Acclimation: The process by which numerous physical and physiological processes prepare the plant to survive in the adverse conditions.
Acid mine drainage: The outflow of acidic water from metal or coal mines. Acid precipitation: Precipitation that is acidic as a result of both sulphur and nitrogen oxides forming acids when they react with water in the atmosphere; partially due to the combustion of coal; includes acid rain,acid snow and acid fog.
Adaptive radiation: The phenomenon by which a population of a species changes as it is dispersed in a different habitat within a region.
Aerosol: Tiny particles of natural and human-produced air pollution; these particles remain suspended in the atmosphere for days or even months.
Aersol effect: Atmospheric cooling that occurs where and when aerosol pollution is the greatest.
Agroforestry: The use of agricultural and forestry techniques to improve degraded soil and offer economic benefits.
Albedo: The proportional reflectance of sunlight from earth’s surface; glaciers and ice sheets have high albedos, whereas the ocean and forests have low albedos.
Algal bloom: The rapid and excessive growth of algae; generally caused by high nutrient levels combined with other favourable conditions. It can deoxygenate the water leading to the loss of wildlife.
Alien species: A species occurring in an area outside of its historically known natural range as a result of intentional or accidental dispersal by human activities; also known as introduced species.
Altruism: Behavior that harms the individual who perform it but benefits other individuals; parenting behaviors are altruistic behavior.
Big-bang: An explosion from a single point of super-condensed matter about 15 billion years ago that was the start of our universe.
Bio-accumulation: The accumulation of a substance, such as a toxic chemical, in the tissues of a living
Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD): The amount of oxygen needed by microorganisms to decompose the organic material in a given volume of water; also called biological oxygen demand.
Biocoenosis: All the interacting organisms living together in a specific habitat; also called biocoenose or biocenose.
Biodiversity hotspots: The small area of land that contain an exceptional number of endemic species and are at high risk from human activities.
Biogas: Clean fuels whose combustion produces fewer pollutants than coal or biomass; it is produced from the anaerobic digestion of organic material.
Biological magnification: It is also called bioaccumulation; is the process whereby certain substances such as pesticides or heavy metals move up the food chain.
Biome: A complex of terrestrial community of very wide extent, characterised by its climate and soil; the largest ecological unit.
Biota: The total flora and fauna of a region.
Blue revolution: It refers to the management of water resources that can steer humanity to achieve drinking water and crop irrigation security. It is water equivalent of the green revolution.
Buffer zone: The region near the border of a protected area; a transition zone between areas managed for different objectives.
Carbon credit: A way of reducing the impact of greenhouse gas emissions; it allows an agent to benefit financially from an emission reduction. It represents one tonne of carbon dioxide either removed from the atmosphere or saved from being emitted. It is also known as emission permit.
Carbon footprint: A measure of the carbon emissions that are emitted over the full life cycle of a population, system, product or service and usually expressed as grams of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e).
Carrying capacity: The number of individuals within a population that can be supported within a particular environment for an indefinite time
Chaparral: Chaparral vegetation is characterised by small-leaved evergreen shrubs and small trees. The climate of the region is mild, moist winters and hot dry summers.
Chlorofluorocarbon: Compounds of chlorine, fluorine and carbon that have been contributing to ozone depletion.
Climate Feedback: A process that acts to amplify or reduce direct warming or cooling effects.
Climax community: A community in which the mix of plants and animals become stable; the last stage of
Cline: A gradual change in the traits of a species over a geographical gradient.
Community: A group of mutually adjusted populations of plants and animals inhabiting a natural area.
Comparative risk assessment: A methodology which uses science, policy, economic analysis and stakeholder participation to identify and address areas of greatest environmental risk; a method for assessing environmental management priorities.
Composting: The biological decomposition of organic materials in the presence of oxygen that yields carbon dioxide, heat, and stabilised organic residues that may be used as a soil additive.
Conservation biology: A discipline of ecology which deals with identifyingall species and to design long-term management programs based on ecological and evolutionary principles.
Decomposers: Organisms which digest or break down living material which has died.
Deme: Any local population of individuals belonging to the same species that can inter-breed with one another.
Demography: The statistical analysis of human population.
Detritivore: An organism that obtains its energy from dead bodies and/or waste product of other animals.
Detritus: The waste material of an ecosystem.
Ecological footprint: The amount of land and ocean needed to supply an individual with food, energy, water, housing, transportation and waste disposal.
Ecological niche: The functioning of a species in relation to other species and its physical environment.
Ecological succession: The sequential replacement of one assemblage of populations by another in a habitat following some disturbance.
Ecotone: The transitional zone where two ecosystems or biomes inter-grade.
Ecotourism: A type of tourism in which tourist pay to observe wildlife in natural settings.
Ecotype: A locally adapted variant of an organism, differing genetically from other ecotype.
Endangered species: The species that face a very high risk of extinction in near future.
Endemic species: The native or local species that are not found anywhere else in the world.