Who is Involved in the Environmental Movement?
  • Influential Individuals: Often through media publications, commonly raise issues and start the debate.
  • Independent Pressure Groups: Often through awareness and campaigns that help influence the public which in turn influences the government and big corporate business organisations.
  • Corporate Business: Supply consumer demand using resources which impacts the environment.
  • Governments: Main leaders of a country, make policy decisions including environmental ones to help the country. The meet with other governments and consider international agreements that may impact the environment. Different government groups are at different stages of environmental awareness, all governments are aware of the issues facing the Earth and that all must be involved in finding solutions to this growing problem.
  • Intergovernmental Bodies: An example of an intergovernmental body is the UN, who, in recent years, have become highly influential and well known by holding Earth Summits to bring together different governments.

The Growth of the Modern Environmental Movement In Outline
  • Neolithic Agricultural Evolutionary: The first agricultural revolution, started around 10,000 years ago. the transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture and settlement.
  • Industrial Revolution: The transformation from an agricultural to an industrial nation, in the 1800's produced goods and services for all but this demanded the burning of large amounts of fuel such as trees, coal, and products produced naturally by the Earth. The environmental impact was terrible as land was cleared, natural waterways polluted, cities became polluted with smoke and also crowded.
  • Conservationists: They are environmentalists who continue to work on protecting the natural environment and save it from destruction and pollution.
  • The Green Revolution: Made agriculture better and boosted the food production hugely. This required a lot of machinery which in order to function must burn natural fossil fuels which pollute the environment. The world population grew to 3 billion in this time due to the huge amount of food brought in, however waste production also increased.
  • Environmentalists: One who works in protecting out Earth and environment to create a "better world". They help reduce the pollution production and the misuse from humans on the natural resources of the Earth.

Landmarks in the Growth of the Modern Environmental Movement
  • Preservationist: Generally refers to someone who advocates the preservation of an endangered species or natural ares or even a historical landmark.
  • Stewardship: Believers in that humans should take care of the world and are responsible for it. It is our responsibility as humans to take care of the Earth's resources and not misuse them. It can also have political implications.


  • Population: A group of organisms of the same species living in the same area at the same time.
  • Community: A group of the populations living and interacting with each other in an area.
  • Ecosystem: A community and its abiotic (non living) environment.
  • Species: A group of organisms that can interbreed to produce fertile offspring.
  • Habitat: The environment in which a species normally lives.
  • Niche: Where, when and how an organism lives. Every species of animal have their own niches. No two species can have the same niche because it completely defines the species.

  • Succession: The 'journey' the land needs to go through, with the arrival of different organisms in turn.
  • Pioneer Species: The first species to arrive on the land, usually lichens, bacteria and algae. They colonize a bare or distributed site. As these organisms die, soil is created.
  • Pioneer Plants Arrive: Small plants can now grow from the soil, this changes the physical environment e.g. light and moisture.
  • New Species of Plants Arrive: They need soil to survive, they displace existing pioneer plants because their seedlings are better able to become established in the changed environment. The growth of roots enables soil to be retained and not washed away.
  • Newly arriving species: They altar the physical conditions once again e.g. increased shade and more minerals and nutrients in the soil when the plants die and decay, this is when nitrogen-fixing plants arrive.
  • Animals Arrive: They come in with or after the plants they need for food and altar the carbon output.
  • New Animals Arrive: Usually bigger, this starts the food chain.
  • Climax community: More or less the land is stable and there is a well-balanced ecosystem. Disturbances start the process of succession again.
  • Sere: The set of communities that succeed one another over the course of succession at a given location.

Feeding Methods
  • Autotrophy: Organisms which produce their own food from organic molecules. (Self feeding).
  • Heterotrophy: Organisms which derive energy from other living organisms. (Outer Source Feeding).
  • Photoautotrophy: Green plants, plankton and algae. (Uses Photosynthesis to gain energy).
  • Chemoautotrophy: Deep sea chemosynthetic bacteria. (Uses chemosynthesis to gain energy).
  • Consumers: Ingest organic matter which is living or recently killed.
  • Decomposers: Get energy from non-living organic matter.
  • Primary: They eat producers, herbivores.
  • Secondary: They eat other consumers, carnivores or omnivores.
  • Detritivores: Ingest non-living organic matter, such as earthworms and woodlouse.
  • Saprotrophs: Lives in or on non-living organic matter, secreting digestive enzymes into it and absorbing digestive products, such as bacteria and fungi.

Food Webs
  • Food Webs: Show all the feeding relationships within a habitat.
  • Three/Four/Five/Etc-Step Food Chain: When the food chain link ends at 3/4/5/etc. living organisms.
  • Trophic Level: A level between the food chain process. One organism can fit into more than one trophic level.
  • Pyramids of Energy: Show the flow between trophic levels.

Ecological Pyramids
  • Pyramid of Numbers: Shows the number of organisms at each trophic level in a food chain. Not always pyramid shaped, it changes on the amount of individuals in each trophic level.
  • Pyramid of Biomass: Mass of each individual x number of individuals at different trophic levels. It is the quantity of dry organic material in an organism or population or a certain trophic level or even a whole ecosystem. Usually pyramid shape but not necessarily. Measured in grams of biomass per square meter or can also be measured in joules per meter squared.
  • Pyramid of Productivity: Contains the flow of energy through each trophic level. Shows the energy being generated and available to the next trophic level during a fixed period of time. Always pyramid shape in healthy ecosystems, never an inverted pyramid. Energy is measured in joules per square meter per unit area in this pyramid type. More comparable than pyramid of biomass.

Bioaccumulation and Biomagnification
  • DDT: A type of chemical pesticide, not biodegradable
  • Bioaccumulation: As a chemical is suddenly placed in an environment and broken down, plants take in the chemicals and animals breath it in or ingest it. This may lead to disease of death if they do not excrete it, as it builds up in their bodies over time.
  • Biomagnification: When a herbivore eats a plant that has chemical in it's tissue, it's chemical intake would be higher than a single plant took it because a herbivore eats many plants over time. It goes the same for carnivores that eat the herbivores because they eat many herbivores over time that have eaten the plants full of chemicals.
  • Trophic efficiency: Only 10% of energy from one trophic level is passed on to the next. The rest of the energy is lost through heat and respiration.

Population Interactions
  • Competition: Resources are limiting and populations are bound to compete in order to survive. Species with similar niches have to compete for food and shelter, better competitors suffer less.
  • Predation: Occurs when an animal or plant hunts and easts another animal. Predator-Prey interaction. Negative feedback mechanisms control population densities.
  • Parasitism: One organism (a parasite) benefits at the expense of another species, from which it feeds on. Plants can get food from the host using their roots as a link.
  • Ectoparasites: Live externally on the host, they live on the surface. Such as, ticks and flees.
  • Endoparasites: Live internally of the host, live inside the body. Such as, tapeworms.
  • Mutualism: When two organisms live together, it is a symbiotic relationship between both species which means both benefit without harming the other. Such as, coral reefs and clown fish.
  • Commensalism: The relation between two different kinds of organisms when one receives benefits from the other without damaging it.

  • Polar: Extremely cold plane of land that reaches out, ground is usually thick ice.
  • Tundra: An extremely cold environment and climate. Energy and nutrients are in the form of dead organic material. Low biotic diversity and simple vegetation structure.
  • Savannah: A flat grassland in a tropical or subtropical regions. Usually home to large predators.
  • Cold Desert: Very cold winters and snowfall and throughout the year there is high overall rainfall, happens very often in winter an occasionally in summer.
  • Warm Desert: Very hot and dry biome, seasons are generally warm and throughout the year and very hot during the summers. During winter there is a little rainfall.
  • Prairie: A treeless grassy plain, like a grassland.
  • Boreal Forest: Another word for this biome is Taiga. Takes up a large amount of land. Seasons are divided into short, moist, and moderately warm summers and long, cold winters.
  • Temperate Deciduous Forest: Found in North America, Northeastern Asia and western and central Europe. Has different seasons including winter, temperatures can reach down to -30 degrees Celsius up to 30 degrees Celsius. Soil is very fertile and is home to many large species of trees.
  • Tropical Rain forest: Usually found near the equator, winter is completely absent and only two seasons are present, rainy and dry. Temperatures are high and soil is nutrient-poor and acidic. Home to large trees and many species of animals.
  • Marine: Oceans cover the largest land of all the ecosystems. Underwater temperatures are cool and is home to many species of fish, coral and mammals. Different species are found in different bodies of water, for example animals you would find in rivers might not be animals you find in the ocean.

Photosynthesis and Aerobic Respiration
  • Photosynthesis: The process that a plant needs to use to create glucose and carbohydrates for oxygen. This process happens in the morning.
  • Photosynthesis Formula: 6CO2 + H2O + Sunlight --> C6H12O6 + 6O2 Which is: Carbon Dioxide + Water + Sunlight --> Glucose/Carbohydrates + Oxygen.
  • Aerobic Respiration: The process that a living thing uses to create energy for other body processes. In plants, this process happens during the night.
  • Respiration Formula: C6H12O6 + 6O2 --> 6CO2 + H2O + Energy (ATP) Which is: Glucose/Carbohydrates + Oxygen --> Carbon Dioxide + Water + Energy.
  • Aerobic: A process that uses oxygen as one of its reactant.
  • Anaerobic: A process that does not have to consist of oxygen. The opposite to Aerobic.
  • ATP: The type of energy that is created from plants aerobic respiration.
  • Inputs: What you put into the formula. (The reactants)
  • Outputs: What comes from the formula. (The products)

Plant Productivity
  • GP: The total gain in energy or biomass per unit area per unit time, which could be through photosynthesis in primary producers or absorption in consumers.
  • GPP: Gross primary production; the amount of energy fixed from the atmosphere through photosynthesis The higher the number the higher the production and therefore more energy is produced. The total gain in energy or biomass per unit area per unit time fixed by photosynthesis in green plants.
  • GSP: Productivity Gross, Secondary; The gain by consumers in energy or biomass per unit area per unit time through absorption.
  • NP: The gain in energy or biomass per unit area per unit time remaining after allowing for respiratory losses. Other metabolic losses may take place, but these may be ignored when calculating and defining net productivity for the purpose of this course.
  • NPP: Net primary production/productivity; how much energy a plant can make or made, the higher the number the more productivity is occurring. The gain by producers in energy or biomass per unit area per unit time remaining after allowing respiratory loses.
  • NSP: Productivity Net, Secondary; The gain by consumers in energy or biomass per unit unit time remaining after allowing for respiratory losses.
  • Formulas Used to Calculate NPP and GPP: NPP = GPP - R and NSP = GSP - R
  • Formulas Used to Calculate Light and Dark bottles: Light - Initial = NPP and Initial - Dark = Respiration and Light - Dark = GPP.
  • Biomass: The mass of organic material or ecosystems, usually per unit area. Sometimes the term "dry weight biomass" is used where mass is measured after the removal of water. Water is not organic material and inorganic material is usually relatively insignificant in terms of mass.
  • Assimilation: This term is sometimes used instead of secondary productivity.


  • Biodiversity: Conflation of 'biological diversity'. Widely used to represent the variety of life on Earth. 'Bio' makes it clear we are interested in the biological parts of an ecosystem, 'diversity' is a measure of both the number of species in an area and their relative abundance. The term can be used to evaluate both the complexity of an area and its health. Biodiversity can be measured in three different way.
  • Species Diversity: Refers to the variety of species per unit area. Includes both number of species present and their relative abundance, the higher the species diversity, the greater the complexity.
  • Habitat Diversity: Range of different habitats in an ecosystem, often associated with a variety of ecological niches. E.g. A woodland may contain many different habitats and have a higher habitat diversity than compared to a desert, with little habitats.
  • Genetic Diversity: Range of genetic material present in a gene pool or population of a species. Gene pool refers to all the different types of gene found within every individual of a species. A larger gene pool leads to a high genetic diversity and a small gene pool to low genetic diversity. Normally refers to the diversity within one species but can also refer to the diversity of genes in all species within an area.
  • Gene flow: The exchange of genetic material through interbreeding.

Natural Selection (Evolution) and Speciation
  • Speciation:The process by new species form.
  • Evolution: The development of new species over long period of geological time.
  • Darwin's Theory of Evolution: That all species tend to over-reproduce which leads to competition for limited resources but species show variations or 'mutant genes' all individuals have subtle differences in appearance and behavior. From this, Darwin concluded that those best adapted to their surroundings survive and they can then go on to reproduce.
  • Selective Breeding/Artificial selection: Common practice in which humans choose animals to breed together based on desirable characteristics, selective breeding has lead to all the varieties of domestic and agricultural animals we see today, Darwin called this natural selection.

Role of Isolation in Forming New Species
  • Geographical Isolation: Essential in the formation of new species. Interbreeding would cause the genes from two populations to continue to mix and characteristics of the ancestral species to remain, without it.
  • Gene flow occurs: When two populations of one species can interbreed and mix genes.
  • Gene flow interrupted: When the populations are separated by a geographical barrier cannot interbreed; each develops its own variations. Eventually two separate species develop in response to different selection pressures. Even without a geographical barrier, two species remain genetically distinct.
  • Reproductive Isolation: Can lead to speciation, Evolution changed the appearance of a species, both female and male. Therefore they may not be attracted to each other anymore and refuse to reproduce together. The exchange of genes through reproduction may slow, eventually stop, and different species may arise.

Plate Tectonics
  • The Crust: Outside layer of the Earth, also called the lithosphere. Divided into eight major and minor plates. They can move relative to each other, earthquakes, volcanoes, and mountain-building occur at these meeting points between plates.
  • The Mantle: Plates are carried on this, also called the asthenosphere. It can flow like a liquid on geological time scales.
  • The Outer Core: Surrounds the core and is made from molten rock, i.e. magma.
  • The Core: In the center of the Earth, is the core, it is solid metal.
  • Pangaea: The super continent, all land mass existed as one about 250 million years ago. 175 million years ago the land mass split into two separate continents, Laurasia and Gondwana. The distribution of all extinct and extant species found in these geographical areas today can be explained in terms of these ancient land masses.
  • Subduction: The heavier oceanic crust beneath the lighter continental crust. Magma can rise up from under the subduction area causing volcanic action and thickening of the crust. The subduction zone is the area which is pushed under the other plate.
  • Transform Boundaries: When plates slide/grind against each other. An example of this is the famous "San Andreas Fault" line which runs through California.
  • Divergent Boundaries: When two plates slide apart from each other, they may cause rift valleys which then create little small lakes between the valleys. An example of this is "The Red Sea" which separates Africa and Saudi Arabia. The creation of new aquatic habitats drives speciation in these rift areas. Magma rising may stick to the separating plates creating new land which then again creates new opportunities for species evolution.
  • Convergent Boundaries: When two plates collide together, leading to an increase in continental plate thickness and eventually new mountain ranges. An example of this are the "Himalayas" between the Indian plate and the Asian plate.
  • Triple Junction: Where the boundaries of three plates meet, creating big disturbances on the Earth's crust.
  • Ring of Fire: Where the arc of volcanoes, which correlates fire, along the Pacific plate.

Specific Types of Dispersal
  • Jump Dispersal: Long-distance dispersal to remote areas by one or a few individuals. Used to explain the aerial spread of plants, insects and microbial organisms over huge distances.
  • Diffusion: Slower than jump dispersal and involves mainly populations rather than individuals. Diffusion often follows jump dispersal events.
  • Secular Migration: Dispersal over thousands to millions of years. Takes place so slowly the diffusing species undergoes evolutionary change during the process.

  • Green Politics: A political ideology which places an importance on ecological and environmental goals. Advocated by supporters of the Green movement. One of the principal aims is to obtain sustainable development by reducing deforestation and encouraging reforestation. Anti-capitalism is a prominent feature of Green politics: it focuses on the way in which people are destroying nature for personal gain.
  • IUCN: International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
  • The Red List: An inventory of all threatened species, giving awareness to conserve.
  • NGOs: Non-governmental organizations, they are not run, funded or influenced by governments of any country, but are still a conservation organization.
  • GOs: Intergovernmental organizations, are bodies established through international agreements to protect the environment and bring together governments to work together on an international scale.
  • Reserves: A place where animals can live without human disturbances, human activity such as hunting is highly prohibited and can lead to serious consequences.
  • Edge Effects: AT the edge of a protected are, there is a change in abiotic factors which will attract species that are not found deeper in the reserve and may also attract exotic species from outside the reserve.
  • Buffer Zones: Areas around conservation areas are called buffer zones, They contain habitats that may be either managed or undisturbed. These areas minimize disturbance from outside influences such as people, agriculture or invasion by diseases or pest.

Factors that make species prone to extinction
  • Small population size and limited distribution: Especially for island species because any change in habitat or a small dip in their population can eliminate them forever. Widespread and common species are less likely to go into extinction but still may. Species with small populations also tend to have low genetic diversity and haven't evolutionary mutations that help them against extinction.
  • Habitat Specialists: If their specific resource or habitat is put under threat, so are they. E.g. some animals can only live in one type of habitat and if that is gone they can't live any longer.
  • Low Reproductive Capacity: Species that live for a long time tend to have a low reproductive rate, which makes them vulnerable to extinction. If a change in habitat or the introduction of a predator occurs, the population drops and there are too few reproductive adults to support and maintain the population so they become extinct.
  • Poor Competitors: Some animals are helpless under pressures of hunting and predation. Lack of mobility and poor defensive instincts make them sitting targets and so are prone to extinction.
  • Large Mammals:They are a ready and significant source of meat and so are prone to hunting and predation.
  • Valuable Products: Wild animals and plants which have a value as food, pets, ceremonial objects or marketable products are at risk from humans.
  • Altruistic Species: When confronted with guns, animals which come to the aid of hunted mates are easily killed.
  • Clumping: Species that require large numbers of their own kind for protection or to locate food are vulnerable. When numbers in the group reduce, they split up and the separated populations decline even further and eventually die out.
  • Position in Food Chain: Top predators are sensitive to any disturbance in the food chain and any reduction in numbers of species at lower trophic levels can have disastrous consequences. Due to the 10% energy exchange, large animals tend to be rare and are therefore sensitive to hunters and reductions in population size.


Human Population
  • Doubling Time Calculation: Doubling Time = 72/Growth Rate
  • Life expectancy: How long an average person can live up to.
  • Crude Birth Rate (CBR): The number of live births per thousand people in a population. CBR = (total number of births/total population)x1000.
  • Total Fertility Rate (TFR): Is the average number of births per women of child-bearing age.
  • General Fertility Rate: (GFR): The number of births per thousand women aged 15-49 years.
  • The Age-Specific Birth Rate (ASBR): The number of births per women of any specified year groups.
  • Standardized Birth Rate: Gives a birth rate for a region on the basis that its age composition is the same as the whole country.
  • NICs: Newly Industrialized Countries.
  • Political Factors and Family Planning: Most governments in LEDCs have introduced some programs aimed at reducing birth rates. Effectiveness dependent on: A focus on general family planning not specifically birth control, investing sufficient finance in the schemes, working in consultation with the local population.
  • SMR: Standardized Mortality Rate.
  • ASMR: Age-Specific Mortality Rates.
  • IMR: Infant Mortality Rate.
  • Age Structure: Some populations have very high life expectancies and this results in a rise in CDR.
  • Social Structure: Poorer people within any population have higher mortality rates than the more affluent.
  • Occupation: Certain occupants are hazardous.
  • Place of Residence: In urban areas, mortality rates are higher in areas of relative poverty and deprivation, such as inner cities and shanty towns.
  • Child Mortality and IMR: While the CBR shows small fluctuations over time, the IMR show greater fluctuations and is one of the most sensitive indicators of the level of development.'

Population Graphs
  • Population Pyramids: Tell us a great deal of information about the age and sex structure of a population.
    • Wide Base: Indicates a high birth rate.
    • Narrowing Base: Suggests falling birth rate.
    • Straight or Near Vertical Sides: Reveal a low death rate.
    • Concave Slopes: Characterize high death rates.
    • Bulges in the Slope: Suggest high rates of immigration or in-migration.
    • Deficits in the Slope: Indicate emigration or out-migration or age-specific or sex-specific deaths.
  • DTM: Demographic Transition Model.
  • Natural Capital: Ecologically minded economists describe resources as this. Equivalent to the store of the planet to present accumulated quantity of natural capital.
  • Renewable and Replenishable Resources: Resources that can be reused of have an unlimited amount.
  • Natural Income: Indefinitely in the form of valuable good and services.

There Are Three Categories of Natural Capital
  • Renewable Resources: Living species and ecosystems which can be replaced by natural production as fast as they are use. They have sustainable yield or harvest equal to or less than natural productivity so the natural capital is not diminished.
  • Replenishable Resources: Non-living resources which are continuously restored by natural processes as fast as they are used up. The provide sustainable natural income as the natural capital is not diminished and they depend on abiotic processes for their replenishment.
  • Non-Renewable Resources: Natural resources which cannot be replenished within a timescale of the same order as that at which they are taken from the environment. Any use of these resources results depletion of the stock. i.e. fossil fuels and minerals.

Intrinsic Value of the Environment
  • Economic Value: Can be determined from the market price of the goods and services a resources produces.
  • Ecological Values: Have no formal market price.
  • Aesthetic Values: Have no market price, the appreciation of a landscape for its visual attraction.
  • Intrinsic Value: Valued regardless of their potential use to humans.
  • Optional Values: Derived from potential future us of ecosystem goods and services not currently used.
  • Non-Use Values: Include aesthetic and intrinsic values, and are sometimes called existence values.
  • Direct Use: Ecosystem goods and service that are directly used by humans, most often by people visiting or residing in the ecosystem.
  • Indirect Use: Derived from ecosystem services that provide benefits outside the ecosystem itself.
  • Consumptive Use: Harvesting food products, timber for fuel or housing, medicinal products and hunting animals for food and clothing.
  • Non-Consumptive Use: Recreational and cultural activities that do not require harvesting of products.