alluvium - sediment deposited by flowing water, as in a riverbed, flood
plain, or delta

biodiversity - biological diversity of an environment as indicated by the number of different plant and animal species

biophilia - an affinity for other forms of life and the natural world

calciphile - any plant or animal capable of thriving in calcareous (limestone) soils

colluvium - loose deposit of rock debris accumulated through the action of gravity at the base of a cliff or slope

crepescular - referring to the activity levels of animals performed at twilight (dawn and/or dusk)

dormancy - a state of reduced metabolic activity in reaction to, or anticipation of, adverse conditions, as in winter

ecology - the interactions and relationships between organisms and their environment

ephemeral - lasting a very short time; short-lived; transitory

habitat - the combination of components of the ecosystem upon which a plant or animal species relies for its life cycle

hibernaculum - any species of plant or animal that is known to cause damage or displacement and does not occur naturally in Alabama or the Southeast

invasive species - any species of plant or animal that is known to cause damage or displacement and does not occur naturally in Alabama or the Southeast

lichen - a symbiotic hybrid of algae, cyanobacteria, and fungi in varying combinations usually found on hard surfaces, such as rock or tree bark

monitor - to collect and analyze data by various methods for the purpose of understanding and documenting changes both favorable and unfavorable to natural ecosystems and features

moss - a nonvascular, spore-bearing plant which usually grows in clumps or mats on woodland and forest floors

native species - indigenous to, or originating naturally in, Alabama or the Southeast

nature preserve - a protected area of importance for ecology, flora, fauna or features of geological or other special interest, which is reserved and managed for conservation and to provide special opportunities for study or research

permaculture - An agricultural system or method that seeks to integrate human activity with natural surroundings so as to create highly efficient self-sustaining ecosystems. A hybrid of "permanent" and "agriculture."

restore - to recover natural site features and processes that existed on site prior to disturbance

riparian - stream-side; relating to habitat on the banks of rivers or waterways

sensitive species - organisms with low population levels and/or specific environmental constraints limiting population increases; organisms intolerant to disturbance or natural/unnatural environmental stresses

special populations - This implies organisms that may or may not necessarily be rare or threatened statewide or globally but have local significance to the conservation of Ruffner Mountain

stewardship - management activities that are intended to maintain, restore, or enhance resources

wetland - land where saturation with water is the dominant factor determining the nature of soil development and the types of plant and animal communities living in the soil and on its surface.