Land use The human use of land for a certain purpose. Influenced by, but not synonymous with, land cover.
Lead markets for Countries that are earlier in the introduction of environmental innovation and with more widespread
environmental in- diffusion of the innovations. If these countries serve as an example or model for other countries and
novations their innovations are distributed elsewhere as well, these countries are lead markets.
Mainstreaming Mainstreaming the environment into development policy making means that environmental consid-
erations are considered in the design of policies for development.
Mitigation Structural and non-structural measures undertaken to limit the adverse impact of natural hazards,
environmental degradation and technological hazards.
Monitoring (environ- Continuous or regular standardized measurement and observation of the environment (air, water,
mental) soil, land use, biota).
Treaties, conventions, protocols and contracts among several states to jointly agree on activities
regarding specified environmental problems.
Natural capital Natural assets in their role of providing natural resource inputs and environmental services for
economic production. Natural capital includes land, minerals and fossil fuels, solar energy, water,
living organisms, and the services provided by the interactions of all these elements in ecological
Nitrogen deposition The input of reactive nitrogen, mainly derived from nitrogen oxides and ammonia emissions, from
the atmosphere into the biosphere.
Nutrient loading Quantity of nutrients entering an ecosystem in a given period of time.
Nutrients The approximately 20 chemical elements known to be essential for the growth of living organisms,
including nitrogen, sulphur, phosphorous and carbon.
Organizations Bodies of individuals with a specified common objective. Organizations could be political organi-
zations (political parties, governments and ministries), economic organizations (federations of
industry), social organizations (NGOs and self-help groups) or religious organizations (church and
religious trusts). The term organizations should be distinguished from institutions.
Overexploitation The excessive use of raw materials without considering the long-term ecological impacts of such
Ozone layer Very dilute atmospheric concentration of ozone found at an altitude of 10-50 kilometres above the
Ozone-depletion A relative index indicating the extent to which a chemical may cause ozone depletion. The refer-
potential ence level of 1 is the potential of CFC-11 and CFC-12 to cause ozone depletion.
Ozone-depleting Any substance with an ozone depletion potential greater than 0 that can deplete the stratospheric
substance (ODS) ozone layer.
Persistent environ- Some of the basic science about cause-and-effect relationships is known, but often not enough
mental problems to predict when a turning point or a point of no return will be reached, or exactly how human
well-being will be affected. The sources of the problem are quite diffuse and often multisectoral,
potential victims are often quite remote from the sources, extremely complex multi-scale ecological
processes may be involved, there may be a long time between causes and impacts, and there is a
need to implement measures on a very large scale (usually global or regional). Examples include
global climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion, persistent organic pollutants and heavy met-
als, extinction of species, ocean acidification, and introduction of alien species.
Persistent organic Chemicals that remain intact in the environment for long periods, become widely distributed geo-
pollutants (POPs) graphically, accumulate in the fatty tissue of living organisms and are toxic to people and wildlife.
POPs circulate globally and can cause damage wherever they travel.
Policy Any form of intervention or societal response. This includes not only statements of intent, such as
a water policy or forest policy, but also other forms of intervention, such as the use of economic
instruments, market creation, subsidies, institutional reform, legal reform, decentralization and
institutional development. Policy can be seen as a tool for the exercise of governance. When such
an intervention is enforced by the state, it is called public policy.
Pollutant Any substance that causes harm to the environment when it mixes with soil, water or air.
70 VITAL GEO GRAPHICS