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25 terms

Humans in the Biosphere

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monoculture
Farming strategy in which large fields are planted with a single crop, year after year.
renewable resource
Any natural resource that can be produced by a healthy ecosystem.
nonrenewable resource
Any resource that cannot be replenished by a natural process within a reasonable amount of time.
examples of renewable resources
solar, wind, water
examples of nonrenewable resources
oil, coal, natural gas
desertification
The process by which fertile land becomes desert,typically as a result of drought, deforestation, or agriculture.
deforestation
Loss of forests
pollutant
A material found in air, water, or soil that is harmful to humans or other organisms.
biological magnification
Toxins become more concentrated in successive trophic levels. Examples include mercury, and pesticides like DDT.
acid rain
Caused by pollutants in the air from the combustion of fossil fuels; the pH is less than 5.6; precipitation caused by pollution containing nitric and sulfuric acids
carbon footprint
The amount of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds emitted due to the consumption of fossil fuels by a particular person, group, etc.
biodiversity
The diversity of plant and animal life in a particular habitat (or in the world as a whole)
ecosystem diversity
Variety of habitats, communities, and ecological processes in the biosphere
species diversity
The number and relative abundance of species in a biological community.
genetic diversity
The range of genetic material present in a gene pool or population of a species.
habitat fragmentation
Splitting of ecosystems into small fragments
ecological hot spot
Geographic area where significant numbers of habitats and species are in immediate danger of extinction.
ecological footprint
A way of measuring how much of an impact a person or community has on the earth. Someone who uses more natural resources will have a bigger footprint than someone who uses less.
ozone layer
Layer in the stratosphere that contains a concentration of ozone (O3) sufficient to block most ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
greenhouse effect
Natural situation in which heat is retained in Earth's atmosphere by carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor, and other gases.
sustainable development
A way of using natural resources without depleting them, and of providing for human needs without causing long term environmental harm
aquaculture
The production and harvesting of fish and shellfish in land-based ponds.
smog
A mixture of smoke and fog, formed when smoke and fumes collect in moist, calm air.
point source pollution
Pollutants discharged from a single identifiable location (e.g., pipes, ditches, channels, sewers, tunnels, containers of various types).
nonpoint source pollution
Pollution that comes from many sources rather than from a single, specific site.