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of terms related to the biodiversity



captive breeding (see: ex-situ conservation)

The propagation or preservation of animals outside their natural habitat, involving control by humans of the animals chosen to constitute a population and of mating choices within that population.

carrying capacity

The maximum number of people, or individuals of a particular species, that a given part of the environment can maintain indefinitely without environmental damage.

cell fusion

A technique of fusing two cells from different species to create one hybrid cell for the purpose of combining some of the genetic characteristics of each original.

center of diversity

- An area, geographic region with a high number of genetic or species diversity, which might be recognized on a global, regional or local scale. - The regions where most of the major crop species were originally domesticated and developed. These regions may coincide with centres of origin.

center of endemism

Geographic region with numerous locally endemic species.

centers of origin and diversity

Places in the world where crops have the greatest genetic diversity in the form of traditional crop and varieties and/or wild relatives(wild relative). Centers of diversity are typically, but not always, the same locations as the centers of origin or oldest cultivation of the crop.


Any recognizable trait, feature, or property of an organism.

characteristic diversity

The pattern of distribution and abundance of populations(population), species, and habitats under conditions where humanity's influence on the ecosystem is no greater than that of any other biotic factor.

characterization of animal genetic resources

All activities associated with the description of animal genetic resources(genetic resource) aimed at better knowledge of these resources and their state. Characterization by a country of its animal genetic resources will incorporate development of necessary descriptors for use, identification of the country's sovereign animal genetic resources, baseline and advanced surveying of these populations(population) including their enumeration and visual description, their comparative genetic description in one or more production environments(production environment), their valuation, and ongoing monitoring of those animal genetic resources at risk.


Accumulation of unnatural concentrations of certain chemical compounds.


In taxonomy, a category just beneath the phylum and above the order; a group of related, similar orders.


The removal of the entire standing crop of trees; in practice, may refer to exploitation that leaves much unsaleable material standing (e.g. a commercial clear-cutting).


Originally used in the business sector, a clearing-house is a service which facilitates and simplifies transactions among multiple parties.

climax community

The end of a successional sequence; a community that has reached stability under a particular set of environmental conditions.


Change in population characteristics over a geographical area, usually related to a corresponding environmental change.


- A set of genetically identical organisms, asexually reproduced from one ancestral organism. - A population of individuals all derived asexually from the same single parent. - Cell or organism identical to an ancestor with respect to genotype and phenotype. - A genetic replica of another organism obtained through a non-sexual (no fertilization) reproduction process. Cloning by nucleus transfer involves the transfer of a donor nucleus from (cultured) cells of embryonic, fetal or adult origin into the recipient cytoplasm of an enucleated oocyte or zygote, and the subsequent development of embryos and animals. These clones usually have different mitochondrial genomes.


Evolution of characteristics of two or more species to their mutual advantage.


Evolution in two or more interacting species in which the evolutionary changes of each species influence the evolution of the other species.


The sharing of authority, responsibility, and benefits between government and local communities in the management of natural resources.

coastal waters

Marine benthic and pelagic ecosystems(ecosystem) having substantial influence from the land.

common property resource management

The management of a specific resource (such as a forest or pasture) by a well defined group of resource users with the authority to regulate its use by members and outsiders.


- All the organisms that live in a given habitat and affect one another as part of the food web or through their various influences on the physical environment. - A group of ecologically related populations(population) of various species of organisms occurring in a particular place and time. - An integrated group of species inhabiting a given area; the organisms within a community influence one another's distribution, abundance and evolution. A human community is a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality.

comparative advantage

Relative superiority with which a region or state may produce a good or service.

competent authority

A government agency or agencies responsible for regulating biotechnology, biosafety, intellectual property rights and other relevant aspects.


Use or defense of a resource by one individual that reduces the availability of the resource to other individuals.

competitive exclusion

The extinction of one species by another species in the same area through competition.


The concept of achieving conservation efficiently by ensuring that a set of areas is assembled with due regard to the additional species that each brings into the network; this is the basis of a critical faunas analysis.

Conference of the Parties (COP)

Supreme body of the Biodiversity Convention. It currently meets every two year to review and steer the convention's progress; the word conference is not used here in the sense of meeting but rather of association, which explains the seemingly redundant expression fifth meeting of the conference of the parties (http://www.biodiv.org/convention/cops.asp).


- Judicious use and management of nature and natural resources(resource) for the benefit of human society and for ethical reasons. - Artificial control of ecological relationships in an environment in order to maintain a particular balance among the species present. - The management of human use of the biosphere so that many yield the greatest sustainable benefit to current generations while maintaining its potential to meet the needs and aspirations of future generations: thus conservation in positive, embracing preservations, maintenance, sustainable utilization, restoration, and enhancement of the natural environment.

conservation biology

The science of conserving biological diversity.

conservation of farm animal genetic resources

Refers to all human activities including strategies, plans, policies and actions undertaken to ensure that the diversity of farm animal genetic resources is being maintained to contribute to food and agricultural production and productivity, now and in the future.

conservation values

The value to society of conserving environmental resources(resource).

contained use

- Any operation involving organisms which are controlled by physical barriers or a combination of physical and/or biological barriers which limit their contact with, or their impacts on, the potentially receiving environment, which includes humans. - Any operation in which microorganisms are genetically modified or in which such genetically modified microorganisms are cultured, stored, used, transported, destroyed or disposed of and for which physical barriers, or a combination of physical barriers together with chemical and/or biological barriers are used to limit their contact with the general population and the environment.


Application of phytosanitary or other measures in and around an infested area to prevent spread of a pest or a disease.

continental shelf

The edges of continental landmasses, now covered with seawater; generally the most productive parts of the ocean.

coral bleaching

A phenomenon occurring when corals under stress expel their mutualistic microscopic algae, called zooxanthellae; this results in a severe decrease or even total loss of photosynthetic pigments. Since most reef building corals have white calcium carbonate skeletons, the latter show through the corals' tissue, and the coral reef appears bleached.


In biogeography, having an extremely broad or global distribution.

cost-benefit analysis

The appraisal of a investment project which includes all social and financial costs and benefits accruing to the project.

countries with economies in transition

Those Central and East European countries and former republics of the Soviet Union that are in transition to a market economy.

country of origin of genetic resources

The country which possesses those genetic resources(genetic resource) in in-situ conditions.

country providing genetic resources

The country supplying genetic resources(genetic resource) collected from in-situ sources, including populations(population) of both wild and domesticated species, or taken from ex-situ sources, which may or may not have originated in that country.

critical-maintained breed and endangered-maintained breed

Categories where critical breeds(critical breed) or endangered breeds(endangered breed) are being maintained by an active public conservation programme or within a commercial or research facility.

critical breed

A breed where the total number of breeding females is less than 100 or the total number of breeding males is less than or equal to five; or the overall population size is close to, but slightly above 100 and decreasing, and the percentage of pure-bred females is below 80 percent.

critical faunas analysis

A methodology to identify the minimum set of areas which would contain at least one viable population of every species in a given animal or plant group.

critical habitat

A technical classification of areas in the United States that refers to habitats(habitat) essential for the conservation of endangered species or threatened species; the term may be used to designate portions of habitat areas, the entire area, or even areas outside the current range of the species.


The act or product of cross-fertilization between different individuals.


The breeding of distinct and genotypic types or forms in plants; this may entail the transfer of pollen from one individual to the stigma of another of different genotype.


The transfer of pollen from the stamen of a flower to the stigma of a flower of different genotype, but usually of the same species.

cryogenic storage

The preservation of seeds, semen, embryos, or microorganisms at extremely low temperatures, below -130 °C; at these temperatures, water is absent, molecular kinetic energy is low, diffusion is virtually nil, and storage potential is expected to be extremely long.


The branch of physics relating to the effects and production of very low temperatures; as applied to living organisms, preservation in a dormant state by freezing, drying, or both.


The storage of plant material at very low temperatures (-196°C) in liquid nitrogen.

cultivar (syn.: domesticated species)

Species in which the evolutionary process has been influenced by humans to meet their needs. - A variety of a plant produced by selective breeding. - A cultivated variety (genetic strain) of a domesticated crop plant. - Distinct form or variety of domesticated plant derived through breeding and selection and maintained through cultivation. - International term denoting certain cultivated plants that are clearly distinguishable from others by one or more characteristics and that when reproduced retain their distinguishing characteristics. In the United States, ‘variety’ is considered to be synonymous with cultivar (derived from ‘cultivated variety’).

cultural diversity

Variety or multiformity of human social structures, belief systems, and strategies for adapting to situations in different parts of the world.


Plant piece (stem, leaf, or root) removed from a parent plant that is capable of developing into a new plant.


Any of an order of gymnosperms of the family Cycadaceae; cycads are tropical plants that resemble palms but reproduce by means of spermatozoids.

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