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A niche is a genetically coded strategy, pattern, or suite of adaptations evolved by a species to allow it to meet its food and resource needs.[1] Niches are studied during a niche analysis.



A community niche is an organism's function in the community and its relationship to its food and needed resources. Multiple species in the community can simultaneously perform these functions, such as how a town may support many teachers, bakers, and butchers, and species may have multiple functions it preforms. Example community niche roles include lignin decomposer, nitrogen fixer, pollinator, and late-succession understory tree.[1]


A species niche is the culmination of characteristics, behaviors, and adaptations that enable a species to preform its community niche.[1]


An environment niche is the culmination of conditions that must be present to allow a species to perform its function to successfully meet its food and energy needs to be able to reproduce and to colonize. For example, a butcher would be able to meet their needs in a town of omnivores but would be unsuccessful in a community of only vegetarians.[1]

A site analysis during the design process of a forest garden identifies environment niches that are present to help select appropriate species to perform needed roles.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Jacke, Dave. Edible Forest Gardens Volume One. Chelsea Green Publishing, 2005. pp 121-122.