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Glossary: N is for ... natural nitrogen niche.
by Ariadne Unst

Glossary of N...

nascent
Being formed.

native (or native species)
A plant native to a specific region. It evolved there and it grows there naturally. Compare with immigrant, indicator, and keystone species.

natural pruning (self pruning)
The freeing of the stem of a standing tree of its branches by natural death, disintegration, or fall. Causes include decay, weakening by deficiency of light or water, or breakage by snow, ice, and wind.

natural selection (n.)
A process in evolution. Those individuals (of a species) whose traits help them adapt to their specific environment tend to transmit those characteristics. Individuals that are less able to adapt tend to contribute fewer descendents, so that their maladaptive traits decrease or die out.

natural resources (n.)
The materials of the natural world that are used by humans (or other creatures). These resources include: sunlight and rainfall; oxygen and other gases of the atmosphere; the minerals of the earth's rocks and sediments and soils; water of rainfall and river, fen, lake, and ocean; and both wild and domesticated creatures and plants.

naturalized
A plant that is not native to an area, and that has colonized that area.

niche
Activity range of a species, determined by its needs and its size.
In 1959, G. Evelyn Hutchinson (Homage to Santa Rosalia or why are there so many kinds of animals?) identified that species diversity is a function of (among other things) niche diversification, which lets communities stabilize in parts.

nitrogen cycle
Nitrogen's movement through soil, air, animals, and plants.
1. Some plants have root nodules that contain nitrogen-fixing bacteria (Rhizobium).
2. Some soils contain free-living nitrogen-fixing bacteria (Azotobacter) and cyanobacteria.
3. Excreta and decay products of plants and animals are broken into ammonium salts; bacteria oxidize these to make nitrites and then nitrates (in the presence of oxygen), and finally to return the nitrogen to the air.

nonvascular plant
Plants that do not contain specialize components that transport water and food materials from their source to the site they are used. Includes:

nut
A dry, indehiscent, one-seeded (usually) fruit enclosed in a hard case.