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Glossary of Terms

Ecological sustainability

The maintenance or restoration of the composition, structure, and processes of ecosystems over time and space. This includes the diversity of plant and animal communities, and the productive capacity of ecological systems and species diversity, ecosystem diversity, disturbance processes, soil productivity, water quality and quantity, and air quality.


The interrelationships of living things to one another and to their environment, or the study ofthese interrelationships.


An arrangement of living and non-living things and the forces that move among them. Livingthings include plants and animals. Non-living parts of ecosystems may be rocks and minerals. Weather andwildfire are two of the forces that act within ecosystems.

Ecosystem diversity

The variety and relative extent of ecosystem types, including their composition, structure, and processes within all or a part of an area of analysis (36 CFR 219.16).

Ecosystem health

The degree to which ecological factors and their interactions are reasonably complete and functioning for continued resilience, productivity, and renewal of the ecosystem.

Ecosystem Management

An ecological approach to natural resource management to assure productive,healthy ecosystems by blending social, economic, physical, and biological needs and values.


The transition zone between two biotic communities, such as between the Ponderosa pine foresttype and the mixed conifer forest, which is found at higher elevations than the pine.


A population of a species in a given ecosystem that is adapted to a particular set of environmental conditions.


The margin where two or more vegetation patches meet, such as a meadow opening next to a matureforest stand, or a ponderosa pine stand next to an aspen stand.
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