Keystone species

A species that plays a major ecological role in determining the composition and structure of an ecological community; if a keystone species disappears, the whole community will change. The African elephant is one example of a keystone species. [fn]Source: (USAID 2005) from "USAID Biodiversity Primer"[/fn] [ALSO] A species that plays an important ecological role in determining the overall structure and dynamic relationships within a biotic community. A keystone species presence is essential to the integrity and stability of a particular ecosystem. [fn]Source:(EFI 2002) from European Forest Institute, Internal Report No. 6, 2002 "Compliation of Forestry Terms and Definitions" by Schuck, Paivinen, Hytonen, and Pajari.[/fn]