Ecosystem Charter for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Basin
Glossary of Terms
Organisms inhabiting the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Basin Ecosystem that are not known to threaten ecosystem integrity or otherwise have any harmful impacts on the Ecosystem or the beneficial uses of ecosystem resources.
Those activities that are dependent on the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the waters of the Great Lakes system; the impairment of which is identified under Annex 2 of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.
Any substance that has the ability to bioaccumulate, where bioaccumulate means the retention of a chemical in the tissues of an organism as a result of uptake from all routes of exposure (i.e., absorption, consumption).
The full range of variety and variability within and among living organisms and the natural associations in which they occur.
The flow of energy and nutrients (including water) through an ecosystem.
An interacting system consisting of groups of organisms and their non-living or physical environment, which are highly interrelated.
An approach to perceiving, managing and otherwise living in an ecosystem that recognizes the need to preserve the ecosystem's biochemical pathways upon which the welfare of all life depends in the context of multifaceted relationships (biological, social, economic, etc.) that distinguish that particular ecosystem.
Stewardship of our living natural resources to maintain the functional integrity of large, complex environmental units called ecosystems. Ecosystem-based management is an active process that emphasizes the maintenance of biological diversity, of natural relationships among species, and dynamic processes that make ecosystems sustainable.
The ability of an ecosystem to maintain its organization (i.e., structures, processes, diversity) when confronted with environmental disturbance and change.
Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Basin:
The watershed, including all land and freshwater (both surface and ground water) within the confines of the drainage area defined by topographic high points surrounding the five Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River to Beaupre, Quebec.
Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Basin Ecosystem:
The interacting system consisting of groups of organisms and their non-living or physical environment, which are highly interrelated, as it pertains to the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Basin.
A group of interrelated surface and ground water bodies or forces within the same drainage basin.
Integrated, multi-resource approach:
Collaborative management (e.g., rehabilitation, protection) by individuals with expertise in all relevant fields of ecosystem resources with full recognition of the interdependence of such resources.
A species adapted to an environment outside its normal historic range.
A species that enters an ecosystem beyond its historic range. These species also are known as "exotic."
Nonindigenous nuisance species:
A nonindigenous species that threatens the diversity or abundance of native species or otherwise threatens ecosystem integrity or commercial, agricultural and/or recreational activities dependent on it.
Persistent toxic substance:
Any substance that can cause death, disease, behavioral abnormalities, cancer, genetic mutations, physiological or reproductive malfunctions or physical deformities in any organism or its offspring, or which can become poisonous after concentration in the food chain or in combination with other substances; that has a half-life in water greater than eight weeks; where half-life means the time required for the concentration of a substance to diminish to one-half of its original value in a lake or other water body.
The careful and responsible management of ecosystem resources entrusted to humans in the interest of achieving and protecting ecosystem integrity for its intrinsic value and/or for the benefit of current and future generations.
A community where the natural environment and its human inhabitants interrelate in a manner that maintains ecosystem integrity and provides a high quality of life for humans.
Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs and respects the limits imposed by the capacity of an ecosystem to absorb the impact of human activities.
Sustainable use (of resources):
Consumption or employment of a resource which, all other factors being equal, does not cause depletion that harms the resource or constitutes a threat to ecosystem integrity.