A Short Guide to Conservation Words
What does “population, subpopulation, and rare” really mean in conservation?
A Short Guide to Conservation Words is exactly that. A simple guide to conservation and ecology words often used. Some terms are easy to understand, while others are the complete opposite. This is a bi-weekly guide for helping you to better understand the meaning of conservation words.
Population and Subpopulation
Population in conservation is a most refers to the total number of individuals of a certain species. Some times because of large geographic ranges of a species, a species can be divided up into subpopulations. Dividing a population into subpopulation is generally done to make the management of the species easier.
For example the polar bear has 19 subpopulations. The polar bears are so wide spread across the Arctic that they are unlikely to meet up with bears of other populations frequently, if at all. But if they do meet up, they are still genetically close enough that they can successfully breed.
Rare species are not necessarily at-risk of extinction. Rare species are those that are infrequently seen. Often because of a massive territory size.
Many rare animals and plants are given an “endangered” (or other at-risk level) classification by governments and official agencies like the IUCN. This is because the population is small enough or isolated to a specific area that if a natural disaster happens they may not be able to recover.
The “rare” title is not used to describe the population stability of a specific plant or species. All rare says is that it is uncommonly found. Terms like vulnerable, endangered, or extinct are used to describe the stability of a species population.
Have a conservation word you’d like to be included into this series leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to do so.