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 term “wilderness” is used to describe landscapes and seascapes that are biologically and ecologically largely intact, with a low human population density and that are mostly free of industrial infrastructure. The term wilderness is therefore not exclusive of people but, rather, of human uses resulting in significant biophysical disturbance. As a result, wilderness quality is often defined in terms of remoteness from urban settlements and modern infrastructure and the degree of ecological impacts from industrial activity. However, the term is not meant to suggest an area must be completely “pristine” or “untouched” as there are few places remaining on Earth that meet this standard. Further, it must be recognized that the terms “intactness” and “integrity” are measured on a continuum and are not binary.