Ecological use

The term “habitat” can be used more easily 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 big animals, 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, such as clear-cut logging, 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.

Human habitat

Human habitat is the environment in which human beings live, work, play and move about. It is not just a dwelling place – a house – but the sum of all factors that constitute the total environment.