A habitat is the natural environment in which plants and animals live. This is where they get their food, water and shelter. They also breed in their natural habitat. The climate of a habitat, the food available in the habitat, competition from other species- these are some of the factors that determine whether a species will survive or not.
Added to this is the human factor- buildings, roads, traffic noise, pollution from waste and industries, cutting down of trees. Many species have a mechanism of survival. Their body might make some modifications, or they may start having a different kind of food is their natural food is not available, or they may move to other places in search of food. We call these changes adaptation.

Why study a habitat?
  • Studying a habitat gives us information about the different life forms that live in it
  • It helps us identify what are the factors that can lead to changes in the habitat and differentiate between man-made and natural factors
  • It helps understand the impact of human actions on other life forms
  • It helps us understand how different animals and plants adapt to changes in their habitat
Make a model of the habitat in your neighbourhood
Take an area in your neighbourhood and identify the habitat of that area- what kind of trees, shrubs and water bodies are there. Make a model of the habitat. Identify which elements of the habitat is natural and which is introduced by man, for example, new trees not originally found in that area, or an artificial lake, or animals introduced into the area.

Note the following
What are the most common animals in your neighbourhood? Do you see them everyday? Distinguish between basic and nonessential needs of the animals. Where do they live? How have they adapted to the environment? Do they come in contact with humans? What is their natural food and habitat?

Where do they find their food in your neighbourhood? Do you think they are exposed to harmful gases or chemicals by coming in contact with humans? How does the climate affect their lives? Is their population multiplying, growing at a low rate or diminishing? What kind of changes do you notice in their behaviour or eating habits?