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The number and variety of life forms, including species, found within a specific region as well as all the number and variety of ecosystems within and beyond that region.
- To guard legally from harm, a species that is listed as endangered, threatened or of special concern.
- e.g. laws which stop the hunting of animals because over hunting was causing the species to become endangered.
- A place where there is a very large number of species in a relatively small area.
- e.g. Long Point Bay, and The Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve
- All the populations of the different species that interact in a specific area or ecosystem.
- e.g. The fish, corals and sponges in the community on coral reefs.
- Species that are so abundant that they have the biggest biomass of any community member. (refer to biomass chapter 1.)
- Removal of a dominant species can decrease biodiversity in an ecosystem.
- A species that can greatly affect population numbers and the health of an ecosystem.
- e.g. Sea otters are keystone predators in British Columbia's coastal keep forests. (Decline can cause many problems)
- The breeding of rare or endangered wildlife in controlled settings to increase the population size.
- e.g. The captive breeding of the black-footed ferret in order to bring them back from the brink of extinction.
- A species that causes such dramatic changes to landscapes that it creates a new ecosystem.
- e.g. Beavers that can convert a small stream in a forest into an aquatic ecosystem.
- The series of changes in an ecosystem that occurs over time, following a disturbance.
- All these changes are ideal for different species.
- e.g. The series of changes in a dam, the change from forest to a flooded forest, to a sunny pond and than to a beaver meadow.
The destruction of habitats, which usually results from human activities. (Can also result from natural disasters. This can cause many species to no longer be able to survive and biodiversity is threatened.
- The practice of clearing forests for logging or other human uses, and never replanting them.
- e.g. Deforestation in the boreal forests of Canada caused the number of bird species to decline dramatically.
- A species that is accidentally or deliberately introduced into a new location
- These species can be released on purpose or by accident through shipments, most are harmless or beneficial in the new environments.
- e.g. round gobies in the great lakes
- A species that can take over the habitat of native species.
- These are alien species that can take over the habitat of native species, which are species that naturally inhabit an area. Usually upset the equilibrium of an ecosystem as well.
- e.g. zebra mussels in the great lakes
- The use of extraction of a resource until it is depleted. Overexploitation can lead to dangerously low population numbers if not extinction.
- e.g. The overfishing of Atlantic Cod during the past few decades which has reduced the numbers of this species by 90%.
- The death of all the individuals of a species.
- Extinction occurs when the death rate of a species remains higher than the birth rate for a long period of time.
- e.g. The dodo bird species
- The current accelerated rate of extinctions.
- e.g. A study which assessed the status of over 40 000 species, where 39% of those species were found to be at risk of extinction.
- The renewal of degraded or destroyed ecosystems through active human intervention.
- There are 5 types of restoration ecology, Reforestation, Wetlands restoration, controlling alien species, bioremediation and bioaugmentation.
- The regrowth of a forest, either through natural processes or through the planting of seeds or trees in an area where a forest was cut down.
- e.g. red pine trees were planted in some areas in eastern Canada that were previously cleared out, as they matured the trees provided shade for the native trees to grow.
- The use of a species to control the population growth or spread of an undesirable species.
- e.g. use of bacteria spraying to control tent caterpillars and other forest pests.
- The use of living organisms to clean up contaminated areas naturally.
- e.g. Certain plants are grown at toxic sites because they clean soils by collecting the poisons in their tissues.
- The use of organisms to add essential nutrients to depleted soils.
- e.g. Clover planted to replenish nitrogen levels in soil, since nitrogen is an important nutrient for plants.