Glossary of Key Terms

For those of you who are new to the fields of conservation and sustainable development, we’ve compiled a glossary to help define some of the key terms we use when we talk about the challenges EcoLogic was founded to address, some of the solutions we use to fight them, and when we describe our ongoing projects in the field. Have we missed anything? Don’t hesitate to let us know what we should add!


Endemic species | Holdridge life zones | The IUCN Red List | Neotropics | PES (Payment for Environmental Services) | Ramsar Convention | REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) | REDD+ | Submontane forest | Subtropical forest

Endemic species: A species from only one particular area or place. The emerald hummingbird, for example, is endemic to Honduras found nowhere else. Because of their limited native habitat, endemic species are often particularly vulnerable to habitat loss or disturbance.

Holdridge life zones: A system used to identify and categorize ecosystems according to temperature, precipitation, and potential water loss from the soil and plants (by evapotranspiration: which includes evaporation and transpiration). Devised by Leslie Holdridge, these designations describe the climate and life in an area of land. We use the Holdrige system to identify the types of ecosystems at the project sites where we work.

The IUCN Red List: An authoritative inventory of the world’s species based on their conservation status (likelihood of going extinct). Created and maintained by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Neotropics: The region of the world comprising Central and South America, parts of Mexico (especially southern Mexico), the Caribbean, and southern Florida, as defined by the animal life there.

PES (Payment for Environmental Services): A method of providing a group with some control over a natural resource (such as a forest or freshwater body) with defined incentives to care for that resource so it survives in the long term. (Read about EcoLogic’s PES activities.)

Ramsar Convention: Refers to the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, an international treaty signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971 to guide the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. The maintenance of a list of wetlands around the world that are particularly important to conserve is a key tenet of the treaty.

REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation): A framework developed by the United Nations for using economic incentives and markets to protect standing forests and reduce the ongoing release of greenhouse gases caused by forest destruction and degradation.

REDD+: A modified version of the REDD framework that goes beyond the original by emphasizing conservation and sustainable forest management. (Read about EcoLogic’s REDD+ activities.)

Submontane forest: Forest on foothills or the lower parts of mountains but lacks the altitude, temperature ranges, or vegetation patterns that characterize montane forest.

Subtropical forest: Forest located in a region just north or south of the tropics out to about 35 degrees of latitude, or in an area with a climate more typical of these regions than of the tropics.