What is a habitat?
The place where an organism lives is known as its habitat. Biologists have identified many different types, such as pine forest, chalk grassland and moorland. Habitat types are usually distinguished by differences in the environment, such as the soil. They are often classified by the plants (on land), or invertebrates (in the sea) that are found there.
Are there any natural habitats left in the British Isles?
Before the arrival of humans the British Isles looked very different and evidence suggests that much of the land was covered by dense woodland. As agriculture increased this wildwood was replaced with semi-natural habitats such as managed forests, open meadows and hedgerows. Humans may have helped to create or maintain these habitats, but they are now home to many species, from the sand lizard to the cornflower, and they are an important part of the British landscape.
The British Isles also has many more ‘natural’ habitats such as mudflats, sand dunes and cliffs. Even these habitats have not escaped from the influences of people and have been affected by pollution and development.