54 terms

IB Environmental systems and societies


Terms in this set (...)

Environmental value system
A worldview or paradigm that shapes the way an individual, or group of people, perceives and evaluates environmental issues
non-governmental organization
NGO; an organization that is neither a part of a government nor a conventional for-profit business
puts ecology and nature as central to humanity (deep ecologists)
believes humans must sustainably manage the global system
believes that technological developments can provide solutions to environmental problems (cornucopians)
Systems approach
a way of visualizing a complex set of interactions which may be ecological or societal
Open system
Exchanges both energy and matter across its boundary
closed system
Only exchanges energy across its boundary
isolated system
A hypothetical concept in which neither energy nor matter is exchanged across the boundary
A simplified version of reality and can be used to understand how a system works and predict how it will respond to change
A change in location
A change in the chemical nature, a change in state or a change in energy.
a set of interrelated elements or parts that function as a whole
first law of thermodynamics (law of conservation of energy)
Energy in an isolated system can be transformed but cannot be created or destroyed
second law of thermodynamics
The entropy of a system increases over time
a measure of the disorder of a system
negative feedback loop (stabilizing)
When the output of a process inhibits or reverses the operation of the same process in such a way to reduce change
positive feedback loop (destabilizing)
Will tend to amplify changes and drive the system toward a tipping point where a new equilibrium is adopted
A systems tendency to avoid such tipping points and maintain stability
Steady-state equilibrium
A characteristic of open systems where there are continuous inputs and outputs of energy and matter, but the system as a whole remains in a more or less constant state
stable equilibrium
system tends to return to the same equilibrium after a disturbance
static equilibrium
Systems where there is no input or output of energy or matter, and there is no change in the system over time.
feedback loop
when information that starts a reaction in turn may input more information which may start another reaction
the use and management of resources that allows full natural replacement of the resources exploited and full recovery of the ecosystems affected by their extraction and use
natural capital
natural resources that can produce a sustainable natural income of goods or services
natural income
the yield obtained from natural resources
ecological footprint
the area of land and water required to sustainably provide all resources at the rate at which they are being consumed by a given population
addition of substances to the environment by human activity that result in a negative effect on the environment
capable of being broken down by bacteria and other natural decomposers
A group of similar organisms that can breed and produce fertile offspring.
group of individuals of the same species that live in the same area at the same time and can interbreed
The environment in which a species normally lives
The particular set of abiotic and biotic conditions and resources to which an organism or population responds
fundamental niche
The full potential range of the physical, chemical, and biological factors a species can use if there is no competition from other species.
realized niche
the actual conditions and resources in which a species exists due to biotic interactions.
abiotic factors
Abiotic factors are the non-living parts of an organism's habitat.
biotic factors
All the living organisms that inhabit an environment
limiting factor
factor that causes the growth of a population to decrease as it reaches carrying capacity
carrying capacity
The maximum number of a species that can be sustainably supported by a given area
population dynamics
The study of the factors that cause changes to population sizes
intraspecific competition
competition between members of the same species
interspecific competition
competition between members of different species
S and J population curves
generalised responses of populations to a particular set of conditions (biotic and abiotic factors)
A group of populations living and interacting with each other in a common habitat
A community of organisms and their abiotic environment
The conversion of organic matter into carbon dioxide and water in all living organisms
Produces the raw materials for producing biomass
Organisms that produce their own food
ecological pyramid
A diagram that shows the biomass, productivity, and numbers of organisms at each trophic level
The buildup of non biodegradable pollutants within an organism because they cannot be broken down
the increase in concentration of persistent or non-biodegradable pollutants along a food chain
Pyramids of productivity
refer to the flow of energy through a trophic level, indicating the rate at which that stock/storage is being generated
Tropic level
The position that an organism occupies in a food chain, or a group of organisms in a community that occupy the same position in food chains.
Tropic efficiency
The percentage of production transferred from one tropic level to the next