Species whose influence on ecosystem function and diversity are disproportionate to their numerical abundance. Although all species interact, the interactions of some species are more profound and far-reaching than others, such that their elimination from an ecosystem often triggers cascades of direct and indirect changes on more than a single trophic level, leading eventually to losses of habitats and extirpation of other species in the food web.
Soule & Noss 1998 1 as referenced in United Nations (UN) 2013 2
References & Websites
- Soulé M, Noss R (1998) Rewilding and Biodiversity as Complementary Goals for Continental Conservation. Wild Earth 19–28
- UN (1992) Environment and Development (Terminology bulletin: 344). United Nations, New York, USA