Terrestrial Habitat: Marsh, Forest, Grassland And Arid Land


Terrestrial habitat refers to land that is a living space for organisms.

Types of Terrestrial Habitat

There are four major types of terrestrial habitats.

  • Marsh
  • Forest
  • Grassland, Savannah
  • Deserted land


Terrestrial Habitat


A marsh is a constantly flooded lowland where grasses, shrubs, and other vegetation grow. It’s a transitional habitat that exists between terrestrial and aquatic habitats.


Characteristics of a marsh

  • It’s a lowland habitat.
  • The ground is now flooded.
  • It is composed of wet, soft, and water-logged soil.
  • High relative humidity.
  • It is rich in organic matter that has gone to waste.
  • It has a foul odor due to the decaying organic matter.

Marsh Types

There are several types of Marsh.

  • Hinterland is home to freshwater Marsh.
  • Saltwater marsh is found all along the coast, e.g., Lagos lagoon.

Saltwater marshes can be found in Nigeria along the Atlantic coast. The tides influence their location.

The freshwater marshes are found inland, just beyond saltwater marshes’ limits and areas influenced by tides.

Formation Marshes

Marshes are common in lowland areas with poor drainage. Water overflowing from its banks can cause marshes to form in the adjacent coastal or lowland areas. Marshes can form when lakes and ponds overflow with soil and organic matter from plants, causing waterlogging. The accumulation of water on the land surface can also increase the likelihood of Marsh formation.

Distribution of organisms within Marsh

  • Freshwater marsh plants include water lettuce, Lemna, and alga that float on top of water hyacinth.

You will also find animals such as fish, toads, and frogs.

  • Saltwater marsh animals include the mangrove crab and lagoon crab, hermit crabs, mudskipper fishes, bloody clam oysters, and barnacles.

Adaptation to organisms marsh

They can adapt to low oxygen levels, salty environments, and waterlogging.


Terrestrial Habitat


Forests are habitats where tree species dominate plant communities.

Types and uses of forests.

There are two types of forests:

  • Mangrove swamp forest.
  • The tropical rainforest.

Mangrove swamp forest

Nigeria has mangrove swamp forests in the states of Cross River, Delta, Cross River, and Akwa-Ibom.

Characteristics of Mangrove Swamp Forest

  1. It is home to tall Woody trees.
  2. Plants have aerial roots.
  3. It is a tree that grows evergreen with large leaves.
  4. It experiences high levels of rainfall throughout the year, which can lead to waterlogging.

Distribution of organisms within a mangrove swamp

  • These are some of the most common plants that you will find:

white mangrove — Avicena nitida

Red mangrove — Rhizophora Racemosa, raffia Palm, and Coconut

  • Here are some of the animals you might find:

Snakes, birds, Kingfishers, starfishes, mosquitoes, Tilapia, and Mollusca.

Tropical rainforest

Rainfall is evenly distributed in tropical rainforests with lush vegetation. This type of forest can be found in Oyo and Lagos, Osun Edo, Delta Akwa-Ibom Cross River, Abia Imo, Anambra Ogun, and Ondo Rivers State.

Characteristics of tropical rainforest

  1. Rainforests are open all year.
  2. It can reach temperatures of 25-37 degrees Celsius.
  3. Low light intensity
  4. Damp floor
  5. It is blessed with plenty of sunshine.
  6. High relative humidity (abiotic factors).

Other biotic characteristics include:

  1. Forest trees have long, green leaves and unbranched trunks that support themselves.
  2. Different tree types have different canopies or layers.
    1. Forest floor or ground layer
    2. Shrub layer.
    3. Lower layer.
    4. Middle layer.
    5. Upper layer.
  3. Forests are rich in climbers and epiphytes.

Profile of a Tropical Rainforest

Distributions of Organisms in Forest Zones.

Forest plants are distributed according to their ability to withstand sunlight and light requirements. Shade-tolerant plants such as ferns or saprophytic mushrooms can be found on the forest floor. Some ferns can be found on tree branches and trunks. The epiphytes that require the most light are mistletoe, which can be found high up in trees. Light-loving plants include iroko and mahogany, silk cotton, coconut oil palm, oil palm, mango, and orchids.

The tree is home to many forest animals. These include squirrels, monkeys, and snakes. Forest animals like earthworms and beetles love the soil. Other animals, like millipedes and ants, live in the soil’s leaf litter.

Adaptation to forest organisms


  1. Some plants have a well-developed root system that supports and absorbs water from the soil. Iroko, mahogany.
  2. For support, climbers have hooks at their roots.
  3. They have supporting and strengthening tissues (the “xylem”)
  4. To reach the light source, trees have unbranched and tall trunks.
  5. Some trees have thin bark that facilitates gaseous exchange.
  6. Others have clasping roots to support them.
  7. Some trees have buttress roots to support them, e.g., iroko and mahogany.
  8. Others use hydathodes to facilitate guttation.


The majority of animals living in forests show adaptation to arboreal habitats.

  1. Ability to fly, e.g., Birds, bats, and flying squirrels.
  2. Ability to climb, eg.
  3. Grabbers for holding the tree, e.g., Tree frogs
  4. Sticky disc on fingers, e.g., geckos.
  5. Prehensile tails, e.g., chameleon.
  6. Grasping scales, e.g., snakes.
  7. Ability to jump from one branch to another, e.g., monkeys.


Terrestrial Habitat


A grassland is a plant area with dominant grass species, but trees or shrubs could also be present.

Characteristics for Grassland

  1. Moderate to low precipitation
  2. It is a dry and hot environment.
  3. In the dry season, bushfires are quite common.
  4. Sandy soil is the most common.
  5. Water conservation is essential for plants and animals due to the moderate rainfall and high temperatures.

Types Of Grassland

Whether grasslands are found in temperate or tropical zones can be classified as either tropical or tropical. Countries have different names for tropical and temperate grasslands, such as the Savannah of West Africa, Argentina, and the pampas in Asia Рboth tropical grasslands, or the steppes in Asia, and the prairies in North America, which are both temperate grasslands.

There are many types of Savannah in Nigeria:

  1. Guinea savannah is made of
    1. Southern guinea Savannah
    2. Northern guinea Savannah
  2. Sahel Savannah
  3. Savannah is derived.
  4. Sudan savannah

Distributions of animals and plants in the Savannah

The dominant species in Savannah vegetation are grasses. The land is less populated with trees and shrubs than forests, which are more scattered. Grasses can be found in the gaps between trees.

Savannah is home to a large number of animals. Many animals in the soil, such as termites, whose termite mounds line the landscape. There are many herbivores on the land: deer, rats, squirrels, and gazelles, as well as gazelles, gazelles, grass cutters, antelopes, and porcupines. Carnivores include cheetahs, leopards, and snails.

Adaptation to plants and animals in the Savannah.


  1. Because they are adapted to wind pollination, most plants will set and disperse fruits in the dry season.
  2. The plants possessing a waxy surface or hairy leaves reduce transpiration and allow them to withstand drying winds.
  3. To conserve water, the trees shed their leaves in dry seasons.
  4. The trees are protected from fire damage by thick bark.
  5. Many plants have underground stems that can be adapted to seasonal drought.
  6. Many plants have deep, penetrating roots that search for water.

Mahogany beans, shea butter, and tamarind are just a few examples of plants found in the Grassland.


  1. Nutrient adaptation is necessary as most animals eat grass or parts of grass.
  2. Large herbivores such as zebra, which are fast-moving and have good eyesight, were able to eat vegetation spread across a large area.
  3. Large herbivores that are fast and agile can detect predators quickly and run quickly in open habitats without hiding.

Animals found in grasslands include antelopes, giraffes, and elephants.

Food chain at Grassland

Grass –> Zebra –> Lion


Terrestrial Habitat


Arid lands are areas where water is difficult to get, either because it is rare or frozen.

Types arid lands

There are two types of arid land:

  1. Hot deserts and semideserts are some examples of hot arid lands.
  2. The cold arid lands are also known as tundra or cold deserts.

Both types of arid land have distinct characteristics.

Characteristics of arid tropical land

  1. Water is scarce due to irregular rainfall and very low rainfall.
  2. The temperatures are extremely high during the day and extremely low at night.
  3. The soil is either sandy or rocky.
  4. Because there is not much vegetation to cover it, the sun shines intensely.
  5. The vegetation is extremely poor.
  6. Winds can be quite strong.

Contrary to this, the tundra is extremely cold, and the ground surface of the tundra is covered with ice all year except for the brief summer.

Distributions of Organisms in Hot Arid Lands

Only a few species of plants can survive in dry lands. This includes some species, such as cactus plants and thorny shrubs. You will find date palms around oases, which are areas where there is water.

Arid lands are not good places for animals. To avoid harsh weather, they often live in caves.

Adaptation to Organisms in Arid Lands

The following are some examples of adaptations for water conservation by animals and plants in dry lands:


  1. Some plants have underground stems that remain alive even after the aerial parts are gone.
  2. Cacti and other plants don’t have leaves to prevent transpiration. The leaves can be modified or thorned, or completely absent. The stems are green and perform photosynthesis.
  3. Some plants, like cacti, can store water in the fleshy stems of their roots.
  4. Some plants can absorb water from the ground with very long roots.
  5. Some plants have sunken hairs or stomata on their leaves to reduce transpiration. Eucalyptus.
  6. Some plants can finish their entire life cycle within a very short period of rain. Then they die and become seeds.


  1. A single drink of water can get the camel far and last several days.
  2. Many desert animals excrete solid waste materials and avoid losing water through urine.
  3. Desert rats are water-poor and rely heavily on the water in their food.
  4. Desert animals can reduce water loss by living in caves and coming out to eat at night when it is cool.
  5. The sweat glands of desert animals are less active than others, which is good for water retention.
  6. In dry lands, reptiles have scales that limit their water loss.
  7. Adaptation to regulate body temperature, e.g., Many animals live in caves to avoid high temperatures during the day.


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