We start with a general introduction to what, at a detail level, is quite a complex subject. Unless y0u are going in to conservation work full time or are particularly interested in the subject it is not really necessary to delve too deeply but an understanding of some basic principles is certainly helpful if nature watching is to be an interesting pass time for you. In this introduction we look at:Why is understanding habitat important? Some thoughts as to why you should have a basic understanding of habitat classification and managementWhat is a 'habitat'? It is then a good idea to start with a basic definition and understanding of what a habitat isHow is habitat classified? A look at a basic system for the structured classification of habitat typesWhat are the primary habitat classifications? A summary of the main features of the habitat types found in DorsetHaving read my thoughts on these issues you may decide you have enough knowledge to enhance your enjoyment of nature but if you want to know more about how different habitat types came about and how we manage them to maintain their value move on to part 2: How habitats are formed and managed.