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Ecologically significant habitatHabitat of importance for the wider ecological processes, functions and species it supports (Anon, 2001).
Ecologically significant speciesA species that has a controlling influence on a community (Anon, 2001).
EcologyThe study of the inter-relationships between animals, plants and the non-living components of their environment, in their natural surroundings (Anon, 2001).
EcosystemA community of organisms and their physical environment interacting as an ecological unit (from Lincoln et al.1998). Usage can include reference to large units such as the North Sea down to much smaller units such as kelp holdfasts as "an ecosystem".
Ecosystem approachThe pursuit of a simultaneous understanding of the dynamics of all the populations in an ecosystem and their interactions with each other and their environment (Anon, 2001).
Ecosystem goods and servicesIndirect or direct benefits to human society that derive from the marine ecosystem. Examples would include food provision, nutrient cycling, gas and climate regulation (Defra, 2007).
Ecosystem managementA framework for maintaining the equilibrium between all the component parts of an ecosystem rather than focusing on individual parts of the ecosystem (Anon, 2001).
EndangeredIUCN Red List categories - a taxon is considered Endangered when it is not Critically endangered (q.v.) but is facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild in the near future (International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources 1994) (cf. 'Extinct', 'Critically endangered', 'Vulnerable').
EndemicReferring to organisms that are confined to a particular area or geographical location (Prescott, 1969).
EnvironmentThe complex of biotic climatic, edaphic and other conditions which comprise the immediate habitat of an organism; the physical, chemical and biological surroundings of an organism at any given time. (cf. 'habitat') (from Lincoln et al., 1998).
Environmental Impact Assessment / Environmental AssessmentA process of predicting and evaluating an action's impacts on the environment, from which the conclusions are used as a tool in decision-making. It aims to minimize environmental degradation by giving decision-makers better information about the consequences which development actions could have on the environment, although it cannot, in itself, achieve that protection (based on Pritchard, 1993). An Environmental Assessment can be used to produce an Environmental Statement (ES). Cf. 'Environmental Statement' 'Strategic Environmental Assessment'.
Environmental sustainabilityThe control of current and future activities to prevent irreversible or other significant, long-term change to the environment or its dependent living resources (Anon, 2001).
EpibenthosAll organisms living on the surface of the seabed.
EstuaryA semi-enclosed coastal body of water which has a free connection with the open sea, and within which sea water is measurably diluted by fresh water derived from land drainage (Pritchard, 1967).
European Marine Site (EMS)A conservation area designated under the Habitats Directive (SAC) or the Birds Directive (SPA) (Anon, 2001).
Exclusive Economic ZoneIn international maritime law, an Exclusive Economic Zone is a sea zone extending from a state’s baselines over which the state has special rights over the exploration and use of marine resources. Generally, a state’s Exclusive Economic Zone extends 200 nautical miles (370.4 kilometres) out from the baselines, except where resulting points would be closer to another country (Defra, 2007).
ExtentIn conservation assessment - in identifying sites for protection, preference will be given to sites with larger examples of highly rated or rarer biotopes. It is also necessary to consider the size of site required to ensure that the unit to be managed is 'viable'.
ExtinctIUCN Red List categories - a taxon is 'extinct' when there is no reasonable doubt that the last individual has died (International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources 1994). The term can be applied on a local or national basis as well as world-wide and is also used to refer to situations where it no longer exists from a particular point of view (for instance: 'functionally extinct'; 'commercially extinct'). Cf. 'Critically endangered', 'Endangered', 'Vulnerable'.


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