Another, more holistic, way we can measure mining impacts is to look at what happens to the plants or animals living in the ecosystem. We could look at their
but in many ways, the easiest thing to measure is simply "who's there" -- in other words, what species are found in an area. It's the same thing that birders do when they go out bird-watching -- they have a (very long) checklist of all the possible species, and they try to check off as many species as possible within a given area. If you DON'T find that species, then it seems likely that the ecosystem can't support it -- especially if you know it used to be there.
The biological concept of species is a group of organisms in the wild that are capable of breeding and producing fertile offspring.
A community is more than one population of different species in the same area.
Copyright University of Maryland, 2007
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