GLOSSARY

adapt
to adjust to surrounding condition, often by making changes.

adaptation
a change in an organism that enables it to survive in a certain place.

adaptive radiation
the rapid development of many species from a single ancestral population.

adaptive shift
change from a behavior or habit characteristic of the ancestral group of plants or animals to a strikingly different pattern. Hawaiian examples are carnivorous caterpillars, nectar-eating finches, woody violets, flightless birds, and flightless insects.

alien
brought into an area by humans, deliberately or by accident. Synonyms include introduced, non-native, and exotic.

alpine
related to or growing about the tree line.

artesian springs
fresh water that has escaped through cracks in caprock, both below sea level and on land.

avian
of or relating to birds.

avian malaria
an infectious bird disease spread by mosquitoes. It infects a wide range of birds in Hawai`i, has probably contributed to the extinction of some native species, and limits the distribution of other species to higher and drier forests. First reported in Hawai`i in 1947.

biodegradable
capable of decaying and being absorbed by the environment.

biological control
the control of a plant or animal (pest) by the use of living organisms (usually a predator, parasite, or disease o f the pest) rather than chemical herbicides or pesticides.

biological diversity
the rich variety of genetic material, life forms, and ecological roles represented by different species.

biota
the plants and animals of an area.

bog
in Hawai`i, wetland that usually forms in mountain areas of heavy rainfall and poor drainage.

brackish
mixture of fresh and salt water.

browsing
grazing or eating tender shoots, twigs, and leaves of trees and shrubs.

canopy
in ecology, overhead layer formed by leaves and branches of an ecosystem's tallest plants.

caprock
consolidated coral, soil, clay, and rock fragments found on coastal plains of some older islands. Caprock is relatively impermeable so it retards the flow of groundwater to the sea.

captive breeding
an animal species management technique where male and female individuals of the same species are captured, transferred to a safe environment, and encouraged to reproduce so that their offspring can be released to restored or improved habitat in the wild. It is usually a final option employed for the most critically endangered species.

climate
weather conditions in a specific area over an extended period of time.

coastal plain
plain formed by sediments deposited during ancient times when sea levels were higher.

coastal strand
one of the island vegetation zones; area along the seashore.

colonizing species
organisms that first settle a new area.

community
a naturally occurring assemblage of plants and animals living and interacting in a defined area. The same groups of species also occur elsewhere, and the community is usually named for dominant plants or animals or major physical components.

compete
in ecology, to contend for the same, usually limited, resources.

condensation
the act or process of making denser or more compact; a reduction to a denser form (as from water vapor to water).

conservation
wise use of natural resources to assure their continued availability.

conservation education
planned effort to teach others about protecting, managing, and caring for natural resources. Emphasis is less on nature study than on ecological processes, politics, real-world problems and decisions. Focuses on renewable natural resources (plants and animals) and on key manageable resources (soil, water, air). Sometimes used synonymously with environmental education.

critically endangered
almost extinct, with only a few remaining individuals of any one species.

defenses
in reference to native plants, thorns, poisons, or scents that repel grazing or browsing animals.

deforestation
the process of clearing forests.

degraded
of reduced quality or standard; worn down by erosion.

dispersal
in this context, the spread of organisms from one place to another.

disturbed
changed or altered by animals, plants, natural forces and/or humans.

disturbed forest
a forest that has changed or been degraded due to human impact.

diversity
variety of forms or qualities.

dryland forest
in Hawai`i, a forest community of mixed grasses, shrubs and trees, usually on the drier leeward sides of islands below 6,000 ft. elevation.

ecosystem
a community of living organisms including producers, consumers, and decomposers and the environment they occupy.

endangered
in immediate danger of becoming extinct.

endangered species
a species in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. Both state and federal wildlife agencies keep an official endangered species list which includes some, though not all, of the species biologists consider endangered.

endemic
unique to an area; occurring naturally nowhere else on Earth.

endemic species
a species unique to a given area.

environment
all surroundings that have an influence on an organism.

environmental education
planned teaching about all aspects of the environment including preservation, threats, benefits, and dangers to humans. Includes conservation education.

epiphyte
a plant that grows on another plant but does not derive nutrients from it.

eroded
formed by wearing away.

erosion
the gradual wearing away of earth by water, wind and ice.

evolution
change over time of the genetic traits within a species.

extinct
no longer in existence; no longer living.

extinction
the dying out of a species.

feral
an animal with domesticated ancestors that has returned to the wild and is no longer dependent upon humans for survival.

fire adapted
plants stimulated to resprout or reproduce after a fire. Many introduced grasses in Hawai`i are fire adapted, but most native plants are not.

forest
an area of land covered largely with trees. Forests are vital parts of our global ecosystem supplying oxygen, habitat for wildlife, timber and recreation areas.

forest reserve
in Hawai`i, government of private land or lands set aside by the governor with the approval of the Department of Land & Natural Resources as forest reservations for the purpose of enhancing the water, habitat, aesthetics and productivity of forest lands.

forest resources
products or services that forests provide, such as timber and recreation.

genetic
having to do with inherited characteristics, such as the color of an animal's body or a plant's flower.

ground cover
plants and decaying organic materials covering the ground.

groundwater
water found beneath the Earth's surface.

habitat
the area where an animal or plant naturally lives and grows.

honeycreeper
member of a subfamily of birds that is endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. Honeycreepers provide perhaps the best example of avian adaptive radiation in the world. Over half of the surviving species are considered endangered, and many are confined to high elevations where mosquitoes, which transmit avian malaria, are absent or scarce.

hybrid
the offspring of two plants or animals of different races, breeds, varieties, or species.

immunity
the ability to resist or overcome the effects of infection.

impact
in nature, it is often a fast change caused by human activity or natural disasters.

indigenous
naturally occurring in one area, but not unique to that area.

interdependence
a relationship of mutual need.

interrelationship
a close or dependent connection between organisms or between an organism and its environment.

introduced
in this context, brought to an area by humans, either purposely or accidentally.

invertebrate
an animal that has no backbone.

isolation
set apart from others or alone

jet stream
a high-altitude, fast-moving wind that blows from west to east usually at middle and upper latitudes; occurs 30,000-40,000 feet above sea level and moves approximately 120 miles/hour.

land use
a particular manner of using land, such as for residences or recreation.

leeward
away from prevailing wind.

lokahi
balance or harmony.

malama
to take care of, preserve.

mesic
relatively moist; the intermediate area between wet and dry conditions.

microclimate
the essentially uniform local climate of a small site or habitat.

mutation
a genetic change in an organism resulting in a new form that can be inherited by its offspring.

native
in this context, species that first arrived in an area without the assistance of humans. Includes endemic (found naturally only in that area) and indigenous (found naturally in that area, but also in other areas).

natural area
an area set aside for preservation of a representative sample of natural communities for educational, scientific, and future needs. These may also be called reserves, preserves, or sanctuaries by different organizations, and in different countries.

natural communities
interrelated groups of living organisms in a habitat.

non-native
species that were introduced to an area with the assistance of humans. Not occurring naturally in an area.

`ohana
family, related group, kin.

organic
of, relating to, or derived from living organisms.

organism
a plant or animal.

overpopulation
the condition of having a population so dense that environmental quality deteriorates.

pioneer species
organisms that first settle an area.

pollinator
organism that transfers pollen from an anther to a stigma of a flower, in the process of fertilization.

population
number of a particular species in a defined area.

precipitation
moisture falling out of the atmosphere as rain, snow, fog, sleet or hail.

predation
the killing of animals by other animals.

predator
animal that lives by preying upon or eating other animals.

preservation
protection, as of natural resources; implies protection without consumptive use.

preserve
an area set aside for the protection and preservation of natural resources, such as plants and animals; in Hawai`i, these areas must usually be managed to prevent deterioration caused by introduced plants and animals.

prey
animals that are killed or eaten by other animals.

rainforest
in Hawai`i, a forested area where rainfall is abundant, found primarily on windward slopes between 2,000-6,000 ft. elevation.

recharge
replenishment of groundwater by downward movement of water.

reforestation
the renewal of forest cover by seeding or planting.

regeneration
regrowth.

renewable
able to be made new or replaced.

reserves
land set apart by the state or federal government for special purposes.

rosette
a cluster of leaves in close circles arising from a short stem.

runoff
water that flows along the surface of the Earth in streams, rivers, ponds, lakes or as sheet-flow during a heavy rain.

savanna
a tropical or subtropical grassland with scattered trees and shrubs, and drought-resistant undergrowth. In Hawai`i, usually found on dry leeward sides of islands below 3,000 ft. elevation.

seedling
a young plant grown from a seed.

shrubland
area with low, woody plants.

speciation
the formation of a new species through evolution.

species
basic category for classifying living things. A group of similar individuals that can usually breed among themselves and produce fertile offspring.

subalpine
one of seven Hawaiian vegetation zones; this region is only found on the islands of Maui and Hawai`i above 9,000 ft.

subalpine forest
forest located between 6,000-9,000 ft. elevation where drifting clouds create a wet, cool environment. Only the islands of Maui and Hawai`i are high enough to support this zone.

surface water
water on the land surface such as in streams, rivers, ponds, or lakes.

threatened
likely to become endangered.

trade winds
in Hawai`i, winds blowing frequently from the northeast toward the equator.

tropical rainforests
on a worldwide basis, a broad vegetation type with high rainfall (40-400+ inches/year) and high average temperatures. A few thousand years ago the rain forest belt covered 14% of the earth's surface; it may now occur on 7%, but contain over 50% of the earth's species. Tropical rain forests are now being destroyed more rapidly than any other vegetation type.

understory
low growth on the floor of a forest, including seedlings and saplings, shrubs and herbs.

undisturbed forest
forest that has not been significantly disturbed by the activities of humans, where the original composition of flora and fauna is essentially intact, and where processes such as nutrient and water cycles and evolution are essentially unmodified by humans.

vegetation zone
geographical area characterized by a particular plant or group of plants growing in association.

vertebrate
an animal with a backbone, such as a mammal, fish, reptile or bird.

vulnerable
open to attack or damage.

water cycle
the cyclical movement of water between the air, land and sea.

water table
the upper surface of groundwater.

watershed
a land area in which water drains to a particular body of water--can be viewed as a giant "bathtub" in the terrain.

wetlands
land with high soil moisture, such as swamps or marshes.

wildlife refuge
area set aside for the protection of certain species.

windward
into or facing the prevailing wind.

zone
an area marked by distinct physical conditions and populated by distinct communities of organisms.

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