Organisms that thrive on dead organism as its source of nutrition.


Soils or other surface materials transported by surface water as a product of erosion.

Seed bank

A facility designed for the ex situ conservation of individual plant varieties through seed preservation and storage.


Natural selection is the differential contribution of offspring to the next generation by various genetic types belonging to the same populations. Artificial selection is the intentional manipulation by man of the fitness of individuals in a population to produce a desired evolutionary response.


Liquid wastes from communities, which may be a mixture of domestic effluent from homes and liquid waste from industry.

Shifting Cultivation

Shifting cultivation also known as “Jhuming” was practiced by nomadic people in the past and is still in vogue in some hilly regions of North East India. Shifting cultivation has caused substantial loss of biodiversity. People in the hilly terrains clear the forest by fire and sow the seed in the cleared land. As the crops mature, they harvest it and then move to a new location. After a long time they come back again to the first location for growing crop in a cyclic order and this is called a “Jhum cycle”. In past one Jhum cycle used to complete in 25 to 50 years. But now it is complete in just 5 to 8 years due to heavy population pressure and shrinkage in agricultural land. 


Animal feed resulting from the storage and fermentation of green or wet crops (grass, legumes, field corn, etc) under anaerobic condition.


Air pollution consisting of smoke and fog, which occurs in large urban and industrial areas and is mainly caused by the action of sunlight on burned fuels, mostly from car exhausts. Smog can cause eye irritations and breathing problems and damage plant life.


Solar panel

A panel fixed to the roof of a building that uses special cells to collect energy from the sun and convert it to electricity to heat the building and/or power the lights, appliances or equipment.


Specialist species

Species with a narrow ecological niche. They may be able to live in only one type of habitat, tolerate only a narrow range of climatic or other environmental conditions, or they may use only one or a few types of food.


Formation of two species from one species as a result of divergent natural selection in response to changes in environmental conditions; usually takes thousands or tens of thousands of years.


A group of organisms capable of interbreeding freely with each other but not with members of other species.

Species diversity

The number and variety of species found in a given area in a region.

Species richness

The number of species within a specified region or locality.

Sprinkler irrigation

System of irrigation, wherein the water is pumped into metal pipes and is forced to come out of rotating nozzles so that the water reaches the soil almost similar to rain for a specified distance around nozzle


A recognizable area of plants that is relatively homogeneous and can be managed as a single unit


A distinct form or race of a species.


The more or less predictable changes in the composition of communities following a natural or human disturbance.


Ability of a system to survive for some specified (finite) time.

Sustainable agriculture

Method of growing crops and raising livestock based on organic fertilizers, soil conservation, water conservation, biological control of pests, and minimal use of non-renewable fossil-fuel energy.

Sustainable Agriculture

Agriculture practices that ensure long term productivity with minimum harmful effects, enhance environmental quality, make the most efficient use of resources, sustain the economic viability of farm operations and enhance the quality of life

Sustainable development

Development that meets the needs and aspirations of the current generation without compromising the ability to meet those of future generations.

Sustainable development

Development using land or energy sources in a way that meets the needs of people today without reducing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.


Sustainable living

Taking no more potentially renewable resources from the natural world than can be replenished naturally and not overloading the capacity of the environment to cleanse and renew itself by natural processes.

Sustainable system

A system that survives and functions over some specified (finite) time; a system that attains its full expected lifetime.

Sustainable use

The use of components of biological diversity in a way and at a rate that does not lead to the long-term decline of biological diversity, thereby maintaining its potential to meet the needs and aspirations of present and future generations.

Sustainable yield (sustained yield)

Highest rate at which a potentially renewable resource can be used without reducing its available supply throughout the world or in a particular area.

Sychrophilic bacteria

This group of bacteria species work to break down organic matter under "cold" conditions of 0 degrees up to over 55 degrees. They generate low levels of heat.


Refers to a component or member of a system of symbiosis. "These organisms have a symbiotic relationship."