Nature and Environment

Here are the most common vocabulary relating to the topic ‘Nature and Environment’. These words are collected from different sources and can be used in both productive sections of IELTS. They can also help you better understand the Reading section of the test.

First part – 20 words

  1. deforestation (noun) – the cutting down of trees in a large area, or the destruction of forests by people.
    Deforestation is destroying large areas of tropical rain forest.
  2. biodiversity (noun) – the number and types of plants and animals that exist in a particular area or in the world generally, or the problem of protecting this.
    – They are conducting a new National Biological Survey to protect species habitat and biodiversity.
  3. habitat (noun) – the natural environment in which an animal or plant usually lives.
    – With so many areas of woodland being cut down, a lot of wildlife is losing its natural habitat.
  4. ecosystem (noun) – all the living things in an area and the way they affect each other and the environment.
    – Pollution can have disastrous effects on the delicately balanced ecosystem.
  5. pollution (noun) – damage caused to water, air, etc. by harmful substances or waste.
    – The company claims it is not responsible for the pollution in the river.
    – Car exhaust is the main reason for the city’s pollution.
    – Stricter controls on air pollution would help to reduce acid rain.
  6. aquatic (adj) – living or growing in, happening in, or connected with water.
    – Waterskiing is my favorite aquatic sport.
    Aquatic organic matter is subject to a hard-water error and is therefore not usable.
  7. vegetation (noun) – plants in general, or plants that are found in a particular area:
    – The railway track will have to be cleared of vegetation if it is to be used again.
    – Much of the region’s native vegetation has been damaged by developers who are building hotels along the coast.
  8. erosion (noun) – loss of soil from action of water or wind
    – Beach erosion was reported along the east coast, due to persistent easterly winds.
    – The biennial and perennial crops were mainly used for animal feed or environmental uses, such as soil erosion control, ornamentals or cover crops.
  9. impact (noun) – the strong effect or influence that something has on a situation or person.
    – The environmental impact of this project will be enormous.
    – They indeed provided some famous examples of biological invasions which had a catastrophic impact on local biodiversity, leading to the extinction of local species.
  10. wildlife (noun) – animals and plants that grow independently of people, usually in natural conditions.
    – The use of pesticides is killing off birds, fish and wildlife.
    – Their work involves restoring and recreating wildlife habitats all across the country.
  11. drought (noun) – a long period when there is little or no rain.
    – This year (a) severe drought has ruined the crops.
    – The effects of climate change (for example) include sea level rises, and increased frequencies of droughts, storms, and extreme temperatures.
  12. marine (adj) – related to the sea or sea transport.
    – The oil slick seriously threatens marine life around the islands.
    – Over the years we have been rather shortsighted about protecting our marine environment.
  13. evolve (verb) – to develop gradually, or to cause something or someone to develop gradually.
    – Did humans evolve from apes?
    – Bacteria are evolving resistance to antibiotics.
  14. fossil (noun) – the shape of a bone, a shell, or a plant or animal that has been preserved in rock for a very long period.
    – The small, lentil-shaped fossils are a separate form of the same species.
    – Most bivalve fossils are a few centimetres long; the ideal size for collecting.
  15. extinct (adj) – not now existing.
    – There is concern that the giant panda will soon become extinct.
    – Many tribes became extinct when they came into contact with Western illnesses.
    – A lot of trades have become extinct because of the development of technology.
  16. species (noun) – a set of animals or plants in which the members have similar characteristics to each other and can breed with each other.
    – Mountain gorillas are an endangered species.
    – Over a hundred species of insect are found in this area.
  17. transient (adj) – lasting for only a short time; temporary.
    – A glass of whisky has only a transient warming effect.
    – The city has a large transient population (= many people who are living in it only temporarily).
  18. greenhouse gas (noun) – one of several gases, especially carbon dioxide, that prevent heat from the earth escaping into space, causing the greenhouse effect.
    – We need a global system for limiting greenhouse gas emissions.
    – Radical steps to reduce greenhouse gases will have a huge effect on the economy.
  19. climate change (noun) – changes in the world’s weather, particularly an increase in temperature, thought to be caused by things such as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
    – Technological methods to cope with climate change will become more and more important.
    – This approach allows me to map out the impacts of climate change and the control policy generation by generation.
  20. global warming (noun) – a gradual increase in world temperatures caused by gases such as carbon dioxide that are collecting in the air around the earth and stopping heat escaping into space.
    – The destruction of the rainforests is contributing to global warming.
    – Do you think that these higher-than-average temperatures are attributable to global warming?
    – Several hypotheses for global warming have been suggested.

Second part – 20 words

  1. phenomenon (noun) (plural phenomena) – something that exists and can be seen, felt, tasted, etc., especially something unusual or interesting.
    – Gravity is a natural phenomenon.
    – Do you believe in the paranormal and other psychic phenomena.
    – There’s evidence to suggest that child abuse is not just a recent phenomenon.
  2. instinct (noun) – the way people or animals naturally react or behave, without having to think or learn about it.
    – All his instincts told him to stay near the car and wait for help.
    – Her first instinct was to run.
    – It is instinct that tells the birds when to begin their migration.
  3. precipitation (noun) – water that falls from the clouds towards the ground, especially as rain or snow.
    – Hail and sleet are types of precipitation.
    – The forecast is for dry, cloudy weather with no precipitation expected.
  4. fertility (noun) – (of animals and plants) the quality of being able to produce young or fruit.
    – It is thought that environmental toxins are destroying fertility.
    – The total fertility rate is then obtained.
  5. adapt (verb) – If a living thing adapts, it changes slightly over time so it can continue to exist in a particular environment.
    – Species have adapted to climate changes throughout history.
    – The ways in which organisms have adapted to survive in this extreme environment are not well understood.
  6. contaminated (adj) – poisonous or not pure.
    – The infection was probably caused by swimming in contaminated water.
    – The virus can be transmitted by food containing contaminated meat.
  7. predator (noun) – an animal that hunts, kills, and eats other animals.
    – The population got out of control because there were no natural predators to keep it in check.
    – The lack of a shell leaves the larvae unprotected against predators.
  8. prey (noun) – an animal that is hunted and killed for food by another animal.
    – A hawk hovered in the air before swooping on its prey.
    The prey had been sighted.
  9. endangered (adj) – in danger of being harmed, lost, unsuccessful, etc.
    – Haller Park in Kenya is an animal sanctuary, a place where endangered animals are protected.
    – The two students also found that some markets sold endangered fish labeled as other fish.
  10. contamination (noun) – the process of making something dirty or poisonous, or the state of containing unwanted or dangerous substances.
    The contamination has spread to tap water in Tokyo.
    – The company is investigating the extent of soil and groundwater contamination and plans to clean it up.
  11. emission (noun) – an amount of a substance that is produced and sent out into the air that is harmful to the environment, especially carbon dioxide.
    – Reducing the consumption of energy and increasing its efficient use would help control emissions.
    – These health risks are caused by vehicle emissions.
    – The agreement aimed to half the emissions rate in 50 years.
  12. evaporation (noun) – the process of a liquid changing to a gas, especially by heating
    – Ice cover prevents evaporation of water from the lake surface.
    – Fruit juice is concentrated through evaporation.
  13. wildfire (noun) – a fire that is burning strongly and out of control on an area of grass or bushes in the countryside.
    – Major wildfires have destroyed thousands of acres in Idaho.
    Wildfires destroyed thousands of acres across Oregon.
  14. heatwave (noun) – a period of unusually hot weather, especially one that continues for a long time
    – People were saying that a cold spring meant an early heat wave in summer.
    – A great heat wave descended; it was a beautiful day, the sun turned red at three.
  15. carbon footprint (noun phrase) – a measurement of the amount of carbon dioxide produced by the activities of a person, company, organization, etc.:
    – The four main areas that determine your carbon footprint are electricity usage, oil or natural gas usage, car mileage, and airplane trips.
    – We have partnered with nearby farms, hoping to reduce the carbon footprint of our delivery trucks.
  16. famine (noun) – a situation in which there is not enough food for a great number of people, causing illness and death, or a particular period when this happens:
    – Another crop failure could result in widespread famine.
    – There were reports of refugees dying of famine.

By Atajanov Khamdambek

Freelance teacher. Lawyer. IT enthusiast.

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