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Defining Terms


Biodiversity. Number and variety of living organisms; includes genetic diversity, species diversity, and ecological diversity.

Conservation Biology. A branch of biology that focuses on the protection and restoration of biodiversity by addressing three fundamental questions. How is the diversity of life distributed and maintained around the planet? What threats does this diversity face? What can people do to reduce or eliminate these threats so as to restore biological diversity and ecosystem health?

Ecosystem. All the interacting components of the physical and biological world.

Ecosystem Services. The fundamental life-support services (such as clean water, timber, habitat for fisheries, and plant pollination) provided by natural ecosystems, without which human civilization would cease to thrive.

Ecosystem Resilience. The ability of an ecosystem to return to its original state following an environmental perturbation or disturbance.

Ecosystem-Based Management. An integrated approach to management that considers the entire ecosystem, including humans. Its goal is to maintain a healthy, resilient ecosystem that can provide the services humans want and need.

Population Viability. The ability of a population to persist over the long term. Population viability analysis is increasingly used to understand the factors that affect vulnerable populations and species in the face of both predictable and unpredictable environmental variation in the future.