Terrestrial habitat refer to life on land. The nature of soil, rainfall and temperature the major factors affecting the nature of terrestrial habitats.


The terrestrial habitat is divided into four groups. These are:
1. Marsh
2. Rainforest
3. Savanna or grassland
4. Arid land


Marsh habitat is defined as a lowland habitat which is usually flooded or water-logged all the time. Naturally, grasses and shrubs grow in marsh but when tress grow there, it is called a


. Marsh is often regarded as a transition between the aquatic and terrestrial habitat.


abiotic factors that affect plants and animals are: inorganic compounds or elements, e.g.

O, N, salts, CO, HO, etc. water/rainfall, temperature, light/sunlight, wind, altitude, pressure, moisture/humidity, pH, wildfire/thunder and lightning.

Effects of abiotic factors affecting terrestrial habitat

1. Temperature: high temperature leads to high transpiration rate in plants/aestivation and hibernation in animals.
2. High rate of metabolism in organisms.
3. A high rate of decay of organic matter.
4. A higher rate of growth and shorter length of life cycle in some organisms, e.g. housefly and toad.
5. At very low temperature, plant roots absorb water at slower rates, leading to reduction in the rate of transpiration and metabolism of organisms.
6. At low temperature, animals, e.g. snails may hibernate, birds migrate


Marshes occur in areas of lowlands and where drainage is poor. These areas include: flood plains of rivers and river mouths with extensive deltas. Marshes may develop as a result of water over flowing its bank to accumulate on the adjoining coastal or lowland area. Formation of marsh may also be enhanced with extensive rainfall which also contributes to the accumulation of water on land surface.

The water in a lagoon may also flood the adjoining lowland, causing the formation of a marsh. Marsh can also be formed when ponds and lakes are filled up with soil from the surroundings and organic debris from plants causing water-logging. Marsh formation is a gradual process where an aquatic habitat is transformed into a wet land.


There are two major types of marshes. These are: fresh water marshes and salt water marshes.

fresh water marshes

: fresh water marshes occur on land, just beyond the limits of the salt water marshes tide. In this area, fresh water from rivers, overflows the river banks to flood the adjoining lowlands resulting in the formation of fresh water marshes.

Salt water marshes

: salt water marshes occur along the coastal areas and they are influenced by tides, because the water along the coast is salty, it mixes up with fresh water from rivers to form brackish water. The action of tide in the ocean causes the flooding of adjoining lowlands with brackish water resulting in in the formation of salt water marshes.


The followings are the characteristics associated with marshes:

nature of soil:

the soil in marshes are wet, soft, water-logged and poorly aerated.

lowland habitat:

the marsh is usually a lowland habitat which often enhances flooding and water-logging

high flooding:

the ground of marshes is often flooded most of the time.

presence of stagnant water:

stagnant water is often noticed in marshes especially during the dry season. In raining season, the whole land is highly flooded.

presence of organic matter:

as a result of fallen leaves, dead plants and animals, lots of organic matter are always present in marshes.

high rate of organic decomposition:

the decay of organic matter takes place in large scale in a marsh and this causes a decrease in oxygen content of the water. Lots of foul smelling gases such as hydrogen sulphide and methane are usually experienced in marshes.

high relative humidity:

the relative humidity of the atmosphere around the marshes is usually very high.

plants found in marshes

Examples of plants commonly found in marshes include: Algae, water lettuce (pistia), sword grasses, duckweed (lemna), water lilies (Nymphaea), hornwort, sedges, white mangrove and Raphia palm.

Animals found in marshes

Examples of animals found in marshes are: mangrove crab, lagoon crab, hermit crab, mud skippers, fishes, bloody clam, oysters, barnacles, frogs, toads, lizards, snakes, turtles, birds, crocodiles and mammals.

food chain in marshes

The plants and decaying organic matter form the basis of food chain in marshes. Some examples of food chain in marshes include:
i. Flowering plants==Insects==Frog==Crocodiles
ii. Detritus==Worms==Fishes
iii. Humus==Earthworms==Frogs==Snakes

factors affecting the marsh habitat

Factors which affects the marsh habitats include: rainfall, temperature, light, relative humidity and salinity.

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