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A habitat describes the place where many animals or plants live. Many different kinds of animals or plants can share the same habitat. In that case, it is called a biotope. A habitat can also be called an ecosystem or a biome. An ecosystem is when there are many living and non-living things working together in one habitat. Habitat is also called a dwelling place.
Animal habitats [change]
Most animals live in one type of environment because they are best suited to it. We say they are 'adapted to this environment'. They live there. For example, animals such as frogs, newts, and ducks have webbed feet to help them swim in the water. There are many different types of habitats and because of that there are many different kinds of adaptions.
If the habitat changes, it may no longer be suitable for the animals and plants that live there. Because of the complex links between the plants and animals this can have many different effects. Climate change is making habitats warmer, and so many animal species are moving to cooler areas. However some species are not able to move and the populations are getting smaller. Scientists think that 10% of species may become extinct because of these changes. Other habitats have been cleared to make them into farm land. In Australia for example, 80% of the eucalypt forests have been cleared for farming over the last 210 years. This is threatening the survival of forest animals such as the koala.
Plant habitats [change]
Just as animals adapt to the places they live, so do plants. Plants are adapted to a wide variety of habitats. As a result, each plant has certain characteristics. Some are adapted to living on land while others live in water. Plants that grow on land usually have stiff stems to hold them upright, while water plants tend to have less rigid stems because the water supports them.
Plants that live in dry climates like the desert have few or no leaves, and may, like cacti, store water when rain occurs. Their adaptations cut down water loss. Plants that grow in shaded areas have large leaves to capture as much sunlight as possible, or climb towards the light.
- Harvey, Fiona (18 August 2011). "Climate change driving species out of habitats much faster than expected". The Guardian (London: GMG). ISSN 0261-3077. OCLC 60623878. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/aug/18/climate-change-species-habitats. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
- "Land Clearing & Koalas". Australian Koala Foundation. 2012. https://www.savethekoala.com/our-work/land-clearing-koalas. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
- Learn Science workbooks grades 5-6, by Mike Evans and Linda Ellis. p.33