Copy of `UNEP-WCMC - Glossary of Biodiversity Terms`

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UNEP-WCMC - Glossary of Biodiversity Terms
Category: Earth and Environment > Biodiversity terms
Date & country: 17/01/2008, UK
Words: 143


Nitrogen fixation
A process whereby nitrogen fixing bacteria living in mutualistic associations with plants convert atmospheric nitrogen to nitrogen compounds that plants can utilise directly.

Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO)
A nonprofit group or association organised outside of institutionalised political structures to realise particular social objectives (such as environmental protection) or serve particular constituencies (such as indigenous peoples). NGO activities range from research, information distribution, training, local organisation, and community service to legal advocacy, lobbying for legislative change, and civil disobedience. NGOs range in size from small groups within a particular community to huge membership groups with a national or international scope.

Off-site
Propagation and preservation of plant, animal, and micro-organism species outside their natural habitat.

On-site
Preservation of species in their natural environment.

Open-pollinated
Plants that are pollinated by physical or biological agents (e g, wind, insects) and without human intervention or control)

Orthodox seeds
Seeds that are able to withstand the reductions in moisture and temperature necessary for long-term storage and remain viable.

Parataxonomists
Field trained biodiversity collection and inventory specialists recruited from local areas.

Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA)
Also known as Rapid Rural Appraisal, PRA is a relatively new and different approach for conducting action-oriented research in developing countries. PRAs are used to help involve villagers and local officials leaders in all stages of development work, from the identification of needs and decision making to the assessment of completed projects. The term can be used to describe any new methodology which makes use of a multidisciplinary team.

Patent
A government grant of temporary monopoly rights on innovative processes or products.

Pathogen
A disease causing microorganism, bacterium or virus.

Phenotype
The observable appearance of an organism, as determined by environmental and genetic influences (in contrast to genotype).

Phylogenetic
Pertaining to the evolutionary history of a particular group of organisms.

Phylum
In taxonomy, a high-level category just beneath the kingdom and above the class; a group of related, similar classes.

Phytochemical
Chemicals found naturally in plants.

Population
A group of individuals with common ancestry that are much more likely to breed with one another than with individuals from another such group.

Population Viability Analysis (PVA)
The theoretical determination of the minimum viable (in terms of genetic make-up) breeding population for any one species to survive in a given range.

Predator
An animal that obtains its food primarily by killing and consuming other animals.

Primary (or natural) forest
A forest largely undisturbed by human activities.

Primary productivity
The transformation of chemical or solar energy to biomass. Most primary production occurs through photosynthesis, whereby green plants convert solar energy, carbon dioxide, and water to glucose and eventually to plant tissue. In addition, some bacteria in the deep sea can convert chemical energy to biomass through chemosynthesis.

Protected Area (PA)
An area of land and/or sea especially dedicated to the protection and maintenance of biological diversity, and of natural and associated cultural resources, and managed through legal or other effective means.

Provinciality effect
Increased diversity of species because of geographical isolation.

Recalcitrant seeds
Seeds that cannot survive the reductions in moisture content or lowering of temperature necessary for long-term storage.

Rehabilitation
The recovery of specific ecosystem services in a degraded ecosystem or habitat.

Restoration
The return of an ecosystem or habitat to its original community structure, natural complement of species, and natural functions.

Riparian
Related to, living, or located on the bank of a natural watercourse, usually a river, sometimes a lake or tidewater.

Seedbank
A facility designed for the ex situ conservation of individual plant varieties through seed preservation and storage.

Selection
Natural selection is the differential contribution of offspring to the next generation by various genetic types belonging to the same populations. Artificial selection is the intentional manipulation by man of the fitness of individuals in a population to produce a desired evolutionary response.

Species
A group of organisms capable of interbreeding freely with each other but not with members of other species.

Species diversity
The number and variety of species found in a given area in a region.

Species richness
The number of species within a specified region or locality.

Subspecies
A distinct form or race of a species.

Succession
The more or less predictable changes in the composition of communities following a natural or human disturbance.

Sustainable development
Development that meets the needs and aspirations of the current generation without compromising the ability to meet those of future generations.

Sustainable use
The use of components of biological diversity in a way and at a rate that does not lead to the long-term decline of biological diversity, thereby maintaining its potential to meet the needs and aspirations of present and future generations.

Systematics
The study of the historical evolutionary and genetic relationships among organisms and of their phenotypic similarities and differences.

Taxon (pl. taxa)
The named classification unit (eg Homo sapiens, Hominidae, or Mammalia) to which individuals, or sets of species, are assigned. Higher taxa are those above the species level.

Taxonomy
The classification of animals and plants based upon natural relationships.

Threatened species
A U.S. technical classification referring to a species that is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future, throughout all or a significant portion of its range. These species are defined as vulnerable taxa outside the United States by the IUCN.

Trophic level
Position in the food chain, determined by the number of energy-transfer steps to that level.

Variety
See 'Cultivar'.

Wild relative
Plant species that are taxonomically related to crop species and serve as potential sources for genes in breeding of new varieties of those crops.

Wild species
Organisms captive or living in the wild that have not been subject to breeding to alter them from their native state.

Wildlife
Living, nondomesticated animals.