Activity 6.1: Niche Analysis

Niche analysis is a way to examine the characteristics, patterns, and behaviors of an individual plant or animal to better determine its role when planning systems (like gardens.)

Components of niche analysis:

  • Needs: What does the species need to survive and thrive?

  • Yields: What consumable or marketable yields does the species provide?

  • Human Benefits: What nutrition, aesthetic, health, or other benefits does the species provide?

  • Characteristics: What are required growing conditions? (Moisture, Sun, Soil) Limitations? What variations or cultivars exist? Where is the organism native to? What needs to be known to care for the species successfully?

  • Ecosystem Functions: What benefits does the species provide to the ecosystem, whether forest, field, backyard, garden, etc?

Assignment 

Choose a plant or animal (or other productive element/item) you are interested in incorporating into your system and research the above components of the plant or animal. Be as specific as possible. For example, don’t put “food” under needs, but rather specific diet or nutrient needs. Don’t just put “edible leaves” under the yields category, but describe how one might harvest/prepare the leaves for consumption.

Download and use the worksheets provided for this assignment.

Some horticulture and livestock resources:

Complete this assignment by uploading (use the submit button below) your Niche Analysis for your chosen plant or animal.