A glossary of definitions for terms relating to biodiversity, ecosystems services and conservation.
All definitions are referenced, where possible preference has been given to internationally recognised definitions (for example those defined by international conventions or agreements). The terms have been chosen to support understanding of biodiversity and conservation issues, and terms relating to biodiversity loss are complemented by those relating to conservation responses supported by international conservation organisations, governments, scientists and business sectors.
More detailed explanations are provided for a number of key terms, to provide further background information.
The terms can be filtered by category to aid in the navigation of the many definitions.
The largest unit of ecological classification that is convenient to recognize below the entire globe. Terrestrial biomes are typically based on dominant vegetation structure (e.g., forest, grassland). Ecosystems within a biome function in a broadly similar way, although they may have very different species composition. For example, all forests share certain properties regarding nutrient cycling, disturbance, and biomass that are different from the properties of grasslands. Marine biomes are typically based on biogeochemical properties.