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 elimination or severe diminution of the integrity of a natural habitat caused by a major, long-term change in land or water use. Significant conversion may include, for example, land clearing; replacement of natural vegetation (e.g., by crops or tree plantations); permanent flooding (e.g., by a reservoir); drainage, dredging, filling, or channelization of wetlands; or surface mining. In both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, conversion of natural habitats can occur as the result of severe pollution.