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AP environmental science

age-structure pyramids

graphical representations of populations' ages (p90)


fraction of solar energy reflected back into space

biotic potential

amount the population would grow if unlimited resources in environment

birth rate

live births per 1,000 members of the population each year

carrying capacity

max population size that can be supported by available resources region

demographic transition model

model used to predict population trends based on births, deaths, and economy

ecological footprint

amount of Earth's surface that's necessary to supply and dispose waste from a population. I=PxAxT (pop.)(affluence)(technology)


movement of individuals out of a population

genetic drift

random fluctuations in frequency of seeing a gene in a small, isolated population. Due to chance, not natural selection


movement of individuals to a population


organisms that reproduce later in life, fewer offspring, and heavily nurture offspring

logistic population growth

populations are well below size dictated by carrying capacity, and then they grow exponentially

population density

number of individuals of a population that inhabit a certain unit of land or water

replacement birth rate

# of children couple must have to replace themselves in population


organisms reproduce early in life and have high capacity for reproductive growth

total fertility rate

# of children an average woman will bear during lifetime; based on analyzing data from past

Law of the Minimum

living organisms will continue to live, and consume available materials until the supply of materials is exhausted.

Law of Tolerance

How far an organism can tolerate changes in environment


absorbs nutrients from nonliving organic matter (including waste!) and converts it into inorganic forms. ex: bacteria and fungi

phosphorous cycle

the cyclic movement of phosphorus in different chemical forms from the environment to organisms and then back to the environment


managing forests for harvesting timber

slash and burn

vegetation is slashed and area is burned before being planted with crops

surface fires

fires that only burn forest's underbrush and don't damage mature trees; they help because they prevent bigger fires by removing underbrush that would otherwise burn quicker at high temps.


gangue (waste from mining)

traditional subsistence agriculture

each family in a community plats crops for themselves and harvest with labor by themselves or with animals


flat platforms on the hillside that creates level ground and reduces soil runoff from the slopes

tree farms

plantations that manage trees of the same age and harvested

uneven-aged management

ex: selective cutting, shelter-wood cutting, selective deforestation


can predict long-term population growth (70/current growth=population will double in x years)

significant factors of human population growth

availability of clean water, improved sanitation systems, and medical care

Second Harvest

charitable agency that distributes food that would otherwise go to waste

urban sprawl

leave city and into suburbs

biodiversity hot spot

DIVERSE region that faces severe threats and has lost 70%+ of original vegetation

Marine Mammal Protection Act

protected marine mammals from falling below optimum sustainable population levels

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES)

bans capture, exportation, or sale of endangered and threatened species

Endangered Species Act Program (1973)

prohibit trading and commerce of species endangered or threatened

background extinction rate

natural rate of extinction

boom-and-bust population

regular population changes

irruptive population

very large, then very small

irregular population


logistic population

pop. doubles in short time

stable population

varies slightly above and below its carrying capacity over time

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