anthracnose [n] Anthracnose is a term that describes symptoms (usually dark, sunken spots on the leaves) present in several plant diseases. The diseases are caused by infection by one of several fungi that affect a variety of plants, including beans, grapes, sycamore, and other trees. Anthracnose occurs in both deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs. In deciduous plants, it is worst in areas where long spring rains occur after new growth.
archaeology [n]
archaeological [adj]
the study of peoples of the past, their lives, cultures, communities, and technologies (usually by excavation and examination of objects such as tools, houses, and food remains)
autecology [adj.] Autecology is the study of an individual organism and its relation to its environment and other individuals. It is the ecology of an individual-how the individual responses physically to the environment, its behavior, and relations to other individuals. 
barrens [n] The term 'barrens' describes a variety of open-canopied forests with understories of grasses and prairie plants. They are a unique combination of forest (oak) opening and prairie surrounded by dry or mesic upland forests with greater canopy cover. Both barrens and savannas have widely spaced trees and understories of grasses, but whereas savannas occur on a range of soils from nutrient poor to nutrient rich, barrens are restricted to poor, thin, excessively drained soils.
biological [adj.] pertaining to the study of living organisms
blowout [n] A blowout is an wind-eroded section of a sand dune. The erosion usually is caused by a disturbance or removal of the vegetation, such as grazing or destructive recreational activities.
boreal forest [n] The boreal forest is a cold-temperate forest dominated mostly by conifers (spruce, fir, etc.). It may also contain some broad-leaved deciduous trees such as birch. The boreal forest is circumpolar-it stretches around the globe. It is located between the northern tundra and the southern temperate mixed forests or steppe. In Europe and Asia, the boreal forest is also referred to as the Taiga. Winters are long and cold in the boreal forest, lasting from 6 to 9 months.
botany [n]  the study of plants
buttressed [adj.] Supported or strengthened
In botany, the term is used to describe the flared bases of the trunks of trees such as bald cypress or tupelo gum.
cambium [n] The cambium is an area of non-specialized cells that can develop into any type of tissue. It produces new tissue as parallel layers of cells that increase the diameter of the tree.

Vascular cambium [n] - The vascular cambium is a thin layer of undifferentiated cells. The outermost cells (phloem) conduct nutrients from the leaves throughout the rest of the tree.

Cork cambium [n] - the cambium cells that divide to form bark

canopy [n]  the upper forest layer of leaves consisting sometimes of tops (crowns) of individual trees whose branches cross each other
catkin [n]  Catkins are compact, drooping clusters of tiny flowers. They are usually either male or female. When there are only flowers of one sex, the males are usually a bit larger. Catkins are most obvious in willows and their relatives and are recognized as drooping and caterpillar-shaped.
codominant [n]  sharing dominance; of equal importance
For example, an oak-hickory forest might be dominated by both oak and hickory.
community [n] Plant 'communities' are collections of different plant species that occur with one another under similar conditions (ecological, geological, hydrological, and geographical). Typically, communities are specific collections of organisms that interact with one another and the environment and are recognized in other locations in the world. 
conifer [n] a cone-bearing tree
crown [n]  The crown consists of the spreading upper branches and associated leaves of a tree.
cultural [adj.] The term cultural describes human activities that are learned behaviors, such as language, customs, and education.
deciduous [adj.] a tree that sheds its leaves seasonally
diatoms [n] Diatoms are tiny one-celled algae that live in marine or fresh water. They possess a bivalve shell (two overlapping shells) made largely of silica (the major component of sand). 
disturbance [n] Disturbance is a general term for a disruption of the natural environment. Disturbances in ecosystems can be the result of from human activity or natural phenomena.
diversity [n] Diversity refers to the number of species types in a community. A richly diverse community would have many different types of organisms.
dominant vegetation [n] Dominant vegetation consists of the plants that have the most influence and (sometimes) are the most abundant and occupy the most space in a community. 
drought [n] a very long period of dryness in an otherwise favorable climate
ecology [n]
ecological [adj.]
Ecology is the study of the relationships among organisms and the relationships and interactions of organisms with their environment. Ecology comes from the Greek for "dwelling place" or house.
ecosystem [n] an interacting community of living organisms and their non-living environment 

An ecosystem has distinctive features related to the organisms present and their relationship to that environment.

ephemerals [n] Ephemerals are herbaceous plants that complete their life cycles very quickly when conditions are best for growth and reproduction. Examples of ephemerals are spring woodland flowers such as trout lily (Erythronium) that grow and flower in the spring before the trees leaf out and shade them. 
evergreen [adj.] a plant that retains green leaves all year
fire break [n] a barrier of cleared land, water (streams, lakes, ponds), or surface features (cliffs, dry ridges, etc.) that prevents the spread of fire
fire suppression [n] the active prevention of naturally occurring fires

European settlers sought to stop fires in savanna and prairie ecosystems in an effort to protect their crops and homes.

foliage [n] leaves
forage croplands [n] croplands devoted to the growth of crops for food for livestock
forbs [n] herbaceous (non-woody) plants that are non-grassy
Forbs occur in the ground layer in forests.
glacial drift [n] sediment that has been deposited by a glacier
glacial kettle [n] Kettles form in glacial drift when glacial ice (ice block) melts and leaves a usually steep-sided depression, which may or may not fill with water to form a small lake.
glacial outwash [n]  glacial drift deposited away from the glacial by meltwater streams coming from the glacier
glacial till [n] sand, pebbles, and boulders deposited by a glacier
herbarium [n] An herbarium is a climate-controlled place where plants are preserved (pressed on acid-free herbarium paper), stored, and cataloged (according to family, genus, species, etc.). Also included is information on their date and place of collection, and collector. Herbaria are extremely important for plant classification work. 
herbivores [n] animals that eat only plants
hierarchical system [n] a system in which items/organisms are ranked to form a characteristic 'family tree' 

Organisms are arranged into groups based on a system going from more inclusive to less inclusive characteristics. An example of a list arranged this way is: tree, oak, red oak.

hydrological [adj.] pertaining to the flow of water through land and air environments, which include surface waters (lakes and streams), oceans, and ice caps
impermeable [adj.] The layer is so compact and hard that it is almost impossible for rain water to go through it.
interstadial [n] the stage of a glacier in which there is a temporary retreat of the ice
instrumentation [n] types of tools used for observation, measurement, or control
isotopes [n] different varieties of the same element (carbon, for example) whose nuclei have the same number of protons and electrons, but different numbers of neutrons
leaf phenology [n] A term used to describe the influence of seasonal changes and climate on the appearance of leaves 
an example: deciduous leaves vs. evergreen leaves
loam [n] Loam is a type of soil that consists of clay, silt, sand, and organic matter. Water trickles down through this soil. It is a rich soil, typically good for plant growth.
matrix [n] the material in which something is embedded
mesophytic [adj.] A mesophytic plant is one that is adapted to environments that are neither dry nor wet. (meso- means in the middle)
metabolic pathways [n] a series of chemical changes in cells that create energy for activities such as processing nutrients and growth
moraines [n] sediments deposited when a glacier is melting as fast as it is advancing
neotropical [adj.] Neotropical describes an area including South and Central America, Southern Mexico, the West Indies, and the Galapagos Islands. These regions have a distinctive set of plants and animals. 
organic [n] containing carbon from living organisms
ostracodes [n] Ostracodes, also called 'seed shrimp,' are a group of marine or freshwater crustaceans. Their bodies are enclosed in bivalve, rounded or elliptical shells. The outer layer is composed mostly of calcium carbonate. 
There are over 2000 species of living ostracodes. They are good paleo-indicators because the different species have distinctive environmental requirements.
paleontological [adj] related to the study of fossil plants and animals
parkland [n] A parkland is an open woodland with widely scattered trees and a grass or sedge understory.
perched [adj.] In water science, this term refers to water that is isolated above the groundwater by a layer of rock or organic material.
percolate [v] to seep downward through a porous material such as soil or gravel
perennial [n] A perennial plant is one that lives year after year and typically produces flowers annually after two years.
physiology [n] Physiology is the study of the processes and functions of living organisms and how these change during growth and under changing environmental conditions.
photosynthesis [n] Photosynthesis is the process by which green plants convert light energy to chemical energy. Carbon dioxide, water, and energy absorbed by chlorophyll from the sunlight are used to produce carbohydrates. This energy is then used for plant growth and metabolism.
physiognomy [n] Physiognomy refers to overall structure or physical appearance-what the community and its dominant species look like, their height and spacing (height and canopy cover), and shape. It is descriptive of the life forms of the dominant species, for example, their size, leaf traits, and phenology (deciduous, evergreen).
physiography [n] a description of features and phenomena, such as the relief, lakes or other landforms in a given geographic region
pollen [n] a microscopic plant that contains male genetic material, which when combined with female genetic material, creates a seed
Prairie Peninsula [n] The Prairie Peninsula is a wedge of grassland projecting eastward from the Great Plains into the Midwest. It stretches from western Iowa to Indiana, with outlying extensions as far east as Ohio. Deciduous forest occurs both north and south of the Prairie Peninsula. Tall Grass Prairie, which takes its name from tall grasses such as big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) and Indian grass (Sorhgastrum nutans) dominated the Prairie Peninsula.
precipitation [n] Precipitation refers to moisture deposited on the ground. This includes rain, snow, and sleet.
proxy data [n] data which serve as a substitute for data that cannot be obtained directly

Certain deductions can be made from proxy data that relates to the evidence, situation, or problem being studied.

radiocarbon dates [n] dates based upon the rate of decay of carbon 14 when an organism (plant or animal) dies
regenerate [v] to grow again, or to successfully produce offspring (new trees) that grow to maturity and reproduce
relict species [n] A relict species is one that has survived periods of unfavorable conditions (e.g. glaciations, floods, drought) when other, related species became extinct. Relict species usually persist in very localized areas (called refugia – areas where they can still grow) whereas they were more widely distributed in the past.
root sprout [n] new groth is initiated from the base of the tree, resulting in mutlibple trunks
savanna [n] A savanna is a forest type with widely spaced trees and an understory of grasses and other forbs that require high levels of light.
siltation [n] the deposit of very fine sediments
soil horizon [n] a layer of soil that is distinctive from the one above or below it

Soil horizons are more or less parallel to the soil surface and are usually distinguishable based on physical and biological processes, parent material, weather, age, etc.

steppe [n] large, dry, level, grassland having few or no trees
stomata [n] Small openings in the upper tissues of the leaf through which gases (carbon dioxide, oxygen, water vapor) are exchanged
sub-canopy [n] the plant layer just below the uppermost canopy layer (treetops exposed directly to sunlight)

The sub-canopy consists of older trees, young trees, and shrubs, the growth of which has been limited by shade.

taxonomy [n] classification of organisms
thermokarst lake [n] a lake formed or expanded by the melting of the surrounding frozen ground

Thermokarst lakes can form in areas of permafrost when it melts; the ice in the ground melts from the warmth of the lake water.

topography [n] the physical features of a region, such as hills, mountains, valleys and the configuration or contour of these features
transpiration [n] the flow of water up from the soil through the roots and up through the stem to the leaves, where it evaporates through the stomata (small holes in the leaf surface)

Although transpiration is a source of water loss in plants, it also serves to transport minerals and nutrients within the plant, and cools the leaves.

tropical forest [n] The term is used here to describe tropical rain forests, which occur in the lowlands around the equator. They are characterized by many vines and epiphytes (plants that live on other plants), and trees that flower, fruit, and have leaves all year.
tundra [n] a grassy plain in the arctic and antarctic dominated by sedges, rushes, and wood rushes, perennial herbs, small woody shrubs, mosses, and lichens
understory [n] trees and shrubs of the layer immediately beneath the canopy in a forest