Habitat stems from the Latin word habere, meaning to have. Species have the land as habitat, and the land has species as its inhabitants.
A habitat is a good place to live, for people as well as lemmings and owls. Each is drawn to the place where its needs will be met. Where the land will provide. Where many forms of life interact in forming the integrated landscape we know as Maine and, more particularly, Mount Desert Island.
Many schemes have been proposed for classifying natural communities of plant and animal species. In general, these schemes group species into communities, communities into ecosystems. Communities are characterized by certain types of vegetation, which in turn provide habitat for a limited range of other plants and wildlife.
As part of the National Park Service's Inventory and Monitoring Program, the park botanist and private consultants have identified approximately 65 types of natural plant communities at Acadia National Park. A multi-agency effort that includes Acadia, the Nature Conservancy, the Maine Department of Conservation, and the US Geological Survey, involves mapping the park's vegetation using quantitative sampling and infrared maps.
The major plant communities within Acadia National Park are:
FOREST Maritime spruce-fir White pine Northern hardwood (birch-beech-maple) Early successional forest (aspen-birch) Mixed forest (coniferous-hardwood)
WOODLAND Pitch pine woodland Red oak woodland Aspen-birch woodland Maritime spruce-fir woodland White pine woodland Northern hardwood woodland (birch-beech-maple) Mixed woodland (coniferous-hardwood) Black spruce woodland
SHRUB Alder thicket Dwarf shrub bogs Scrub shrub
GRASSLIKE Beach dune Salt marsh Wetland meadow
WETLANDS Bog Fen Marsh