- Biodiversity: the variability among living organisms - animals, plants, their habitats and their genes - from all sources including terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems, and the ecological complexes of which they are part. This includes diversity within species, between species, and of ecosystems.
- Biome: Major ecological community, a division of the world’s vegetation that corresponds to a particular climate and is characterized by certain types of plants and animals, for example, tropical rain forest or desert.
- Drivers of biodiversity loss: Any natural or human-induced factor that directly or indirectly causes biodiversity loss.
- Ecosystem: a community of plants, animals and smaller organisms that live, feed, reproduce and interact in the same area or environment. Ecosystems have no fixed boundaries; a single lake, a watershed, or an entire region could be considered an ecosystem.
- Ecosystem services: the benefits people obtain from the environment. Ecosystem services are the transformation of natural assets (soil, plants and animals, air and water) into things that we value. They can be viewed as provisioning such as food and water; regulating, for example, flood and disease control; cultural such as spiritual, recreational, and cultural benefits; or supporting like nutrient cycling that maintain the conditions for life on Earth. Ecosystem ‘goods’ include food, medicinal plants, construction materials, tourism and recreation, and wild genes for domestic plants and animals.
- Endemic: Restricted to a particular area. Used to describe a species or organism that is confined to a particular geographical region, for example, an island or river basin.
- Habitat: The place or type of site where an organism or population naturally occurs.
- Habitat change: Change in the local environmental conditions in which a particular organism lives. Habitat change can occur naturally through droughts, disease, fire, hurricanes, mudslides, volcanoes, earthquakes, slight increases or decreases in seasonal temperature or precipitation, etc. However, it is generally induced by human activities such as land use change and physical modification of rivers or water withdrawal from rivers.
- Invasive Alien Species: a species introduced outside its normal distribution. Its establishment and spread modify ecosystems, habitats, or species.
- Land cover: The physical coverage of land, usually expressed in terms of vegetation cover or lack of it. The human use of a piece of land for a certain purpose (such as irrigated agriculture or recreation) influences land cover.
- Taxon: Category of organisms, any of the groups to which organisms are assigned according to the principles of taxonomy, including subspecies, species, genus, family, order, class, and phylum.
Here are some important terms which will help you understand biodiversity conservation.