Sustainable Development & Ecology & Environment:
How to use the present guidebook?
The current compendium shall be a must read for all considering and approaching projects or its components on sustainable development, ecology/environment management, biodiversity, water resources management, organic farming, micro-scale renewable energy and overall rural development.
The compendium brings altogether the key environment & ecology & sustainable development oriented terms, concepts, principles, approaches and good practices in form of a glossary – an alphabetical-ordered collection or set of succinct topical capsules, frequently interrelated.
The compendium shall be approached & read in its entirety, being useful companion, when identifying and assessing the problem to be solved/eased by the project, designing the project/proposal, in particular structuring the narrative and corroborating on the identified problem and its possible solutions.
Aarhus Convention: The UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, usually known as the Aarhus Convention, was signed on 25 June 1998 in the Danish city of Aarhus. It entered into force on 30 October 2001. As of May 2013, it had been ratified by 45 states and the European Union. All of the ratifying states are in Europe and Central Asia, including Belarus and Georgia. The EU has begun applying Aarhus-type principles in its legislation, notably the Water Framework Directive (Directive 2000/60/EC) and further the EU Flood Driective. The Aarhus Convention grants the public rights regarding access to information, public participation and access to justice, in governmental decision-making processes on matters concerning the local, national and transboundary environment. It focuses on interactions between the public and public authorities.
Abatement: Reducing the degree of intensity or eliminating, pollution.
Abiotic: Non-living; usually applied to the physical and chemical aspects of an organism’s environment; e.g. salinity, pH, humidity, light (is a biotic necessity in autotrophic organisms) etc. the environment can be considered a heteromosaic of abiotic conditions, changing with time and space.
Acid : A corrosive solution/solvent/substance with a Ph of less than 7; See pH
Adaptive management/methodological and policy approach:A type of management where the approach to managing resources & environment evolves over time as new ideas, information, drivers for change and technologies emerge.
Aerobic or oxic zone: An environment in which there is free oxygen.
Air pollution: Air is made up of a number of gases, mostly nitrogen and oxygen and, in smaller amounts, water vapour, carbon dioxide and argon and other trace gases. Air pollution occurs when harmful chemicals and particles are emitted to the air – due to human activity or natural forces – at a concentration that interferes with human health or welfare or that harms the environment in other ways.
Air quality: A measure of the level of pollution in the air.
Algae: Simple rootless plants that grow in sunlit waters in proportion to the amount of available nutrients. They can affect water quality adversely by lowering the dissolved oxygen in the water. They are food for fish and small aquatic animals.
Algal Blooms: Sudden spurts of algal growth, which can affect water quality adversely and indicate potentially hazardous changes in local water chemistry.
Alien Species: plant or animal/a taxon which has been introduced into a new habitat, usually by human intervention. See also invasive species
Allochoton: Organic matter entering a stream, lake or sea but derived from an adjacent land.
Alternative energy sources: Energy that does not come from fossil fuels (such as coal, oil, gas), for example wind, flowing water/hydro, solar energy and biomass.
Amenities: Benefits of a property, such as nearby playgrounds, swimming pools, community centres or parks.
Amphibians: newts, frogs, salamanders: backboned animals that can live in water as well as on land.
Anaerobic or anoxic zone:An environment devoid/lacking of oxygen.
Animal husbandry: Rearing animals in agricultural production. Organic animal husbandry aims to improve the health and natural defences of animals by rearing them appropriate to their natural needs.
Animal welfare: Of crucial importance to organic farmers ensuring a stress free and appropriate environment for the different farm animals.
Aquifer: Layer of water-bearing permeable rock, sand, or gravel capable of providing significant amounts of water.
Backyard burning: An illegal method of getting rid of household waste, possibly in an attempt to save on bin charges, that releases levels of pollutants into the air, so harming air quality and risking the health of those burning the waste and of their neighbours.
Bankfull flow:The dominant channel forming discharge. The flow rate at which a channel is filled from bank to bank. The frequency of bankfull conditions is commonly adopted as the criterion for maintaining the channel cross-section and freedom from sedimentation in the longer term. This frequency will vary according to climatic regions, but usually occurs once every 1.5/2 years in CEE.
Baseflow:The underlying flow rate that cannot be directly attributed to storm events The part of the total flow in a water body derived from groundwater discharge.
BER: Short for Building Energy Rating, which says how much energy a home needs for heating, lighting and hot water. Homes are placed on a scale from A to G. A-rated homes need the least amount of energy while G-rated need the most.
Best management practices (BMPs): Concepts, devices, practices or methods of management, including environmental.
Bio-magnification principle: The increasing concentration of a compound/chemical substances in the tissues of organisms as the compound passes along a food chain, resulting from the accumulation of the compound at each trophic level prior to its consumption by organisms at the next trophic level, as seen with DDT.
Biodegradable waste: Organic waste, typically coming from plant or animal sources (for example food scraps and paper), which other living organisms can break down.
Biodiversity: A short form of the phrase ‘biological diversity’, which means the variety of life on this planet and how it interacts within habitats and ecosystems. Biodiversity covers all plants, animals and micro-organisms on land and in water. See also ecosystem, habitat and organism.
Biodiversity Indicators: indicators or measures which allow the determination of the degree of biological or environmental changes within ecosystems, populations or groups of organisms over time.
Bioenergy: All types of energy derived from biomass, including biofuels.
Biofuels: Liquid transport fuels made from biomass.
Biomass: A source of fuel made from living and recently-dead plant materials such as wood, leaves and the biodegradable part of industrial and municipal waste.
Biosphere: The zone of air, land and water at the surface of the earth that is occupied by organisms.
Biotic: Living; usually applied to the biological aspects of an organism’s environment, i.e. the influence of other organisms (opposite of abiotic).
Black bin/Grey bin: A wheelie bin used in certain local authorities to collect waste that cannot be recycled or composted.
Bore:A narrow, lined hole drilled to withdraw or monitor groundwater.
Bring bank: A place where you can bring materials for recycling, for example glass, newspapers, heavy cardboard and textiles. See also recycling centre and civic amenity site.
Brown Bin: A wheelie bin used in some local authorities to collect organic waste such as food and light garden waste (for example grass cuttings).
Buffer strip: Areas of vegetation through which runoff passes while travelling to a discharge point and which are therefore aligned perpendicular (˫)to the direction of flow/river/stream.
Bye-law/local regulations: A rule made by a local authority to govern activities within the area it controls. Examples include bye-laws covering waste disposal, traffic or public events or signs.
Carbon count: A measure of the amount of carbon dioxide you produce through your lifestyle every day, for example through driving or using electrical appliances and lighting.
Carbon credit: A unit of carbon dioxide bought to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Carbon dioxide (CO2): A colourless gas that is naturally produced from animals and people in exhaled air and the decay of plants. It is removed from the atmosphere by photosynthesis in plants and by dissolving in water, especially on the surface of oceans. The use of fossil fuels for energy is increasing the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is believed to contribute to global warming.
Carbon emissions: In the context of climate change, carbon dioxide released when substances, especially oil, gas, and coal, are burned by vehicles and planes, by factories and by homes.
Carbon footprint: A measure of the impact our activities have on the environment, especially climate change, often reported as the units of tonnes (or kg) of carbon dioxide each of us produces over a given period of time.
Carbon monoxide: A highly poisonous, odourless, tasteless and colourless gas that is formed when carbon material burns without enough oxygen. Carbon monoxide is toxic when inhaled because it combines with your blood and prevents oxygen from getting to your organs. If a person is exposed to carbon monoxide over a period, it can cause illness and even death. Carbon Monoxide has no smell, taste or colour. This is why it is sometimes called the “Silent Killer”. The most common causes of carbon monoxide poisoning in the home are house fires, faulty heating appliances such as boilers, blocked chimney or flues, and rooms not properly ventilated. Carbon Monoxide alarms can be used as a backup to provide a warning to householders in the event of a dangerous build up of carbon monoxide.
Carbon neutral: A situation that arises when the amount of carbon dioxide released into the air equals the amount of carbon dioxide removed from the air, for example by planting trees, or the amount saved by using renewable energy sources to produce the same amount of energy. See also renewable energy.
Carbon offset: A unit, equal to one ton of carbon dioxide, that individuals, companies or governments buy to reduce short-term and long-term emissions of greenhouse gases. The payment usually funds projects that generate energy from renewable sources such as wind or flowing water. Individuals can choose whether to buy an offset (for example to compensate for air travel), but governments and large industries are sometimes required to buy them to meet international targets aimed at reducing greenhouse gases.
Carbon tax: A tax on fuels according to their carbon content, which aims to encourage people and businesses to use fuels with less carbon and reduce the amount of energy they use.
Carpooling: Sharing a car to a destination to reduce fuel use, pollution and travel costs.
Carrying Capacity : The maximum population size that can be supported indefinitely by a given environment, at which intraspecific competition has reduced
Catchment: a natural or artificial basement for trapping water. One natural version catches rainfall and feeds it into a stream that drains the catchment area. A topographically defined area draining surface water to a single outlet point.
CFL Bulbs: Short for ‘compact fluorescent lamp’ bulbs, which are light bulbs that use a fraction of the energy of traditional filament bulbs and last up to five times longer.
Civic Amenity Site: A public or private facility that accepts recyclable and non-recyclable materials such as garden and household waste and certain hazardous wastes such as paints, batteries and electrical and electronic devices.
Clear-Cutting: removing all the trees from a given area; a destruction of entire forests at a time.
Cleavage: natural plane of breakage along which consecutive breaks produce smooth, parallel splits.
Cleptobiosis: when one species steals food from another.
Climate change: A change in the climate of a region over time due to natural forces or human activity. In the context of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, it is the change in climate caused by higher levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere due to human activities as well as natural climate changes. See also global warming, and UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Climate: The pattern of weather in a particular region over a set period of time, usually 30 years. The pattern is affected by the amount of rain or snowfall, average temperatures throughout the year, humidity, wind speeds and so on.
Climax: a climax the culminating stage of plant succession in a given ecosystem. Climax communities tend toward maturity because of having attained harmony with their surroundings through years of experimentation and adaptation.
Commensalism: Members of the two species in which one member benefits and the other is neither
Compost-able: Material from plants or animals that can be used to create compost because it will decompose naturally over time.
Compost: A rich soil-like material produced from decayed plants and other organic matter, such as food and animal waste, that decomposes (breaks down) naturally. Most food waste can be put into compost, but you should not include meat, bones, cheese, cooking oils and fish. These may take a long time to break down and attract unwanted pests.
Composting: The process of deliberately allowing food, garden and other suitable organic wastes to break down naturally over time to produce compost.
Connectivity (hydrological):Refers to the water-mediated transfer of matter, energy and organisms between elements of the hydrologic cycle eg. The exchange of carbon between an inundated floodplain and the overlaying floodwaters.
Conservation Status: a category designation indicating the degree of risk of a given species faces with regard to extinction. Typical categories are: Extinct, Vulnerable, Threatened, Least Concern and Data Deficient.
Conservation: Preserving or protecting animals and resources such as minerals, water and plants through planned action (such as breeding endangered species) or non-action (such as not letting taps run unnecessarily).
Constructed wetland:A vegetated detention area designed and built to remove contaminants from stormwater runoff, but which can also provide secondary benefits of habitat enhancement/creation and active and passive recreational and educational opportunities.
Contaminant: A substance that presents or has the potential to present a risk of harm to human health, the environment or any environmental value .
Conversion: Turning a non-organic agricultural holding into an organic one. The lengthy and complicated process is required by regulations in order to be able to use organic logos and labelling.
Cover Crop: a crop grown to protect the soil from erosion and nearby food crops from weeds. Can be dug under to put nutrients back into the ground. Common cover crops include buckwhea/Гречиха t, hairy vetch, winter pea, and various clovers/клевер.
Cross-compliance:Cross-compliance is EU mechanism that links EU direct payments/subsidies to compliance by farmers with basic standards concerning the environment, food safety, animal and plant health and animal welfare, as well as the requirement of maintaining land in good agricultural and environmental condition. Since 2005, all farmers receiving EU direct payments are subject to compulsory cross-compliance. Cross-compliance includes two elements: Statutory Management Requirements: These requirements refer to 18 legislative standards in the field of the environment, food safety, animal and plant health and animal welfare. Good agricultural and environmental condition: The obligation of keeping land in good agricultural and environmental condition refers to a range of standards related to soil protection, maintenance of soil organic matter and structure, avoiding the deterioration of habitats e.g. conservation of field hedges & riparain buffers & protection of breeding/nesting/spawning sites, and water management. Cross-compliance represents the “baseline” or “reference level” for EU agri-environment measures. For all requirements falling under cross-compliance, the compliance costs have to be born by farmers (“Polluter-Pays-Principle”).
Deforestation: The reduction of trees in a wood or forest due to natural forces or human activity such as burning or logging.
Denitrification: The reduction of nitrate or nitrite to nitrogen gas, in the absence of oxygen .
Development plan: A public plan that sets out the development objectives and policies of a local authority for its area. It states the local authority’s goals for a range of areas such as maintaining and improving roads and parks, preserving and enhancing amenities (such as playgrounds or swimming pools), zoning/spatial arrangements land for homes, businesses, factories and farming and providing services and facilities such as waste disposal and sewerage. Members of the public have opportunities to make submissions on the plan before it is agreed. See also Aarhus Convention;
Dioxins: Highly toxic chemicals that can be formed in small amounts from forest fires or volcanoes but more often are produced unintentionally from industrial activities and from incinerating waste and burning fossil fuels.
Discharge: The rate at which a volume of water passes through a cross section in a unit of time.
Disposal: In this guide, getting rid of waste by discarding it into a bin and, when it is collected, by incincerating it or sending it to landfill.
Dissolved fraction:The part of a water sample passing through a 0.45 µm pore size filter paper. It will include both a truly dissolved and colloidal material fraction. HYRO
Domestic charges: Fees paid to local authorities for providing services such as collecting domestic waste.
Domestic waste: Waste produced within the home, including garden waste. See also household waste.
Drainage network:The system of channels and pipes and overland flow pathways which drain a catchment area.
Draught proofing: A way to stop heat from escaping a home, for example by sealing window frames and using draught excluders under doors.
Drought refuges: Drought refuges are places that sustain life during the dry seasons, particularly in ephemeral streams.
Dumping: Disposing of waste illegally by not using bins or official recycling centres, civic amenity sites or landfills.
Ecological Management: the management of human activities so that ecosystems, their structure, function, composition, and the physical, chemical, and biological processes that shaped them continue at appropriate temporal and spatial scales. Such action requires integrated policy development and management and learning to develop resources with the capacity of ecosystems to renew themselves. This is sometimes called ecosystem management or an ecological approach to management.
Ecological or Biological Corridor: pathways that allow natural—and man-assisted—immigration and emigration of populations and species. This may be a physical corridor such as a terrestrial or water migration route, a flyway/air, or it may refer to particular management practices that allows species and populations to continue patterns of movement.
Ecological values:Particular values or uses of the environment important for a healthy ecosystem or for public benefit, welfare, safety or health and economic activities, and which require protection from the effects of pollution, waste discharges and deposits and from the effects of altered water regimes.
Ecological water requirements (EWRs):The water regimes needed to maintain ecological values of water dependent ecosystems at a low level of risk.
Ecosystem function and services: Functions are the biophysical processes that take place within an ecosystem. These can include fish and waterbird habitat, cycling carbon and trapping nutrients. Services are the beneficial outcomes that result from ecosystem functions, such as cleaner water and improved human health.
Ecosystem: A community of organisms that depend on each other and the environment they inhabit.
Ecotourism: Small-scale tourism in fragile and protected areas that aims to have a low impact on the environment, benefit local communities and enable tourists to learn more about the natural and cultural history of the place. See also sustainable tourism.
Feed: Food given to livestock on agricultural holdings. Organic feed ideally comes from the same farm as the animal, is produced without chemical synthetic pesticides and meets the animals’ nutritional and developmental needs.
Free range: An agricultural system favoured by organic farmers allowing animals ample outdoor space to wander about and feed at their leisure.
Effluent: Liquid wastes such as sewage and liquid waste from industries.
Electric vehicle: A vehicle that is driven by an electric motor or battery and is generally less noisy and less polluting than common combustion engine vehicles.
Emissions: In the context of the atmosphere, gases or particles released into the air that can contribute to global warming or poor air quality.
Emssions Trading Allowance: Pemission to emit to the atmosphere, one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent, during a specific trading period. Regulated by the EU Directives.
Endangered Species:species which are threatened with immediate extinction or extirpation if the factors which are threatening them continue to operate. Included are species whose numbers have been reduced to a critical level or whose habitats have been so drastically reduced that they are deemed to be in immediate danger of extinction.
Endemic Species:species which are documented to exist only in a specific area.
Energy efficiency: Actions to save fuels, for example better building design, changing production processes, developing better transport policies, using better road vehicles and using insulation and double glazing in homes.
Energy rating: A rating given to electrical appliances such as ovens, washing machines, dishwashers and refrigerators according to how much energy they use. Ratings are on a scale from A to G, with A-rated appliances using the least energy and G-rated needing the most.
Energy Star®: A voluntary international label that identifies appliances that meet certain standards of energy efficiency. Within the European Union, the label relates to office equipment such as computers and photocopiers.
Environmental Impact Assesment/Statement: Assesment or statement about the expected effects on the environment of a proposed project or development such as a new road or waste water treatment plant, including how any severe effects on the environment will be addressed. Google for more!
Environmental management systems (EMS): The part of the overall management system that includes organisational structure, planning activities, responsibilities, practices, procedures, processes and resources for developing, implementing, achieving, reviewing and maintaining an environmental policy.
Environmental water provisions (EWPs):The water regimes that are provided as a result of the water allocation decision-making process taking into account ecological, social and economic impacts. They may meet in part or in full the ecological water requirements.
Erosion:The process by which the land surface is detached and transported away by the action of water, wind, ice or gravity.
Ex-situ Conservation: the conservation of components of biological diversity outside their natural habitats. This includes such institutions as zoos, museums, botanical gardens, aquariums or gene banks.
Extinction Vortex: the end phase of an organism extinction process, in which time frame extinction becomes a mathematical certainty
Extinction: the process by which all individuals of a given organism cease to exist
Extirpated Species: species which are no longer found in the wild but exist elsewhere in the world.
First flush:Describes situations when contaminants (e.g. sediments) that have accumulated on impervious surfaces are transported at the beginning of a rainfall event. This results in high pollution concentrations at the start of the runoff hydrograph, reducing to lower levels before the flood peak occurs.
Flashiness:Where water levels rapidly peak and decline.
Floodplain:The portion of a waterway valley next to the channel which is covered with water when the waterway overflows its banks during major flow events.
Flora and fauna: The plants and animals that are native to a particular area or period of time.
Fossil fuels: Fuels- such as coal, gas, peat and oil – that are formed in the ground over a long time from dead plants and animals and are used up once they are burned for energy.
Fuel poverty: Being unable to heat a home to a safe and comfortable level because of low household income or having to spend more than 10% of household income to heat a home to a comfortable level because the home is not energy efficient.
Genetic Drift: is the change in the relative frequency in which a gene variant or allele occurs within a population; this change is often due to chance
Genetic Pollution: the process of modifying the gene pool of a taxon, usually by introduction of an alien species capable of interbreeding with the subject taxon
Geomorphology:Of, or relating to, the forms of the earth’s surface and the processes associated with them (e.g. erosion, weathering, transport and deposition).
Genetically modified organisms (GMO): Plants and animals with altered genetic material through scientific intervention which are banned in organic farming.
Global Environment Facility (GEF): A financial mechanism that provides grant and concessional funds to developing countries for projects and activities that aim to protect the global environment. It is jointly implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Bank.
Green bin: A wheelie bin used in certain local authorities to collect dry cardboard, paper, tins and other recyclable waste, including certain plastics.
Green design: A design, usually of a building, that includes environmentally-friendly features such as solar panels, skylights or recycled building materials.
Green manure crops: Plants grown to prevent soil erosion and nutrient leaching after harvesting, and to add nutrients and organic matter to the soil when being ploughed into the ground. Green manure crops are in regular use in organic farming.
Greenhouse effect: The warming of the Earth’s atmosphere caused by increasing levels of gases, such as water vapour and carbon dioxide. These gases absorb radiation emitted naturally from the ground, so slowing down the loss of energy from Earth. The greenhouse effect has always existed; without it, Earth would be too cold for plants, animals and people to survive. But because of the increase in greenhouse gas emissions in recent years, the greenhouse effect is a lot stronger, so leading to global warming.
Greenhouse gases: Gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, which tend to trap heat radiating from the Earth’s surface, so causing warming in the lower atmosphere. The major greenhouse gases that cause climate change are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (NO2). See also greenhouse effect and global warming.
Ground water: Water that collects or flows underground in the small spaces in soil and rock. It might be a source of water for springs and wells and then used for drinking water.
Groundwater dependent ecosystem (GDE):Those parts of the environment, the species composition and natural ecological processes that are determined by the permanent or temporary presence of water resources from within groundwater aquifers
Growth promoters: Additives such as antibiotics added to animal feed to increase the rate of growth and development of those animals. Growth promoters are prohibited in organic farming worldwide and in EU agriculture generally.
Habitat: The area occupied by a community or species (group of animals or plants), such as a forest floor, desert or sea shore.
Harmful Organisms: members of species which enter an ecosystem where they are not naturally known to exist—that is, invasive species—through deliberate or inadvertent introduction by humans and pose a threat to native species.
Hazardous waste: Waste that poses a risk to human health or the environment and needs to be handled and disposed of carefully. Examples include oil-based paints, car batteries, weed killers/herbicides, bleach and waste electrical and electronic devices.
Hedges: Rows of shrub-like vegetation forming living boundaries around agricultural fields. Hedges are used in organic farming to foster biodiversity and protect against wind erosion and water runoff. Similar to balks, tree lines in biodiversity and landscape restoration/conservation context.
Herbicides: Syntetic chemicals applied to agricultural fields to kill unwanted weeds or other plants growing among commercial or animal feed crops. Chemical synthetic herbicides are prohibited in organic farming.
Household waste: Waste that contains paper, cardboard, textiles (for example fabric or carpet), timber, food, garden clippings, glass, plastic and other manufactured materials.
Humus/PEAT: The organic substance created from decayed or decaying plant or animal matter, which provides nutrients for plant growth and improves soil structure. Humus is one of the primary means of boosting fertility in organic production.
Hydrologic balance: an accounting of all water inflow into, outflow from and changes in water storage within a hydrologic unit over a specified period of time
Hydrologic regime:A description of the variation of flow rate or water level over time.
Hydrological cycle:The continual cycle of water between the land, the ocean and the atmosphere.
Hydrology: The science of the behaviour of water in the atmosphere, on the surface of the earth and within the soil and underlying rocks. This includes the relationship between rainfall, runoff, infiltration and evaporation.
In-situ Conservation: the conservation of ecosystems and natural habitats and the maintenance and recovery of viable populations of species in their natural surroundings and, in the case of domesticated or cultivated species, in the surroundings where they have developed their distinctive characteristics.
Incinerator/ Waste Buring: A furnace that is designed to burn waste at very high temperatures under controlled conditions and is licensed by national regulatory authorities. Most modern and efficient incinerator generate heat and energy from burning waste.
Infiltration: The movement of water from the surface to the subsoil and at times, ultimately to the underlying aquifer.
Insulation: In this guide, material such as foam or glass wool that is used in homes and other buildings to prevent heat loss, reduce noise and improve comfort.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM): a holistic or integrated approach to controlling the risks and damage associated with natural predators, diseases and pests. It involves using site-specific information to determine the most effective combination of physical, chemical, biological, or cultural practices to reduce damage while reducing impacts on the environment, biological diversity and human health. In agriculture, this means a farmer can use a combination of tillage practices or crop rotations, intercropping, crop mixes, or strip isolation, with certain chemical or biological control products, to effectively control damage to crops and animals while having minimal impact on humans and the environment.
Integrated water cycle management (IWCM):The integration of water supply, sewerage and stormwater, so that water is used optimally within a catchment resource, State and national policy context. It promotes the coordinated planning, development and management of water, land and related resources (including energy use) that are linked to urban areas and the application of WSUD principles within the built urban environment. HYRDO
Kyoto Protocol, Kyoto agreement: An international agreement signed in Japan in 1997, attached to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Under the agreement, which has been in force in Ireland since 2005, industrialised countries promised to reduce their combined greenhouse gas emissions to at least 5 percent below 1990 levels over the period 2008-2012. See also UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Landfill: A site that is specially designed to dispose of waste.
Landscape: A complex of terrestrial ecosystems in geographically defined areas.
Litter: Waste that is thrown away carelessly, mainly made up of plastic, metal, glass, paper or food. Common examples are chewing gum and cigarette butts.
Living Modified Organisms: Those organisms that have been genetically modified through the application of biotechnology including organisms that have been modified by novel recombinant DNA techniques as well as those that have been modified by mutagenesis or classical breeding and selection techniques.
Loading: The total mass of a contaminant discharged during a runoff event.
MBT: Short for ‘mechanical biological treatment’, which is a way of sorting and treating waste. The waste is first sorted mechanically into materials that can and cannot be recycled. Any waste that can be recycled is then broken down biologically, often through composting, while the rest is usually sent to landfill. See also composting.
Monitoring and evaluation program in hydrology: Development of monitoring and evaluation activities to determine the success or otherwise of measures put in place as part of stormwater management projects.
Monitoring: The collection of data by various methods for the purpose of understanding natural systems and features, evaluating the impacts of development proposals on such systems, and assessing the performance of mitigation measures.
Mulch: Leaves, straw or compost used to cover growing plants to protect them from the wind or cold.
Multiple use corridors:Facilities performing a range of functions (e.g. stormwater management, landscape, recreation and wildlife habitat).
Municipal waste: Waste produced in urban areas, mainly made up of household waste but also some small commercial waste that is similar to household waste.
Mutagenesis: A process whereby the genetic information of an organism is changed in a stable, heritable manner, either in nature or induced experimentally via the use of chemicals or radiation. In agriculture, these genetic changes are used to improve agronomically useful traits.
Mutualism: Relationship between 2 species beneficial to both (e.g. host = plant; symbiont = bee).
Market channels: Ways by which products are made available for purchase to consumers. Market channels for organic food and drink are very diverse. Google: Local Food Chains
Meadows: Areas of grassland with diverse low level plants used for light grazing are protected by organic farmers, to promote biodiversity.
Mutilation: In agriculture, the removal or reduction of tails, horns, beaks and other body parts of animals is applied to prevent disease or injury in confined conditions. Organic farming restricts this practice and employs free range systems that make it unnecessary.
Natural Resources Accounting: Accounting for the state and quality of the environment and the natural resource base by bringing the environment into national accounting through deductions from the gross domestic product for various aspects of environmental degradation such as the value of pollution abatement and control expenditure, the value of environmental damage during the accounting period and the depletion of natural resources.
Necromass: The weight of dead organisms, usually expressed per unit of land or volume of water. The term is sometimes used to include the dead parts of living organisms, e.g. the bark and heartwood of trees, the hair and claws of animals.
Noise pollution: Noises that disturb the environment and people’s ability to enjoy it, for example continually sounding house alarms, loud music, air conditioning or other electrical units and aircraft or motor engines.
Non-point source pollution: Pollution from different sources without a single point of origin or specific discharge point .
Non-renewable Resources: Such resources as minerals, metals, natural gas and oil, whose reserves are depleted by their use.
Noxious gases: Poisonous gases that can harm people and the environment. Some gases have a strong smell, for example sulphur dioxide and methane, while others, such as carbon monoxide, do not have any smell at all.
Nutrients: Essential chemicals such as nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) needed by plants and animals for growth. Excessive amounts of nutrients can lead to degradation of water quality and algal blooms.
Nutrition: Achieving a desirable level of livestock nutrition is one of the primary goals of organic farming. Access to roughage for all animals is essential in organic farming.
Legumes: A family of plants including peas, beans, clover and lupins grown for animal and human consumption and as green manure crops (see above). Legumes are particularly useful in organic farming because they “fix” atmospheric nitrogen into the soil.
Oil spill: The harmful release of oil into the environment, usually through water, which is very difficult to clean up and often kills birds, fish and other wildlife.
Organic food: Plants and animals that are grown or reared without the use of synthetic fertilisers, pesticides or hormones.
Overland flow: The component of rainfall (excess) that is not removed by infiltration or use and discharges down-gradient as surface flow .
Ozone layer: The thin protective layer of gas 10 to 50km above the Earth that acts as a filter for ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. High UV levels can lead to skin cancer and cataracts and affect the growth of plants.
Parasitism: One member (parasite) lives in or on the living body (epi-/endoparasite) of a plant or animal.
Particulate matter: Fine solid or liquid particles that pollute the air and are added to the atmosphere by natural and man-made processes at the Earth’s surface. Examples of particulate matter include dust, smoke, soot, pollen and soil particles.
Pay by weight: A system in which the amount you pay for bin collections depends on the amount of waste you throw away. The more waste you reduce, reuse, recycle or compost, the less you pay for waste disposal.
Peak discharge rate: The maximum instantaneous rate of flow during a runoff event.
Peak flow: Maximum flow rate in a flood.
Permeable soils: Soil materials with sufficiently rapid infiltration rate, therefore reducing or eliminating stormwater runoff. Coarse textured soils tend to have large, well-connected pore spaces and therefore high permeability.
Pest Control Products: Those classes of substances which are generally referred to as insecticides, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, germicides, nematicides, bactericides, viricides that are either of a chemical or biological nature.
Pesticides: A general term for any chemicals that are used to kill weeds, fungi, insects or other pests.
pH: A measure of the hydrogen ion concentration of water or wastewater; expressed as the negative log of the hydrogen ion concentration [H+]. A pH of 7 is neutral, pH less than 7 is acidic and pH greater than 7 is basic.
Planning permission: Permission granted by a local authority for new buildings or for extensions, once nobody objects to the plans.
Plastic bag levy: An environmental tax that customers must pay when they accept a plastic or laminated bag from a retailer. There is no tax on small bags, such as those for fresh meat or loose fruit and vegetables. Money raised from the tax is put into a special fund that is used to protect the environment.
Point source pollution: Contamination from a localised source, such as leaky storage tanks and drums or sewage discharge.
Pollutant retention: The proportion of pollutant load intercepted and retained by a device, either on an event or annual basis .
Polluter Pays Principle: Polluter Pays Principle (PPP) is an environmental policy principle which requires that the costs of pollution be borne by those who cause it. In its original emergence the Polluter Pays Principle aims at determining how the costs of pollution prevention and control must be allocated: the polluter must pay. Its immediate goal is that of internalizing the environmental externalities of economic activities, so that the prices of goods and services fully reflect the costs of production. Four versions of the PPP have been identified: economically, it promotes efficiency; legally, it promotes justice; it promotes harmonization of international environmental policies; it defines how to allocate costs within a State. The normative scope of the PPP has evolved over time to include also accidental pollution prevention, control and clean-up costs, in what is referred to as extended Polluter Pays Principle. Today the Principle is a generally recognized principle of International Environmental Law, and it is a fundamental principle of environmental policy of both the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Community.
Population Bottleneck: a phenomenon in population biology where a species has been reduced to sufficiently small numbers of individuals that the gene pool lacks robustness to combat environmental fluctuations in predators, climate or other factors.
Post-consumer waste: Waste collected after a consumer has disposed of it, for example sweet wrappers or packaging from small electronic goods such as mobile phones or MP3 players.
Potable water: Water generally considered suitable for human consumption.
Precautionary principle: If there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation.
Processing: The procedure of turning raw plant and animal ingredients into feed and food, more complex and desirable products for human consumption. The organic processing sector echoes organic farming’s restrictions on artificial inputs.
Processing aids: Substances used for the processing of feed and food, which are afterwards not contained in the final products. Organic processing allows only a few processing aids.
Production of biomass/bio-material: Gross Primary P: (GPP) The total fixation of energy by photosynthesis in a region. Net Primary P.: (NPP) The total energy accumulated by plants during photosynthesis (gross primary production minus respiration). Primary P.: The rate at which biomass is produced per unit area by plants. Secondary P.: The rate at which biomass is produced per unit area by heterotrophic/consumers organisms.
Receiving environment: Areas that receive runoff, including wetlands, waterways, groundwater and bushland areas.
Receiving water bodies: Include waterways, wetlands, coastal marine areas and shallow groundwater aquifers.
Recharge: Water infiltrating to replenish an aquifer.
Recycle: To break waste items down into their raw materials, which are then used to re-make the original item or make new items.
Reforestation: The process of planting trees in forest lands to replace those that have been cut down.
Rehabilitation: the return of a species, population or ecosystem to a healthy, functioning state.
Renewable energy: Energy from renewable resources such as wind power, solar energy or biomass.
Renewable resource: A resource that can be used again and again without reducing its supply because it is constantly topped up, for example wind or sun rays.
Resilience: Resilience is defined as “the capacity of an ecosystem to tolerate disturbance without collapsing into a different state that is controlled by a different set of processes. A resilient ecosystem can withstand shocks and rebuild itself when necessary.”
Resistance: The ease or difficulty of changing an ecosystem; how “resistant” it is to being changed
Resource Harvesting: the harvesting of biological resources for the purpose of subsistence or economic gain. Includes both aquatic and terrestrial resources.
Restoration: the return of a species, population or ecosystem to its state prior to disturbance or degradation caused by human activities.
Retention/retain: Retention is defined as the process of preventing rainfall runoff from being discharged into receiving water bodies by holding it in a storage area. The water may then infiltrate into groundwater, evaporate or be removed by evapotranspiration of vegetation.
Reuse: To use an item more than once for the same purpose, which helps save money, time, energy and resources.
Riffles: High points in a stream or river channel representing bedrock bars or accumulations of relatively coarse material. Water flow is typically relatively shallow, fast and rough over riffles.
Riparian/Riparian areas: An area of land directly influenced by water. An ecosystem that is transitional between land and water ecosystems.
Riparian vegetation: Vegetation growing within the channel and the along banks of waterways, extending laterally away from the bank and ending at the extent of the floodplain.
Risk assessment: The process of risk analysis and risk evaluation. The chances of something happening that will have an impact on objectives. It is measured in terms of consequences and likelihood.
River basin: The portion of land drained by a river and the streams that flow into it. The quality of a river basin affects the quality of water, so efforts to protect and improve water quality must often include plans for managing river basins.
River channel: The bed and banks of a stream or river that carries all flows except floods.
Riverine: Relating to or resembling a river. Located on or inhabiting the banks of a river or riparian area.
Ruderal: plant species adapted to sites with recent disturbance. Some characteristics of ruderal species are – a potentially high relative growth rate during the seedling phase, early onset of flowering, self-pollination, rapid maturation and release of seeds, and sustained seed production at expense of ability for competition and tolerance to stress.
Runoff: Water that flows over the surface of a catchment area.
Sediment: Solid fragment of organic and inorganic material that is transported, suspended and/or deposited by water and wind.
Sedimentation: The physical process of settling of suspended particulates under the force of gravity .
Sewage: Liquid wastes from communities, which may be a mixture of domestic effluent from homes and liquid waste from industry.
Smog: Air pollution consisting of smoke and fog, which occurs in large urban and industrial areas and is mainly caused by the action of sunlight on burned fuels, mostly from car exhausts. Smog can cause eye irritations and breathing problems and damage plant life.
Smokeless fuel: Solid fuel, such as charcoal, that does not release smoke when it is burned.
Soil erosion: The removal of soil by wind and water, which can be accelerated through tillage. Organic farming counteracts soil erosion by improving organic content and soil structure and by using green manure, hedges (see above) and native vegetation.
Soil stabilization: The use of measures or materials, such as rock lining or vegetation, to prevent the movement of soil when loads are applied to the soil. Riparian Management
Solar panel/PV: A panel fixed to the roof of a building that uses special cells to collect energy from the sun and convert it to electricity to heat the building and/or power the lights, appliances or equipment.
Stand density index: a relative measure of competition in a forest stand based on number of trees per unit area and average tree size.
Stand: a biotic community, particularly of trees, possessing sufficient uniformity of composition, age, and spatial arrangement to be distinguishable from adjacent communities. Stand structure refers to the composition, age, and arrangement of the trees in a delimited biotic community.
Standing charges: Fixed fees that must be paid for a certain period, often a year, to continue receiving a service. Examples include standing charges for bin collections or gas supply. Other charges may apply depending on the use of the service over a given period of time.
Stewardship: caring for land and associated resources and maintaining healthy ecosystems for future generations.
Stocking level: The number of livestock per hectare grazed on a particular agricultural field. Organic farmers prefer a low stocking level, to minimize stress, pest and disease pressure, soil compaction and erosion, and to improve farmland biodiversity.
Sub-catchment: A topographically defined area drained by a tributary of a primary stream.
Succession: the ecological process of sequential replacement by plant communities on a given site as a result of differential reproduction and competition.
Succession: The orderly progression of changes in a community composition that occurs during development of vegetation in any area; from initial colonization to the attainment of the climax typical of a particular geographic area. To be differentiated: Micro : A dying tree, for example forced by winds to break causes a successional chain of events (also known as degrative succession). Autotropic: A temporal succession of species location principally involving plants. Allogenic: A temporal succession of species at a location that is driven by external influences which alter conditions (contrary to autogenic); e.g. silt deposits changes a marshland to woodland. Autogenic: A temporal succession of species at a location that is driven by processes operating with the community (contrary to allogenic), e.g. primary and secondary succession, that occur on newly exposed land. Degraditive.: Degradable resources (feces, dead organisms) are utilized successively by a number of species; there is a link between succession on plant litter and soil formation. Heterotrophic: A temporal succession of species at a location, principally involving animals. Primary: Soon after a region is denuded, a variety of pioneer species begin to colonize the bare ground and they modify the environmental conditions (e.g. a retreating glacier, early organisms provide the soils needed by succesing organisms – facilitation). Secondary: follows major changes to an established ecosystem. Catastrophic weather events, fire, or human activities all disturb the environment. After such an event on land, well-developed soil remains, giving pioneer species an easy foothold, but also on abandoned agricultural areas.
Surface water: Water that is collected on the ground or in a stream, river, lake, wetland or sea.
Suspended solids:Organic or inorganic particles that are suspended and transported by water. This includes sand, mud and clay particles (and associated contaminants).
Sustainable Harvest Rate – the rate of harvest that is within an ecosystem’s natural ability to recover and regenerate.
Sustainable tourism: A form of tourism that meets the needs of current tourists and host communities while protecting and enhancing tourism for the future by balancing economic and social needs with a respect for different cultures and the environment.
Sustained yield: the perpetual output of a renewable resource, achieved and maintained at a given management intensity, without impairment of the productivity of the land.
Symbiosis: The living together of two organisms of different species.
TES: threatened, endangered, or sensitive species.
Thinning: the silvicultural/forest managment practice of removing selected trees in a stand to reduce competition for light, water, and nutrients and thereby promote the growth and survival of remaining trees.
Threatened species: any species that is likely to become an endangered species with the foreseeable future through all or a significant portion of its range.
Traditional Ecological Knowledge: knowledge of the conservation and sustainable use of an environment gained from generations of living and working within that environment. Such knowledge may relate, among other things, to the harvest of resources, the planting of agricultural crops or the use of natural herbs and other material for medicinal purposes.
Traffic calming/traffic management: Policies, rules or actions by a local authority designed to reduce traffic speed or limit the amount of traffic in an area at certain times of day.
Tributary: Tributary or affluent is a stream or river that flows into a main stem (or parent) river or a lake. A tributary does not flow directly into a sea or ocean. Tributaries and the main stem river serve to drain the surrounding drainage basin of its surface water and groundwater by leading the water out into an ocean or sea. A confluence, where two or more bodies of water meet together, usually refers to the joining of tributaries. HYDRO
Triple-bottom-line assessment/approach: A process which uses multi-criteria analysis to evaluate the economic, social and ecological costs and benefits of possible Best Management Practices.
UN Framework Convention on Climate Change: An international treaty joined by 192 countries that has the goal of preventing ‘dangerous’ human interference with the climate system and sets general rules for tackling climate change.
Urban: Land used for residential, rural-residential, commercial or industrial development.
Utility (public): A company that provides the public with essentials such as electricity or water.
Waste management: The management of waste collection, handling, processing, storage and transport from where it is produced to where it is finally disposed.
Waste prevention: An aspect of waste management that involves reducing the amount of waste we produce and minimising the potential harm to human health or the environment from packaging or ingredients in products.
Water dependent ecosystems:Those parts of the environment, the species composition and natural ecological processes of which are determined by the permanent or temporary presence of water resources, including flowing or standing water and water within groundwater aquifers.
Waterbodies:Waterways, wetlands, coastal marine areas and shallow groundwater aquifers.
Watercourses: A river, stream or creek in which water flows in a natural channel, whether permanently or intermittently.
Amount of extracted water irretrievably lost during its use (by evaporation and goods production). Water consumption is equal to water withdrawal minus return flow.
Water productivity: The ratio of crop seed produced per unit water applied. In the case of irrigation, see irrigation water-use efficiency. For rainfed crops, water productivity is typically 1 t/100 mm.
Water stress: An area or country is water-stressed if the available freshwater supply relative to water withdrawals acts as an important constraint on development. Withdrawals exceeding 20% of renewable water supply have been used as an indicator of water stress. A crop is water-stressed if soil-available water, and thus actual evapotranspiration, is less than potential evapotranspiration demands.
Water-use efficiency: Carbon gain in photosynthesis per unit water lost in evapotranspiration. It can be expressed on a short-term basis as the ratio of photosynthetic carbon gain per unit transpirational water loss, or on a seasonal basis as the ratio of net primary production or agricultural yield to the amount of available water.
Waterscapes: complexes of aquatic ecosystems in geographically defined areas.
Watershed: an area of land with a characteristic drainage network that contributes surface or ground water to flow at a designated location; a drainage basin or a major subdivision of a drainage basin.
Wetlands: Areas of seasonally, intermittently or permanently waterlogged or inundated land, whether natural or otherwise, including lakes and floodplains. Google: Ramsar Convention, bogs, marshes, swamps, peat;
Wide Crop Rotation: The regular shifting of different crops in agricultural fields over many years to discourage pest and disease build-up and add valuable nutrients. Legumes, for example, provide nitrogen for use by subsequent crops.
Wind energy: Energy harnessed from the wind at wind farms and converted to power. See also wind turbine.
Wind turbine: An engine or machine, usually mounted on a tower, that captures the force of the wind and converts it to electricity.
Zero emissions: An engine, motor or other energy source that does not produce any gas or release any harmful gases directly into the environment.