Biodiversity publications archive

National Strategy for the Conservation of Australia's Biological Diversity

Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, 1996
ISBN 0 6422 4427 8

Glossary

Alien species
A species occurring in an area outside its historically known natural range as a result of intentional or accidental dispersal by human activities (including exotic organisms, genetically modified organisms and translocated species).
Biological diversity
The variety of life forms: the different plants, animals and microorganisms, the genes they contain, and the ecosystems they form. It is usually considered at three levels: genetic diversity, species diversity and ecosystem diversity.
Biological diversity technicians
Trained in the elements of biological science and systematics, biological diversity technicians will assist professional scientists in surveys, sort survey material, process it by means of new rapid biological diversity assessment techniques, and prepare it for analysis by ecologists and description by taxonomists.
Biomonitor
A species that is sensitive to, and shows measurable responses to, changes in the environment, such as changes in pollution levels.
Bioregion
A territory defined by a combination of biological, social and geographic criteria rather than by geopolitical considerations; generally, a system of related, interconnected ecosystems.
Biota
All of the organisms at a particular locality.
Close management measures
Techniques used to assist the reintroduction and establishment of viable populations of a species into its natural habitat; for example, artificial nesting boxes.
Conservation
The protection, maintenance, management, sustainable use, restoration and enhancement of the natural environment.
Ecologically sustainable use
The use of a species or ecosystem within the capacity of the species, ecosystem and bioregion for renewal or regeneration.
Ecosystem
A dynamic complex of plant, animal, fungal, and microorganism communities and the associated non-living environment interacting as an ecological unit.
Endemic
Restricted to a specified region or locality.
Exotic species
see Alien species.
Ex-situ conservation
Conservation of species outside their natural habitat; for example, in zoos, botanic gardens and seed banks.
Feral species
A domesticated species that has become wild.
Gene
The functional unit of heredity; that part of the DNA molecule that encodes a single enzyme or structural protein unit.
Genetically engineered organisms
Organisms whose genetic make up has been altered by the insertion or deletion of small fragments of DNA in order to create or enhance desirable characteristics from the same or another species.
Genetic material
All or part of the DNA of a genome or all or part of an organism resulting from expression of the genome.
Genetic products
Identifiable chemical compounds from extracts, distillates, secretions and exudates of biological material that result from the expression of a gene, or set of genes governing a metabolic pathway, within an organism.

Using this definition, wood is a genetic material and any chemicals extracted from wood or trees (for example, a pharmaceutical chemical from bark, such as taxol or rubber) are genetic products.
Genome
The total genetic complement of the cell(s) of organisms – in eukaryotic cells, all the genes contained in a single set of chromosomes, and extra-nuclear DNA; in prokaryotic cells, circular DNA molecule(s) and any plasmids; in viruses, the RNA or DNA combined with the viral protein coat.
Germplasm
The genetic material that carries the inherited characteristics of an organism.
Gondwana
The southern supercontinent that started to break up about 150 million years ago, consisting of what are now South America, Africa, Antarctica, Arabia, Australia, India, Madagascar and New Zealand.
Gorgonians
Torny corals; for example, Sea Fans.
Habitat
The place or type of site in which an organism naturally occurs.
Indicator species
A species whose presence or absence is indicative of a particular habitat, community or set of environmental conditions.
In-situ conservation
Conserving species within their natural habitat.
Introduced species
see Alien species.
Management for biological diversity
Taking action aimed at the maintenance of biological diversity conservation and the environment, including protection, intervention and non-intervention.
Minimum viable population
The minimum number of individuals of a species in a given locality that could be expected to survive in the long-term.
Native vegetation
Any local indigenous plant community containing throughout its growth the complement of native species and habitats normally associated with that vegetation type or having the potential to develop these characteristics. It includes vegetation with these characteristics that has been regenerated with human assistance following disturbance. It excludes plantations and vegetation that has been established for commercial purposes.
Protected area
A protected area is defined in Article 2 of the International Convention on Biological Diversity as a 'geographically defined area which is designated or regulated and managed to achieve specific conservation objectives'.
Protected area system characteristics
With regard to the conservation of biological diversity within Australia's reserves system, comprehensiveness, adequacy and representativeness are defined thus:

comprehensiveness – the degree to which the full range of ecological communities and their biological diversity are incorporated within reserves;

adequacy – the ability of the reserve to maintain the ecological viability and integrity of populations, species and communities. Note that the interactions between reserves and surrounding areas should be taken into account in determining the reserve's ability to meet ecological viability and integrity criteria. Complementary management of adjacent areas can play a significant role. In some instances, however, the ecological viability of the protected area itself will be paramount;

representativeness – the extent to which areas selected for inclusion in the National Reserves System are capable of reflecting the known biological diversity and ecological patterns and processes of the ecological community or ecosystem concerned.
Protected areas management
The World Conservation Union is currently developing a protected categories area classification system. The Union's work, along with that of other relevant organisations, will be considered in the development of a classification system under the National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development and the National Reserve System commitment.
Species
A group of organisms capable of interbreeding freely with each other but not with members of other species.
Taxon (pl. taxa)
The named classification unit to which individuals or sets of species are assigned, such as species, genus and order.
Threatened
A species or community that is vulnerable, endangered or presumed extinct.
Translocated species
Native species introduced into suitable habitats within their own country, having been previously excluded from these habitats by natural barriers.
Wilderness
Land that, together with its plant and animal communities, is in a state that has not been substantially modified by, and is remote from, the influences of European settlement or is capable of being restored to such a state, and is of sufficient size to make its maintenance in such a state feasible.

Before you download

Some documents are available as PDF files. You will need a PDF reader to view PDF files.
List of PDF readers 

If you are unable to access a publication, please contact us to organise a suitable alternative format.