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Glossary of Terms on Endangered Species and Conservation Biology

Biodiversity - the existence of a wide range of different plant and animal species that exist in a particular place

Conservation - (1) protection of valued resources - the preservation, management, and care of natural and cultural resources; (2) protection from change - keeping or protecting of something from change, loss, or damage

Conservation Biology - the branch of biology that is concerned with preserving genetic variation (biodiversity) in plants and animals. This scientific field evolved to study the complex problems surrounding habitat destruction and species protection. The objectives of conservation biologists are to understand how humans affect biodiversity and to provide potential solutions that benefit both humans and non-human species.

Endangered - in great danger or at risk

Endangered Species - plant and animal species that are in danger of extinction. Over 34,000 plant species and 5,200 animal species around the globe are threatened with extinction, and many thousands more become extinct each year before biologists can identify them. The primary causes of species extinction or endangerment are habitat destruction, commercial exploitation (such as plant collecting, hunting, and trade in animal parts), damage caused by nonnative plants and animals introduced into an area, and pollution. Of these causes, direct habitat destruction threatens the most species.

Extinction - the act of becoming extinct - the death of all members of a species or family of organisms

Habitat- the natural area where a plant or animal species normally lives

Preservation - protection from harm - guarding something from danger, harm, or injury

Threatened Species - a plant or animal species that is likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future. There are currently over 16,000 species worldwide designated as threatened species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.