This week we are learning about habitats, ecosystems and biomes. Do you know what a habitat is? A habitat is the area where a plant or animal naturally lives and grows. Habitats support life by providing the food, water and shelter that its inhabitants need to survive – just like your home. Many different habitats can be found on Earth. Each habitat is home to a variety of plants and animals that are unique to that environment. Habitat is vital to survival. The three basic parts of a habitat are: food, water, and shelter.
How does your habitat provide these basic needs?
You could think of habitat as the special place in a community in which a plant or animal lives. An ecosystem is a community of living and non-living things that work together. An ecosystem is basically the neighborhood where animal lives. The habitat is the animal’s address in that neighborhood. Some animals can survive in more than one habitat. Other animals are limited to certain habitats. For example, moose habitat is more specific than gray squirrel habit. I bet that some of you see moose where you live, but many of you see gray squirrels in your neighborhood.
Think about your habitat. Where does your food come from? How can you trace your food back to the source?
A biome is even bigger than an ecosystem. A biome is a large geographical area that contains distinct plant and animal groups which are adapted to live in that environment. There can be many different habitats in a biome. Some major biomes are tundra, taiga, grasslands, deciduous forest, fresh water, desert, alpine, rainforest and ocean.
What biome would you most like to visit? Why did you choose this biome?
Dave and I have traveled by canoe, kayak and dogsled all across North America, witnessing many different biomes. Where we are now, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, is on the southern edge of the taiga, or boreal forest, biome. We have talked about the boreal forest quite a bit before, but the word taiga may be new. You see, this biome is kind of like a donut circling the earth at the same northern latitude. Typically in Russia, people call this biome the taiga and in Canada, they call it the boreal forest.
In the future we will write more about habitats, ecosystems and biomes. I hope this Notes from the Trail has helped you understand what these three things are.
Further Exploration and Sources
Student Response Worksheets