I am looking for a word that refers to the environmental needs of a species for survival (think of climatic conditions, but not necessarily restricted to climate).

My native language is not English, so maybe I am missing some obvious terms.

  • I don't think you will find a single word for this. 'Needs' is a word which can be modified by many different adjectives eg dietary needs, financial needs, emotional needs etc. Species live in habitats or ecosystems, but again, you would probably have to use 'needs' or 'requirements' to fit this into a sentence.
    – Mynamite
    Jan 21, 2015 at 10:59
  • Suggested migration to related Q&A site biology.stackexchange.com
    – Kris
    Jan 21, 2015 at 12:13
  • I think "habitat" is the usual term applied when discussing an individual species.
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 23, 2015 at 13:09

3 Answers 3


Habitat is the word you are missing from your vocabulary.


The term biosphere is defined by Oxford Dictionaries Online as

The regions of the surface, atmosphere, and hydrosphere of the earth (or analogous parts of other planets) occupied by living organisms.

While this does not enumerate the various factors or conditions necessary for any particular organism, their existence is presumed if the particular organisms survive.

The term is also used to mean

living organisms together with their environment Merriam-Webster



This is a region that has similar climate, animals and plants. There are "terrestrial" (land-based) as well as "aquatic" biomes. Google "biome" to find maps of currently-defined biomes.

However, this is not the zone for just one species, but for all the flora and fauna that coexist in that region.

For one species this zone would be called the "habitat" (mentioned already), or "range" (which can apply to any species, but more especially to migratory animals, I think.)

Biosphere is too general; it refers to the entire area that is conducive to life in general, without regard to species.

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