This glossary is compiled from citations in dif- States), Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, Illinois
ferent chapters, and draws from glossaries and Clean Coal Institute (United States), National
other resources available on the websites of the Safety Council (United States), Natsource (United
following organizations, networks and projects: States), The Organisation for Economic Co-oper-
American Meteorological Society, Center for ation and Development, Professional
Transportation Excellence (United States), Development for Livelihoods (United Kingdom),
Charles Darwin University (Australia), Consulta- SafariX eTextbooks Online, Redefining Progress
tive Group on International Agricultural Research, (United States), The Edwards Aquifer Web-
Convention on Wetlands of International Impor- site (United States), TheFreeDictionary.com,
tance especially as Waterfowl Habitat, Europe’s The World Bank, UN Convention to Combat
Information Society, European Environment Desertification in Countries Experiencing Seri-
Agency, European Nuclear Society, Food and ous Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly
Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, in Africa, UN Development Programme, UN
Foundation for Research, Science and Technol- Framework Convention on Climate Change,
ogy (New Zealand), Global Footprint Network, UN Industrial Development Organization, UN
GreenFacts Glossary, Intergovernmental Panel Statistics Division, US Department of Agriculture,
on Climate Change, International Centre for US Department of the Interior, US Department of
Research in Agroforestry, International Compari- Transportation, US Energy Information Administra-
son Programme, International Research Institute tion, US Environmental Protection Agency, US
for Climate and Society at Columbia University Geological Survey, Water Quality Association
(United States), International Strategy for Disaster (United States), Wikipedia and World Health
Reduction, Lyme Disease Foundation (United Organization.
Abundance The number of individuals or related measure of quantity (such as biomass) in a population, com-
munity or spatial unit.
Acidification Change in environment’s natural chemical balance caused by an increase in the concentration of
Adaptation Adjustment in natural or human systems to a new or changing environment, including anticipatory
and reactive adaptation, private and public adaptation, and autonomous and planned adaptation.
(also nonnative, non-
Species introduced outside its normal distribution.
Aquaculture The farming of aquatic organisms in inland and coastal areas, involving intervention in the rear-
ing process to enhance production and the individual or corporate ownership of the stock being
Aquatic ecosystem Basic ecological unit composed of living and non-living elements interacting in an aqueous milieu.
Aquifer An underground geological formation or group of formations, containing usable amounts of
groundwater that can supply wells and springs.
Benthic organism The biota living on or very near the bottom of the sea, river or lake.
Biocapacity The capacity of ecosystems to produce useful biological materials and to absorb waste materials
generated by humans, using current management schemes and extraction technologies. The bioca-
pacity of an area is calculated by multiplying the actual physical area by the yield factor and the
appropriate equivalence factor. Biocapacity is usually expressed in units of global hectares.
66 VITAL GEO GRAPHICS