Talk About Trees Home> Lessons and Activities> Forest Terms > Lesson #7 Vocabulary
"Educating children about the responsible management and use of California's most renewable resource"

Lesson 7: Forest Families

Artifact: an object with historic value that has survived from the past.

Bark: the protective outside covering of a woody stem or root.

Biodegradable: being able to be broken down or decomposed by natural means.

Biodegradable: being able to be broken down or decomposed by natural means.

By-Product: something that is made in the process of making something else.

Cambium: clusters of tree cells that produce new layers of bark and wood each year forming the tree rings that we can count to tell the age of a tree.

Cambium: thin layer of living cells that produce a new layer of wood each year, forming tree rings, which we can count to tell the age of a tree. Th e cambium lies between the xylem and phloem layers.

Carbon Dioxide: a colorless, odorless gas that is formed during respiration, combustion, and organic decomposition.

Carnivore: animal that eats other animals (i.e. hawk, bobcat, shark).

Cells: the basic building blocks of living things.

Cellular Respiration: the chemical breakdown of glucose to produce energy. This process is the opposite of photosynthesis.

Cellulose: the material that makes up plant cell walls.

Chlorophyll: the green substance found in leaves and needles that captures the sun's energy.

Compost: a collection of organic scraps and garbage that decomposes and becomes good fertilizer.

Conifer: a cone-bearing evergreen tree.

Consumer: organisms that cannot make their own food, and must consume other organisms to get energy.

Decompose: to decay or come apart.

Decomposer: organism that absorbs nutrients from non-living material such as dead plants and animals and wastes of living organisms then recycles these nutrients so they can be used again by plants (i.e. bacteria, fungi).

Ecology: the study of how plants and animals interact with each other and their environment.

Erosion: the wearing away of the soil, usually by wind or water.

Fiber: thin threads that bind together to form animal and plant matter.

Food Chain: pathway along which food is transferred from one feeding level of organisms to another.

Food Web: the interconnected food chains of an ecosystem.

Habitat: the place that is home to a plant or animal.

Heartwood: the hard, inactive wood at the center of the tree.

Herbivore: animal that eats plants (i.e. deer, rabbit).

Hydroelectric Plant: a place where electricity is produced by the energy of rapidly moving water.

Landfills: places in our communities where garbage is unloaded and then covered over with dirt and packed down.

Lignin: the sticky substance that binds plant cells together.

Natural Regeneration: the process by which seeds sprout to produce seedlings in the wild, without the use of a nursery to cultivate them.

Natural Resource: material we use from our environment for housing, clothing, food energy, etc. Natural resources can be classified as renewable or non-renewable.

Natural Resources: things we use that come from the earth

Non-Renewable Resource: exists in a limited amount that takes thousands of years to replenish. Examples are fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas.

Omnivore: animal that eats both plants and other animals (i.e. bear).

Organic: material made of carbon; made of living matter.

Oxygen: an element found freely in nature that is needed for humans and animals to be able to breathe and is necessary for nearly all combustion to occur.

Phloem: layer of inner bark cells that transport food made by photosynthesis in the leaves to the rest of the plant.

Photosynthesis: the process of channeling energy from the sun by means of chlorophyll and converting the carbon dioxide in the air to produce nutrients for the tree and oxygen that is released into the atmosphere.

Prescribed Burn: to deliberately burn forest fuels under specific environmental conditions that allow the intensity and rate of fire spread to be controlled to achieve specific management objectives.

Producer: organisms that use energy from sunlight to make their own food through photosynthesis (i.e. trees).

Pulp: the mash

Recyclable: being able to be utilized again, often by being restructured into something else.

Renewable Resource: has the capability of replenishing itself in a human lifetime. For example, if a tree is harvested, it will regenerate from a seed that was dropped from a cone or planted by a human.

Renewable: having the capability of replenishing itself.

Riparian Zone: the area along a river or a stream.

Roots: the network below ground that anchors the tree in the soil. Root hairs push their way through the soil and absorb moisture and minerals from the soil.

Sapwood: newly formed wood cells that lie just inside the cambium. It acts as a major conductor of water and minerals for the tree; also known as xylem.

Spawning: the producing or depositing of eggs by fish.

Web of Life: the network of relationships that interconnects all members of an ecological community.

Wildfire: a fire that is burning out of control and unpredictably.