ADAPTIVE GOVERNANCE: Governance approaches that are collaborative, flexible and learning-based and rely on networks of people and organisations at multiple levels.
ANTHROPOCENE: The Age of Man, a new name for the present geological epoch defined by our own massive impact on the planet’s climate and ecosystems. Coined in 2000 by Nobel Laureate Paul Crutzen.
BIODIVERSITY: Short for biological diversity – the variety of all forms of life on earth, including the variability within and between species and within and between ecosystems.
BIOSPHERE: The sphere of all air, water and land on the planet in which all life is found; the global ecological system integrating all living beings and their relationships. Ecosystem: all the organisms in a given area, along with the physical environment with which they interact (e.g. a forest, a coral reef or a rock-pool).
ECOSYSTEM-BASED MANAGEMENT: A management approach that recognises the full array of interactions within an ecosystem, including humans, rather than considering single issues, species or ecosystem services in isolation.
ECOSYSTEM SERVICES: The benefits people obtain from ecosystems, e.g. Provision of clean water, regulation of climate, pollination of crops and fulfilment of people’s cultural needs.
GREAT ACCELERATION: refers to the dramatic acceleration of human enterprise after World War II and the resulting pressure on the global environment.
HOLOCENE: The postglacial geological period, this began approximately 9600 BC and continues to the present.
INSTITUTIONS: A central concept within the social science of natural resource management whereby institutions are defined as the norms and rules governing human interactions. These can be formal, such as rules and laws, but also informal (unwritten), such as norms and conventions of society.
MILLENNIUM ECOSYSTEM ASSSSMENT: Global review launched by the UN and carried out between 2001 and 2005 to assess the consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being.
NATURAL CAPITAL: An extension of the traditional economic notion of capital, coined to represent the natural assets that economists, governments and corporations tend to leave off the balance sheets. I t can be divided into non-renewable resources (e.g. Fossil fuels), renewable resources (e.g. fish) and services (e.g. pollination).
PLANETARY BOUNDARIES: A concept developed by a group of researchers in 2009 to describe nine safe biophysical boundaries outside which the e earth s system cannot be pushed without disastrous consequences.
RESILIENCE: The capacity of a system – be it a forest, city or economy – to deal with change and continue to develop; withstanding shocks and disturbances (such as climate change or financial crises) and using such events to catalyse renewal and innovation.
SOCIAL-ECOLOGICAL SYSTEM: An integrated system of people and nature with reciprocal feedback and interdependence. The concept emphasizes the humans-in- nature perspective and that delineation between the social and ecological is artificial and arbitrary.
SOCIAL INNOVATION: An initiative, product, process or programme that profoundly changes the basic routines, resource and authority flows or beliefs of any social system. Social-ecological innovation: social innovation, including new technology, strategies, concepts, ideas, institutions and organizations that enhance the capacity of ecosystems to generate services and help steer away from multiple earth-system thresholds.
TRANSFORMATION: The creation of a fundamentally new system when ecological, economic or social conditions make the continuation of the existing system untenable.