APES Terms

Environmentalism
a social movement dedicated to protecting life support systems for all species.
Natural capital
the natural resources and natural services that keep us and other species alive and support our economies.
Natural capital degradation
occurs when human activities use renewable resources faster than they can be replenished.
Trade-offs
compromises that are made to resolve conflicts.
Solar capital
energy from the sun
Natural capital
earth’s resources and ecological services
Gross domestic product (GDP)
the market value for goods and services produced both within the country
Rule of 70

Used to calculate doubling time of a population

 

70/percentage growth rate = doubling time in years 

resource
anything obtained from the environment to meet our needs and wants
Perpetual resource
A resource that is renewed continuously, like solar energy
Renewable resource
must not be used up faster than they can be replaced, like grasslands, fresh water and air, fertile soil, etc.
Sustainable yield
the highest rate of use on an indefinite scale without degradation or depletion.
Environmental degradation
occurs when use of resources exceeds rate of replacement
Tragedy of the Commons
the overuse or degradation of freely available resources such as ocean pollution, abuse of national parks, air pollution, etc.  No one individual owns these free-access resources.
Per capita ecological footprint
the biologically productive land and water needed to supply renewable resources and absorb waste for each individual.
Nonrenewable resource
A resource that exists in fixed quantity or stock in the earth’s crust.  The resource is economically depleted when it costs too much to obtain what is left.
Affluence
the addiction to over-consumption of material goods.
Syngergistic Interaction
results in the combined effects of a process being greater than the sum of the separate effects. 
Matter
anything that has mass and takes up space, living or not.  It comes in chemical forms, as an element or a compound.
Element
the distinctive building block that makes up every substance; chemically, elements are represented by a one- or two-letter symbol.
Material efficiency/resource productivity
the total amount of material needed to produce a unit of good/service.
Law of conservation of matter
no atoms are created/destroyed during a physical or chemical change
Energy
the capacity to do work and transfer heat
Electromagnetic radiation
energy that travels as a wave, a result of changing electric and magnetic fields
Electromagnetic spectrum
the range of electromagnetic waves that have different wavelengths and energy content
Heat
the total kinetic energy of all moving atoms, ions, or molecules in a substance
Temperature
the average speed of motion of atoms, ions, or molecules in a sample of matter.
First Law of Thermodynamics
energy can neither be created/destroyed, but can be converted from one form to another. 
Second Law of Thermodynamics
when energy is changed from one form to another, there is always less usable energy.  Energy quality is depleted.
Ecology
the study of connections in the natural world
Population
consists of a group of interacting individuals of the same species occupying a specific area
Habitat
the place where a population or an individual usually lives
Distribution or Range
the area over which a species may be found
Community
populations of different species living and interacting in a specific area
Biological Community
consists of all the populations of different species interacting and living in a specific area; this is a network of plants, animals, and microorganisms.
Ecosystem
a community of different species interacting with each other and with their nonliving environment of matter and energy.  All of the earth’s diverse ecosystems comprise the biosphere
Atmosphere
the thin membrane of air around the planet.
Troposphere
the air layer about 11 miles above sea level
Stratosphere
lies above the troposphere between 11-30 miles; it filters out the sun’s harmful radiation.
Hydrosphere

consists of earth’s water, found in liquid water, ice, and water vapor.

Lithosphere
the crust and upper mantle of the earth’s soil. It contains nonrenewable fossil fuels, minerals, and soil, and renewable soil chemicals needed for plant life.
Biosphere
includes most of the hydrosphere, parts of the lower atmosphere and upper lithosphere.  All parts of the biosphere are interconnected.
Law of tolerance
The distribution of a species in an ecosystem is determined by the levels of one or more physical or chemical factors’ being within the range tolerated by that species
Limiting factor principle
too much or too little of any abiotic factor can limit or prevent growth of a population, even if all other factors are at or near the optimum range of tolerance
Decomposers
break down organic detritus (bacteria/fungi) into simpler inorganic compounds
Omnivore
feeds on both plants and animals.
Detritivores
feed on dead organic matter and break it down into smaller molecules
Biodiversity

the amazing variety of earth’s genes, species, ecosystems, and ecosystem processes.

1. The kinds of biodiversity are: genetic diversity, species diversity, ecological diversity and functional diversity.

Trophic levels
feeding levels for organisms within an ecosystem
Food webs
complex networks of interconnected food chains
Biomass
The dry weight of all organic matter within the organisms of a food chain/web
Nutrient cycles/biogeochemical cycles

Global recycling systems that interconnect all organisms

 

These cycles include the carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, and water cycles.