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Chapter 6 Humans in the Biosphere


the practice of farming


farming strategy in which large fields are planted with a single crop, year after year

green revolution

the development of highly productive crop strains and the use of modern agricultural techniques to increase yields of food crops

renewable resource

resource that can regenerate quickly and that is replaceable

nonrenewable resource

resource that cannot be replenished by natural processes

sustainable development

using natural resources at a rate that does not deplete them

soil erosion

wearing away of surface soil by water and wind


in areas with dry climates, a process caused by a combination of poor farming practices, overgrazing, and drought that turns productive land into desert


destruction of forests


the raising of aquatic organisms for human consumption


mixture of chemicals that occurs as a gray-brown haze in the atmosphere


harmful material that can enter the biosphere through the land, air, or water

acid rain

rain containing nitric and sulfuric acids


biological diversity; the sum total of the variety of organisms in the biosphere

ecosystem diversity

variety of habitats, living communities, and ecological processes in the living world

species diversity

number of different species in the biosphere

genetic diversity

sum total of all the different forms of genetic information carried by all organisms living on Earth today


disappearance of a species from all parts of its geographical range

endangered species

species whose population size is rapidly declining and will become extinct if the trend continues

habitat fragmentation

splitting of ecosystems into small fragments

biological magnification

increasing concentration of a harmful substance in organisms at higher trophic levels in a food chain or food web

invasive species

plants and animals that have migrated to places where they are not native


wise management of natural resources, including the preservation of habitats and wildlife

ozone layer

atmospheric layer in which ozone gas is relatively concentrated

global warming

increase in the average temperatures on Earth

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