the danger associated with their exploration.
But mountain ranges are also unique and support hundreds of different lifeforms. Famed for their beauty, mountain ranges create their own ecosystem and weather thanks to combined natural factors (elevation, humidity, and heat).
See Related: Conservation vs. Preservation
Steppes are a special habitat between several biomes and need their classification. The world’s steppes are known to be semi-arid but are not quite dry enough to classify these areas as deserts – thus, these plains are known as prairies.
The prairies of North America are famous all over the world. Prairie dogs, of course, can be found there – though they are burrowing rodents, not dogs!
See Related: Best Posters on Saving Earth
Wetlands are one of the world’s most unique environments, and several hundred different wetlands exist all over the world – including the swamps of Mississippi. Wetlands are called ‘wet’ because the environment absorbs water, sometimes throughout the year.
The world’s wetlands are protected, but also protective. The presence of wetlands can reduce the damage in the event of a natural disaster – and additionally, wetlands also act as a natural water filtration system.
It’s thanks to the world’s wetlands that we have clean rivers and lakes! Unfortunately, wetlands are also one of the most affected biomes in the world. Taking the most damage thanks to our carbon footprint, the great wetland is one of the most important natural environments we have on Earth.
See Related: Important Water Flow Pros and Cons to Know
Microhabitats are habitats that make up a smaller surface area than comparisons (like deserts and arctic environments). According to the World Atlas, microhabitats include coniferous forests, open woodlands, and glades.
A microhabitat can also be found at the bottom of a leaf or in a pool of water. If it’s small and supports its forms of life, it can be called a microhabitat (and there are ones all around us). Not all habitats are major, but all habitats should be a major concern!
See Related: Best Sustainable Gifts for Your Eco-Friendly Friends
13. Extreme Habitats
There is one more type of habitat that you might not read about in every resource: the extreme habitat. Several extreme habitats exist worldwide and do not traditionally fit into the categories we’ve already described.
An extreme habitat is harsh, though not too harsh, to support its combination of life. For a habitat to count as extreme, it must be a specific kind of harsh environment. The conditions contributing to a harsh environment include hypersalinity, heightened (or lowered) air pressure, and extreme dryness.
While extreme habitats are not ideal for humans, they are perfect for exceptional animals, insects, plants, and microorganisms. Organisms that can survive these extreme conditions are called extremophiles – for example, the depths of the sea.
See Related: Best Books on Sustainable Living
12.1 Deep Ocean
The definition of a “deep” ocean is at least 650 feet down into the depths. Deep ocean conditions include such a drastic pressure change that it has remained unexplored by humans for a very long time – but today, we have the means. The deep ocean is extreme but still supports a wide variety of different life – including anglerfish.
See Related: Best Eco-Friendly Trash Bags
Deserts are one form of environment that can also sometimes be extreme. When the heat reaches extreme heights humans cannot handle for extended periods, a rare biome emerges – the extreme desert. Extreme deserts are some of the harshest places on Earth but are simultaneously rich in life.
See Related: Solar vs Wind Energy: What’s the Difference?
Volcanoes are found worldwide and might exist in one of two states: active or inactive. Active volcanoes include Italy’s Mount Etna, which recently erupted in February 2021. Mount Kilimanjaro is an example of a dormant (or inactive) volcano that has not erupted for years.
- Most Polluted Rivers in the United States
- Types of Terrain You Need to Know
- World’s Largest National Parks You Won’t Believe Exist
Habitat Creation: Components & Examples
When you were younger, did you ever make ‘an ecosystem in a bottle’? If not, you can try it now. All you need is a glass jar, pebbles, soil, and a few patches of moss.
Remove the lid and lay the jar on its side.
Add a base of pebbles to the jar.
Cover the pebbles with a thin layer of soil.
Dip your patches of moss into water, then gently squeeze out the excess.
Place your damp moss into the jar.
Put the lid back on the jar.
Congratulations! You’ve created your own habitat.
Habitat Creation: Definition
First, let’s recap habitats.
A habitat is the place that an organism lives.
So, what’s habitat creation?
Habitat creation is the formation or extension of ecosystems with the aim of enhancing biodiversity.
The Five Components of a Habitat
Good habitats require five essential elements.
Food is needed for energy.
Water is needed for hydration and photosynthesis.
Shelter provides protection from the elements and predators.
Space is necessary to avoid competition or form territories.
Arrangement is the placement of food, water, shelter, and space in a habitat. Ideally, these four elements occur in a small area.
Habitat Creation and Restoration
Human activities have led to habitat destruction, affecting wildlife and threatening species with extinction. Wildlife conservation aims to support wildlife survival by reversing the destruction.
Creating New Habitats
Establishing new habitats is a good method of counteracting habitat destruction. Landowners and farmers around the UK are encouraged to convert sites with potential into new, natural habitats. Creating new habitats can take place at a variety of scales, from a wildflower patch at the end of your garden, to planting a new woodland on a brownfield site.
A brownfield site is an area of previously developed land that is no longer in use.
It’s easiest to create new habitats nearby pre-existing ones.
Ancient woodlands are woods that have existed since at least 1600 CE, and support complex irreplaceable ecosystems. Sadly, up to 70% of the UK’s ancient woodlands have been lost.
Not to fear though – planting trees and shrubs can lead to a proper woodland habitat in just 30 years.
When creating a woodland habitat, the following should be considered:
Before the Roman era, 25% of the British Isles was covered by wetlands (ecosystems covered by or saturated with water).
Wetland habitats include swamps, marshes, estuaries, and mangroves.
Wetlands are ecologically important, and can support a high species diversity. Constructed wetlands consist of a depression with a level bottom, that is filled with water.
Constructed wetlands can be used to filter out sediments and trace metals in wastewater.
Fig. 1 — Wetland habitats support a high diversity of bird species. Unsplash
When creating a wetland habitat, the following should be considered:
Proximity to buildings and services
Depth of the depression
Soil and underlying rock
Restoring Old Habitats
Habitat restoration is the rehabilitation of an area to recreate a functioning ecosystem. Restoring a habitat involves management, protection, and re-establishing local plant populations.
When restoring a habitat, it’s essential to understand species interactions, as well as the abiotic factors and human influences affecting the habitat.
The concept of rewilding is linked to habitat restoration.
Rewilding is a conservation approach where nature is allowed to take care of itself. Natural, undisturbed processes repair damaged ecosystems and landscapes.
Rewilding has the potential to boost biodiversity, but it has been criticised by farmers and rural businesses.
Unintentional Habitat Creation
Most habitat creation is intentional, with the aim of restoring wildlife. However, some habitats have been made accidentally. A good example is roadside verges.
Roadside verges are strips of vegetation alongside motorways and other roads. They prevent flooding, store highway equipment, and provide a safe place for drivers who experience a breakdown. The total area covered by roadside verges is thought to equal the size of the Lake District National Park.
Fig. 2 — A roadside verge, home to long grasses. Unsplash
Roadside verges have become important habitats for wild plants – over 700 wildflower species can be found in verges around the UK. The undisturbed, nutrient-poor soils provide perfect conditions for plants to survive. Verges can help to reconnect and restore larger habitats by acting as corridors, allowing plants and animals to disperse and repopulate different areas.
We’ll go into corridors in more detail later on.
Habitat Creation: Management
Once established, new or restored habitats need to be managed to maintain species diversity. Some habitat management techniques are summarised here.
Removal of alien species: invasive species may outcompete the protected species, disrupting the ecological community.
Establishing brush piles: piles of brush (dense bushes) assembled to provide cover and den sites for animals.
Creating snags: snags are (partially) dead standing trees. They provide a variety of benefits to wildlife, including cavities, perches, and food.
Fencing: when growing new plants, it may be necessary to protect plants from grazing mammals until they are well established.
Building nest boxes: these provide potential nesting sites for birds, and allow for easy monitoring.
Maintaining spring seeps: these natural water sources flow to the surface to form small streams. They are important during harsh winters when most water is frozen. Spring seeps can be maintained by protecting them from agricultural pollution, or preventing clear-cutting nearby.
Coppicing: the woodland management technique of felling trees at their base is known as coppicing. It may seem counterintuitive, but it has a variety of positive impacts. Felling trees increase light availability on the ground, allowing other species to grow there. Furthermore, coppicing results in a varied age structure, which provides diverse habitat and cover.
Habitat Creation and Fragmentation
The physical structure of habitats may affect the success of conservation programmes.
Larger habitats are more effective than smaller ones. Habitat size is positively correlated with species diversity.
Minimum Viable Population (MVP)
The minimum viable population is the smallest population size required to sustain a population.
Large animals, or those with a low population density, require a greater habitat area to support an MVP.
Rounder habitats with a regular shape have a lower edge area, minimising edge effects.
Edge effects are changes in population or community structures that occur at the boundary of a habitat.
Habitat edges typically experience reduced biodiversity.
Age structure is the proportion of individuals in different age categories. It’s closely tied to habitat stability, which is defined as the variability between age classes of the population.
Stable populations tend to have relatively more individuals of reproductive age.
It may be difficult to introduce the desired species to a new habitat. Disturbance, the size of a habitat, the shape of a habitat, and proximity to other habitats can affect introduction success.
A biological corridor is a long, thin area of habitat connecting wildlife populations separated by human activities or structures.
Corridors are a popular approach to maintain connectivity – both structural and functional.
Habitat Creation: Examples
Get inspired with these habitat creation success stories.
The Danube Delta
A rewilding project in the Ukrainian Danube Delta has been successful at restoring natural wetland habitats. Ten obsolete dams were removed, restoring natural river processes. Water buffalo were released onto Ermakov Island, with the aim of boosting diversity of flora and fauna.
Welsh Seagrass Restoration
Over one million seagrass seeds have been collected in Porthdinllaen, North Wales. The seeds were grown in aquaria and planted in a degraded seagrass bed near Dale, West Wales. The restored habitat will boost marine life and store carbon.
Reforestation in Tanzania
The Kwimba region experienced widespread deforestation during the 20th century. A nine-year project planted 6.4 million trees in the area. A unique feature of this project was ‘tree ownership certificates’, which entitled the owner to a tree, regardless of who owned the land it was planted on.
I hope that this article has explained habitat creation for you; it’s the formation or extension of ecosystems with the aim of enhancing biodiversity. The physical structure of habitats need to be considered. Once established, habitats should be managed to ensure their conservation success.
Habitat Creation — Key takeaways
- Habitat creation is the formation or extension of ecosystems with the aim of enhancing biodiversity. A good habitat requires food, water, shelter, space, and an appropriate arrangement of these features.
- Habitats can be created from scratch (woodlands and wetlands are common examples), or restored after degradation. Restoration is associated with rewilding – where nature is allowed to take care of itself.
- Some habitats are created unintentionally, such as roadside verges.
- Once established, habitats need to be managed. Techniques include removal of alien species, establishing brush piles, creating snags, setting up fencing, building nest boxes, maintaining spring seeps, and coppicing.
- The physical structure of habitats can affect the project’s success. Structural traits include habitat area, habitat shape, age structure, and biological corridors.
1. Emma Oldham, 8 Marine Rewilding Projects Around Britain, Rewilding Britain, 2022
2. Forest Research, Wetland habitats, 2022
3. Jeff McIntire-Strasburg,5 Successful Reforestation Projects, Insteading, 2019
4. Open Access Government, Six conservation success stories of 2019, 2019
5. Suffolk Wildlife Trust, Woodland Creation, 2022
6. Woodland Trust, Ancient Woodland, 2022
7. Yvonne Da Silva, Why road verges are important habitats for wildflowers and animals, Natural History Museum, 2022
4 habitats of living organisms and their characteristics (general table)
The first habitat of organisms was water. It was in her that life was born. With historical development, many organisms began to populate the Earth’s ground-air environment. As a result, terrestrial plants and animals appeared, which evolved, adapting and getting used to the new conditions of existence. During the life of organisms on earth, the surface layers of the lithosphere gradually turned into soil, according to Vernadsky V.I., “the bio-inert body of the planet” — a substance that arose during the joint activity of living organisms and their habitat. Bio-inert bodies are natural mineral compounds processed through the vital activity of plant and animal organisms.
Aquatic and terrestrial organisms began to populate the soil, creating a special complex of its inhabitants. Probably, the formation of parasites and symbionts proceeded in parallel, the environment of which in water, on land and in soil became other organisms — hosts and cohabitants. At the moment, 4 habitats of organisms are distinguished: aquatic, terrestrial-air, soil and living organisms.
4 living organisms table
Adaptations of organisms to the environment
High density, thermal conductivity, transparency, strong pressure drops, poor aeration, illumination decreases with depth, relatively uniform (homogeneous) in space and stable in time
Streamlined, oblong body shape, buoyancy, presence of mucous membranes, development of air cavities, osmoregulation
Small plants and animals, jellyfish, algae, active swimmers — fish, dolphins, seals.
Abundance of light and oxygen, low air density, sharp fluctuations in temperature, high atmospheric mobility, moisture deficiency, heterogeneous. The most complex both in terms of properties and diversity in space
Development of the supporting skeleton, mechanisms of thermoregulation, economical use of water, high efficiency of redox processes, developed organs for the assimilation of atmospheric oxygen
Terrestrial plants, animals, protozoa, bacteria, fungi
Lack or complete absence of light, high density, lack or excess of moisture, lack of oxygen, relatively high content of carbon dioxide, loose substrate structure filled with a mixture of gases and water. Created by living organisms
Rolled body shape, small size, strong body integument, skin respiration, reduction of the organs of vision, some have a digging apparatus, developed muscles
Bacteria, fungi, worms, beetles, ants, protozoa, insect larvae, other arthropods, some large animals (mole, shrew)
Presence of easily digestible food, constancy of temperature, osmotic, salt conditions, no threat of desiccation, protection from enemies, lack of oxygen, limited living space
Simplification of all organ systems, reduction of some of them, appearance of attachment organs, high fecundity, complex developmental cycles with a change of one or more hosts
Parasites — lice, fleas, helminths, fungus, protozoa and bacteria, symbionts — bacteria
Habitats of organisms characteristics, factors GIA / S.
V. Alekseev, St. Petersburg. — 1997.
2. General ecology (in diagrams and tables) / Bekseitov T.K., Pavlodar — 2004.
3. Lecture notes «FOUNDATIONS OF ECOLOGY» / Andreev M.V. — 2002
Biology Life environment of planet Earth
Materials for the lesson
Living environments of the planet Earth
Before you is the planet Earth, covered with a huge shell of life, in which all living organisms live. She is one and indivisible. But let’s take a closer look at it. Do all living organisms have the same living conditions? No. Birds fly in the air, fish swim in the water, earthworm and mole in the ground. This is their home, their habitat. It is called living environment .
The life environments of planet Earth are very diverse and in this lesson we will conditionally divide them into several types. Why conditionally? Because, as we will see later, not all organisms have a single habitat.
The entire living shell of the Earth is divided into four habitats:
Consider each habitat and its representatives in more detail.
Aquatic habitat includes the entire supply of water on planet Earth — oceans, seas, rivers, lakes and any other water formations. fish, crayfish, algae, a lot of microscopic aquatic animals live in the water. The inhabitants of this environment are the most ancient animals, since once the entire globe was covered with water. Often, animals in the aquatic environment have features such as gills, fins, a special surface of the skin , in plants — a structure intended for life in a dense, low-oxygen environment: lack of pores, hard bark, a special conductive system.
The soil habitat of is all soil on Earth. moles, earthworms, beetle larvae and many microorganisms live here. The soil habitat is the richest in diversity of microorganisms. Animals have features designed to live only in this environment: low vision, streamlined body, digging aids . Many of them can only live in this environment.
Air and Ground Environment is considered to be the harshest environment of all. Man lives in this environment. Often its inhabitants ( birds, animals, plants) have adaptations for life in a rarefied air environment with features for changing weather conditions: woolen or feather cover, well-developed organs of vision, smell, hearing .
Organism habitat includes all living things that live inside another organism. They are divided into symbionts, parasites. The organism in which this type of living creatures lives is called host . Symbionts benefit the owner.