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A member of the class of vertebrates characterized by moist, smooth skin, cold-bloodedness, gills at some stage of development, and usually an initial stage of life as an aquatic larva and metamorphosis into a lunged adult that lives wholly or partly on land.


A condition characterized by a complete lack of oxygen.


living or growing in or on water


An underground layer of permeable rock or unconsolidated material (such as gravel, sand, clay, or silt) that contains water.


the largest animal phylum, including insects, arachnids, and crustaceans, typified by segmented bodies and paired, jointed antennae, wings, or legs.

Atlantic White Cedar swamp

swamp where the predominant tree is the Atlantic White Cedar; also known colloquially as a "cedar bog."

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Batona Trail

The Batona Trail is a 49.5-mile hiking trail through the Pine Barrens. The trail is the fourth longest in the state behind the Delware & Raritan Canal Towpth, the section of the Appalachian Trail within the state, and the completed section of the Highlands Trail in the state. The name is an acronym of BAck TO NAture. The trail begins in Brendan Byrne State Forest at the ghost town of Ong's Hat and traverses Wharton State Forest and Bass River State Forest.


The number and variety of organisms found within a specified geographic region. The variability among living organisms on the earth, including the variability within and between species and within and between ecosystems.


Blueberries are flowering plants in the genus Vaccinium sect. Cyanococcus. The species are native only to North America.


Used colloquially, a wet, spongy swamp area (such as "cedar bog") made up of peat and decaying vegetable materials.

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A species (plant or animal) for which the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service currently has on file sufficient information on biological vulnerability and threat(s) to support proposals to list them as endangered or threatened species.


New Jersey Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan. The CMP implements, and is an exercise of, the powers granted to the Pinelands Commission by the 1979 New Jersey Pinelands Protection Act and the Federal National Parks and Recreation Act of 1978. The regulations and standards it contains are designed to promote orderly development of the Pinelands so as to preserve and protect the significant and unique natural, ecological, agricultural, archaeological, historical, scenic, cultural and recreational resources of the Pinelands.

Coastal zone

In a regulatory sense, the area along the coast that is regulated by the Coastal Area Facilities Review Act (CAFRA). The Pinelands National Reserve includes much of the CAFRA area.


An aggregation of various species coexisting in the same habitat.

Comprehensive Management Plan

The CMP implements, and is an exercise of, the powers granted to the Pinelands Commission by the 1979 New Jersey Pinelands Protection Act and the Federal National Parks and Recreation Act of 1978. The regulations and standards it contains are designed to promote orderly development of the Pinelands so as to preserve and protect the significant and unique natural, ecological, agricultural, archaeological, historical, scenic, cultural and recreational resources of the Pinelands.


In relation to imperiled species, the use of all means necessary to bring a species to the point it no longer needs protection.

Critical habitat

Areas essential for the conservation of a species or a population of a species.

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Disturbed site

An area that has experienced some activity, either human-induced or natural (such as wildfire), that is in some sense detrimental to the existing community. Certain kinds of disturbances allow for early successional or pioneer species to re-initiate the natural processes of change or "ecosystem development."

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A local biological community and its pattern of interaction with its environment.

Endangered & Nongame Species Conservation Act

NJ state law providing certain legal protections for listed wildlife animals.

Endangered and Nongame Species Program

A program under the Division of Fish & Wildlife, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection whose stated mission is "to actively conserve New Jersey's biological diversity by maintaining and enhancing endangered and nongame wildlife populations within healthy, functioning ecosystems." (

Endangered Plant Species List Act

NJ state law that provides for the establishment of an official list of Endangered plant species and a few severely limited protective measures for them

Endangered species

A species of animal or plant that has been identified as in danger of becoming extinct because of harmful human activity or environmental factors, and that is thus the subject of protective regulations and conservation measures.

Endangered Species Act

Federal legislation intended to provide a means whereby the ecosystems upon which endangered and threatened species depend may be conserved, and provide programs for the conservation of those species, thus preventing extinction of native plants and animals. (

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One of the principal ranks in the taxonomic hierarchy, below the order and above the tribe or genus.


Any of various cold-blooded, strictly aquatic, water-breathing vertebrates, with skulls, cartilaginous or bony skeletons, gills, usually fins, and typically an elongated body covered with scales.


A single flower in a head of many flowers.

Flowering period

That period during which a plant species in a given geographic area usually produces flowers.

Fruiting period

That period during which a plant species in a given geographic area usually produces fruit.

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One of the principal ranks in the taxonomic hierarchy, falling below the family and above the species.


Groundwater is water located beneath the ground surface in soil pore spaces and in the fractures of lithologic formations. A unit of rock or an unconsolidated deposit is called an aquifer when it can yield a usable quantity of water. The depth at which soil pore spaces or fractures and voids in rock become completely saturated with water is called the water table. Groundwater is recharged from, and eventually flows to, the surface naturally; natural discharge often occurs at springs and seeps, and can form oases or wetlands. Groundwater is also often withdrawn for agricultural, municipal and industrial use by constructing and operating extraction wells.

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The place where an organism normally lives.

Hardwood swamp

Any swamp in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey where the predominant trees are Red Maple, Sour Gum, and to lesser degree, Swamp Magnolia and Gray Birch.


A reptile or amphibian.

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A general term applied to organisms, populations of organisms, communities, or ecosystems that are in some degree of danger of extinction.


the structure or arrangement of flowers on a plant

Intermittent pond

Areas with periodic shallow, standing water (not necessarily related to spring rains) that limit competition from typical wetland and upland species, keeping sites at early successional stages. These communities often contain many rare herbaceous species, especially grasses, sedges, and rushes, and are important breeding sites for many amphibians and arthropods.

Invasive Species

Non-indigenous species (e.g. plants or animals) that adversely affect the habitats they invade economically, environmentally or ecologically.

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Any member of the higher vertebrate class Mammalia, including humans; characterized by live birth, body hair, and mammary glands in the female that secrete milk for feeding the young.


A tract of treeless wetland that supports a dense variety of vegetation, especially grasses, sedges, and rushes.

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National Parks And Recreation Act of 1978

The federal legislation that created the Pinelands National Reserve and the New Jersey Pinelands Commission.

Native Species

Indigenous or native to a given region or ecosystem if its presence in that region is the result of only natural resources, with no human intervention. Every natural organism (instead of domesticated organisms) has its own natural range of distribution, in which it is regarded as native.

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

The state regulatory agency whose stated goal is, "to assist the residents of New Jersey in preserving, restoring, sustaining, protecting and enhancing the environment to ensure the integration of high environmental quality, public health and economic vitality." (

New Jersey Natural Heritage Database

A continuously updated inventory of rare plants and animal species and representative natural communities in New Jersey managed by the New Jersey Natural Heritage Program. It is the state's most comprehensive, centralized source of information on rare plants, animals, and natural communities, a compilation of information from a broad range of sources including museum and herbarium collection records, publications, knowledgeable experts, and fieldwork.

New Jersey Natural Heritage Program

A program (part of an international network) that identifies the state's most significant natural areas through a comprehensive inventory of rare plant and animal species and representative natural communities. From the inventory, the Natural Heritage Database compiles information on the distribution, biology, status, and preservation needs of these species and communities.

New Jersey Pinelands Commission

The fifteen-member regulatory body created by the Federal Pinelands National Preserve Act of 1978, charged with creating and implementing the New Jersey Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan.

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Outer coastal plain

One of New Jersey's five physiographic regions occupying most of South Jersey, characterized by predominately sandy soil and relatively level land crisscrossed by winding streams and rivers that drain to the Atlantic Ocean. The New Jersey Pine Barrens ecosystem occupies most of the outer coastal plain of New Jersey.

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Perched wetland

A wetland community occurring in an upland area because of clay sediment beneath the surface with consequent poor drainage.


A measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution, numerically equal to 7 for neutral solutions, increasing with increasing alkalinity and decreasing with increasing acidity. The pH scale commonly in use ranges from 0 to 14.

Pine Barrens

The ecosystem covering most of South Jersey, originally totaling approximately 1.4 million acres, now much reduced, characterized by (1) flat, sandy, droughty, acidic, nutrient-poor upland soils dominated by pine/oak forests, (2) extensive (approximately 35%), varied wetland communities, (3) huge underground aquifers containing mostly potable water, and (4) a unique flora and fauna.

Pine Plains

Four peculiar areas in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, together totaling about 12,400 acres, possessing a distinctive flora characterized, mainly, by dramatically dwarfed forms of the canopy trees, primarily Pitch Pine and Blackjack Oak.


A term commonly used ambiguously to refer to the Pine Barrens of New Jersey and/or the Pinelands National Reserve and/or the State Pinelands Area. Also applied colloquially, by some, by way of inappropriate shortening of the proper name, to the New Jersey Pinelands Commission and even to Pinelands Preservation Alliance, thus compounding the confusion.

Pinelands Commission

(see "New Jersey Pinelands Commission")

Pinelands National Reserve

The 1.1 million-acre area established by the National Parks and Recreation Act of 1978. The State Pinelands Area and certain coastal areas protected under New Jersey's Coastal Area Facilities Review Act (CAFRA) are contained within the Pinelands National Reserve.

Pinelands Preservation Alliance

A non-profit organization whose mission is to monitor the Pinelands Commission and advocate for proper implementation and enforcement of the Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan.

Pinelands Protection Act of 1979

The Pinelands Protection Act designated about 900,000 acres of the Pinelands National Reserve as the state Pinelands Area, and put land use planning for these lands in the hands of the New Jersey Pinelands Commission. The balance of the Pinelands National Reserve falls under the jurisdiction of New Jersey’s Coastal Area Facilities Review Act (CAFRA), a much weaker body of regulations that govern development along the Jersey Shore.

Pioneer species

Species of organisms that are adapted to early successional situations in a community.

Pitch Pine lowland

A Pitch Pine forest in an area with a high water table. The community is distinguishable because of the presence of many moisture-loving plants.


Pinelands National Reserve.


Any group of organisms of the same species living in a specific geographic area.

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As used by the Natural Heritage Program, the relative standing, from a conservation perspective, of any of the elements of biodiversity (plants, animals, communities, or ecosystems) being monitored.


Any cold-blooded vertebrate animal belonging to the class Reptilia, a class of aquatic or terrestrial, cold-blooded vertebrates having bodies covered with horny scales or plates, breathing by means of lungs, and usually laying eggs outside the body.


A horizontal underground stem.

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Referring to cones that open after exposure to fire.


A fundamental rank in the taxonomic hierarchy, indicating the limit of organisms able to interbreed.


long, narrow, unbranched cluster of flowers without stalks, produced along a central axis


Reproductive bodies (smaller than seeds). A seed consists of a seed coat surrounding an embryo plant and the cotyledons or seed leaves; a spore consists of a spore coat encasing a minute amount of protoplasm. Spores are produced by almost all flowerless plants such as Fungi, Algae, Ferns, Lycopodiums and Equisetums


Ill-conceived land use and poorly designed development that threatens drinking water supplies, consumes open space, spoils landscapes and creates traffic congestion.

State Pinelands Area

That portion of the Pinelands National Reserve, consisting of about 934,000 acres, under the direct administration of the New Jersey Pinelands Commission.


The condition of a plant or animal species under the law (compare with "Rank").


A general term for an area that is occasionally flooded and covered with abundant vegetation, especially shrubs and trees.

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The theories and techniques of describing, naming, and classifying organisms.

Threatened species

A species of animal or plant that has been identified as facing a possible threat of extinction, due to a gradual reduction in its overall population or significant changes in its environment; not identified as facing as great a threat as an endangered species.

Transfer of Development Rights

Transfer of development rights refers to a method for protecting land by transferring the "rights to develop" from one area and giving them to another. What is actually occurring is a consensus to place conservation easements on property in agricultural or preservation areas while allowing for an increase in development densities or "bonuses" in other areas that are being developed.

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Vernal pool

A natural body of standing fresh water, normally occurring only during spring, occupying a surface depression, shallow enough to allow plant growth in its entire area. The terms are commonly used for any intermittent bodies of water regarded as smaller than lakes.

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An area of land that drains into a particular body of water such as a river, lake, stream or bay.


WATERSPIRIT is a center committed to informing, inspiring and enabling people recognize the connection between ecology and spirituality.


A lowland area, such as a marsh or swamp, that is saturated with moisture, especially when regarded as the natural habitat of wildlife: a program to preserve our state’s wetlands.

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