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24 Cards in this Set

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Natural selection

The process that makes change possible in living things.

Members of species having certain characteristics that give them advantage over over other members of that species.

Adaptive radiation

Term used to describe the change from a common ancestor into a number of different species that radiate out to inhabit different niches.

Ecological succession

Term used to refer to changes that take place over time in the types of organisms that live in an area.

Primary succession

Occurs in an area where no soil exists, such as on bare rock. (Ex. Moss growing on a rock in the middle of a volcanic landscape)

Pioneer species

Term scientists use to describe the lichens and other plants that are the first organisms to survive and reproduce in an area.

Climax community

The process of primary succession that leads to the development of a mature community. ( ex. Boreal forest,deserts)

Secondary succession

The reintroduction of life after a disturbance to an area that already has soil and was once the home of living organisms


The ability of an ecosystem to sustain ecological processes and maintain biodiversity over time; using natural resources in a way that maintains ecosystem health now and for future generations

Land use

The way we use the land around us for urban development, agriculture, industry, mining, and forestry.

Resource use

The ways we obtain and use minerals such soil,wood, water,gas,etc.

Habitat loss

The destruction of habitats (usually results from human activity)

Habitat fragmentation

The division of habitats into smaller, isolated fragments. This affects plant pollination, seed dispersal, wildlife movement, and plant and animal reproduction.


Practice I'm which forests are logged or cleared for human use and not replanted

Soil degradation

Can occur when water and wind erosion removes topsoil from bare land

Soil compaction

Occurs when soil particles are squeezed together and the air spaces between the particles are reduced


In which small plugs of soil are mechanically removed, is a method that reduces runoff by improving the movement of air and water through soil.

Resource exploitation

Resource use. Can cause habitat loss and soil degradation


Introduction of chemicals,toxins, wastes, or micro organisms into the environment in concentrations that are harmful to living things. (Ex.cyanide)


The use or extraction of a resource until it is depleted. Can result in extinction.


The dying out of a species.

Traditional ecological knowledge

Ecological information, passed down from generation to generation, that reflects human experience with nature gained over centuries.

Native species

Plants and animals that naturally inhabit an area.

Introduced species or foreign species

Organisms brought in by people intentionally or by accident

Invasive species

Organisms that can take over the habitat of native species or invade their bodies.