Terms that are used in this ecoregional plan are briefly defined here.
acceptable range of variation–
limits of variation allowing persistence of the target
(persistence may still require human management intervention).
This acceptable range of variation is the
minimum criteria for identifying a target as
alien - non-native, introduced by human beings; also: exotic, adventive, non-indigenous.
biogeoclimatic - biological, geological, and prevailing climatic conditions, combined to characterize a region.
biogeography - the study of the patterns and process determining the global distribution of biota.
biota - living elements, from species to ecological systems.
CAP Excel Workbook
– An Excel-based software program developed by The Nature
Conservancy to facilitate the Conservation Action Planning (CAP) process, automate the roll-up of
summary results, and serve as a consistent repository for CAP
information. Download from: http://www.conserveonline.org/2003/07/s/ConPrjMgmt_v4.
condition - one the three factors considered in viability assessment; an
integrated measure of biotic and abiotic factors, structures, and
processes related to the "health" or viability of a conservation
target, e.g., reproduction, levels of competition/predation/disease,
population structure. For natural communities and ecological systems,
condition relates to structure and biotic composition, and typical
ecological processes. see also, size, landscape context, viability
Conservation Action Planning (CAP)
– The Nature Conservancy’s process for helping conservation
practitioners develop strategies, take action, measure success, and
adapt and learn over time. See: http://conserveonline.org/workspaces/cap/TNC_CAP_Basic_Practices_v_17_Jun_05.pdf
conservation area/site –
In Ecoregional planning, synonymous with the more appropriate term
“area of biodiversity significance”. In Conservation area
planning, equivalent to “project area”. Although
Ecoregional plans may delineate rough or preliminary site boundaries or
use other systematic units such as watersheds or hexagons as site
selection units, the boundaries and the target occurrences contained
within these areas are first approximations that will be dealt with in
more specificity and accuracy in the CAP process.
conservation target - an element of biological diversity identified for protective action; often a surrogate for regional diversity.
conservation value -
an index for a conservation area (see above) that assesses three
factors: biodiversity (at species, natural community and
ecological system levels), viability (see below), and complementarity
(contribution of an area to the overall biodiversity of the ecoregion,
closely linked to area endemism). Conservation value is an integral
part of action site ranking.
critical threat – sources of stress that are most problematic. Most often, “very
high” and “high” rated threats based on the
Conservancy’s rating criteria of the scope, severity,
contribution, and reversibility of their impact on targets
current status – an
assessment of the current “health” of a target as expressed
through the most recent measurement or rating of an indicator for a key
ecological attribute. Compare to desired status.
desired status – a
measurement or rating of an indicator for a key ecological attribute
that describes the level of viability/integrity that the project
intends to achieve. Compare to current status.
disharmonic - a term in biogeography referring to taxonomic units (e.g., genera, families) conspicuously absent from an ecoregion due to isolation.
ecological system - suites of ecologically linked natural communities sharing similar biogeoclimatic conditions.
- a large unit of land or water containing a
geographically distinct assemblage of species, natural communities, and
– the Nature Conservancy’s process for setting priorities
for conservation in ecoregions. same as “ecoregional plan”.
ecoregional goals – the number and spatial distribution of
conservation targets (species, communities, and ecological systems) needed
to adequately conserve the targets in an ecoregion. also called
ecosystem integrity - see integrity
ecoregional plan – see ecoregional essessment
ecoregional portfolio - the suite of conservation sites that will collectively conserve the biodiversity of an ecoregion.
effective conservation - a
combination of permanent protective designation, and
active management to abate threats and maintain or increase the
viability of conservation targets and biodiversity in an area. The
goal of The Nature Conservancy globally is to bring effective
conservation to at least 10% of the world's major habitat types.
element - shorthand for
"element of biological diversity" referring to the basic building
blocks of diversity: plants, animals, and natural communities.
endemic - restricted biogeographically to a place.
focal conservation target
– target in Conservation Area Planning; a limited suite
(≤8) of species, communities, and ecological systems chosen
to represent and encompass the full array of biodiversity in a
project area. One focal conservation target may reflect
the needs of many other targets in a conservation area or ecoregion.
goal - see ecoregional goal.
Holdridge life forms -
categories of ecological settings (temperature, moisture, elevation,
latitude), established for global biogeographic description and
comparison by L.R. Holdridge (1947).
indigenous - native to a place; found naturally there, but necessarily restricted to a place.
integrity – status or “health” of an ecological community or system; ability of a community or system target to
withstand or recover from natural or anthropogenic disturbances. See
also viability for species.
key ecological attributes -- aspects of a target’s
biology or ecology that are critical to persistence of that target over time; i.e., that determine the target’s
viability or integrity. These are typically the most critical components
of biological composition, structure, interactions and processes,
environmental regimes, and landscape configuration that sustain a
target’s viability or integrity.
landscape context - one the three factors considered in viability assessment; spatial
aspects of connectivity or access to other populations, species and
ecological processes in the surrounding habitat or landscape. see also
size, condition, viability.
natural community - a
consistent and distinctive set of ecologically interacting plants and
animals that occur together via shared habitat requirements.
portfolio of sites - see ecoregional portfolio
size - one the three
factors considered in viability assessment; a measure of area or
abundance of a conservation target occurrence (size of a species
occurrence may include area of occupation or population counts, while
size of a natural community or ecological system is typically couched
in area of extent)
sources of stress – proximate agents or factors that directly degrade targets; direct threats.
stakeholders – individuals, groups, or institutions with a
vested interest in the natural resources of an area, and/or who
potentially will be affected by conservation activities.
strategic actions – interventions designed to
reach strategic objectives. see strategy
strategy – broad
course of action defined by having one or more objectives, strategic actions
required to accomplish objectives, and specific steps required to
complete those actions.
stratification unit - one of several broad geographical subdivisions established across an ecoregion to ensure representation of biodiversity.
stress – disturbance likely to destroy or degrade a conservation target directly or indirectly.
target - see conservation target.
threat – agent or factor that directly or indirectly degrades a conservation target. see sources of stress.
viability – status or “health” of a species population; ability of a
conservation target to withstand or recover from natural or
anthropogenic disturbances and persist for long time periods. See also integrity for natural communities
and ecological systems. Three factors are examined when characterizing viability: size, condition, and landscape context.
- an area of water input and flow, typically upland and defined by
stream drainages from high precipitation areas, often, but not always
forested. In Hawai‘i, watersheds typically correspond to native wet
- a voluntary alliance of public and private landowners and managers
working together to protect a defined upland forest area for its
ecological and water resource values. (see watershed).