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LET'S EXPLORE The living world

What are ecosystems?

A dung beetleA dung beetleAnimals, plants and other living things have to survive in the wild. They must find food, water and shelter. They must cope with changing conditions, such as weather, climate and seasons. They also depend on one another. For example, meat-eating animals hunt other animals, or some insects feed on the droppings of large mammals. Scientists think of the natural world as being made up of ecosystems. These are areas in which living things survive together in conditions to which they are suited.

A seashore habitat, a rock poolA seashore habitat, a rock pool


In any ecosystem, living things that rely on each other for survival form a community. Their natural homes may be small like a garden pond or a rotting log. Or they may be much larger—a lake or forest, for example. These homes are known as habitats. Habitats contain similar kinds of plants and soils. Oak woodland, salt marshes, coral reefs and sand dunes are all examples of habitats. 



The world's largest land biome is the taiga. This is the coniferous (or boreal) forest that covers most of Canada, Alaska and Scandinavia, together with a large part of Russia.

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