CHM Biodiversity

Glossary
A
A-weighted decibel - Decibels with the sound pressure scale adjusted to conform with the frequency response of the human ear. A sound level meter that measures A-weighted decibels has an electrical circuit that allows the meter to have the same sensitivity to sound at different frequencies as the average human ear. There are also B-weighted and C-weighted scales, but the A-weighted scale is the one most commonly used for measuring loud noise.
AOT40 - The sum of the differences between hourly ozone concentration and 40 ppb for each hour when the concentration exceeds 40 ppb during a relevant growing season, e.g. for forest and crops.
Aarhus Convention - The convention on access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters was adopted at Fourth Ministerial Conference "Environment for Europe" in Aarhus, Denmark, on 25 June 1998. Objective of the Convention is to contribute to the protection of the right of every person of present and future generations to live in an environment adequate to his or her health and well-being, each Contracting Party to this convention shall guarantee the rights of access to information, public participation in decision-making, and access to justice in environmental matters in accordance with the provisions of this Convention.
Agreement on the conservation of small cetaceans of the Baltic and North Seas - Agreement concluded in 1991, under the auspices of the Bonn Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (UNEP/CMS) to coordinate and implement conservation measures for dolphins, porpoises and other toothed whales in the Baltic and North Seas. Currently (year 2002) eight European countries - Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and the United Kingdom - are parties to the agreement.
Air Pollution and Health: A European Information System
Air Quality Daughter Directives
Air Quality Framework Directive - Directive 96/62/EC on ambient air quality assessment and management. It provides a framework for setting in daughter-directives limit values for a range of pollutants, for assessing their concentrations and for managing air quality to avoid and prevent any exceedances of these limit values.
AirView - Airview (air quality visualisation instrument for Europe on the web) allows to query Airbase and visualise air quality data (raw data or statistics) in the form of maps, graphs or tables.
Airbase - EEA air quality database. Air quality information and information on monitoring networks and stations, as collected by the European Topic Centre on Air Quality, is stored and made widely available by means of a three-layer information system Airbase, accessible on the Internet.
Arctic Climate Impact Assessment
Arctic Council Action Plan
Arctic monitoring and assessment programme - The Arctic monitoring and assessment programme (AMAP) was established in 1991 to implement certain components of the Arctic environmental protection strategy (AEPS). The primary objectives of AMAP are: 'to provide reliable and sufficient information on the status of, and threats to, the Arctic environment, and to provide scientific advice on actions to be taken in order to support Arctic governments in their efforts to take remedial and preventive actions relating to contaminants.'
Areas of Special Conservation Interest
Armenian dram
Asia-Europe Foundation
Asian Development Bank
abatement - Reducing the degree or intensity of, or eliminating, pollution.
absorption - The uptake of water, other fluids, or dissolved chemicals by a cell or an organism (as tree roots absorb dissolved nutrients in soil).
absorption barrier - Any exposure surface that may allow diffusion of an agent into a target. Examples of absorption barriers are the skin, lung tissue, and gastrointestinal track wall.
accession countries - Countries in the process for accession to the European Union.
accident - An unexpected occurrence, failure or loss with the potential for harming human life, property or the environment.
acid deposition - Any form of deposition on water, land and other surfaces that increases their acidity by contamination with acid pollutants, such as sulphur oxides, sulphates, nitrogen oxides and nitrates, and ammonium compounds. The deposition can be either dry (as in the adsorption of acid pollutants to particles) or wet (as in acid precipitation).
acid precipitation - Any form of precipitation that carries chemicals (mainly sulphur oxides, sulphates, nitrogen oxides and nitrates, and ammonium compounds) that may cause acidification of surface waters, soils and ecosystems.
acid rain - Rain having a pH less than 5.6. The acidity results from chemical reactions occurring when water, sulphur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides, generally released by industrial processes, are chemically transformed into sulphuric and nitric acids.
acidification - Change in an environment's natural chemical balance caused by an increase in the concentration of acidic elements.
acidifying compounds - The progenitors of the compounds that contribute to the problem of acidification, such as sulphur oxides, sulphates, nitrogen oxides and nitrates, and ammonium compounds
active ingredient - In any pesticide product, the component that kills, or otherwise controls, target pests. Pesticides are regulated primarily on the basis of active ingredients.
acute exposure - A contact between an agent and a target occurring over a short time, generally less than a day.
adsorption - Removal of a pollutant from air or water by collecting the pollutant on the surface of a solid material; e.g. an advanced method of treating waste in which activated carbon removes organic matter from wastewater.
advanced wastewater treatment - The process which remove pollutants not adequately removed by secondary treatment, particularly nitrogen and phosphorus; accomplished by means of sand filters, microstraining, or other methods. Similar to tertiary treatment.
aerosol - System of solid or liquid particles suspended in a gaseous medium, having a negligible falling velocity.
afforestation - The establishment of a forest, stand or tree crop on an area not previously forested, or on land from which forest cover has very long been absent.
agri-environment scheme - Agri-environment schemes are Government programmes set up to help farmers manage their land in an environmentally-friendly way. Agri-environmental schemes are important for the conservation of farmed environments of high nature value, for improved genetic diversity and for protection of agro-ecosystems.
agri-environmental indicator - An indicator aiming at giving synthesised information on complex interactions between agriculture and environment.
agricultural land - The sum of area under arable land, permanent crops and permanent pastures.
agricultural structure - The characteristics of the farm sector; most often used in describing changes in the number, size distribution, production traits, and business composition (i.e. type of ownership) of farms and agribusiness firms.
agrobiodiversity - That component of biodiversity that contributes to food and agriculture production. The term agrobiodiversity encompasses within-species, species and ecosystem diversity.
agrochemical - Agricultural chemical used in crop and food production including pesticide, feed additive, veterinary drug and related compounds.
agroecosystem - A dynamic association of crops, pastures, livestock, other flora and fauna, atmosphere, soils, and water. Agroecosystems are contained within larger landscapes that include uncultivated land, drainage networks, rural communities, and wildlife.
agroforestry - Land-use system in which woody perennials are maintained or planted, in some form of spatial arrangement or temporal sequence, on the same land as agricultural crops and/or livestock.
air emission - Discharge of pollutants into the atmosphere from stationary sources such as smokestacks, and other vents, and from surface areas of commercial or industrial facilities and mobile sources, for example, motor vehicles, locomotives and aircrafts.
air pollutant - Substance in air that could, at high enough concentrations, harm human beings, animals, vegetation or material. Air pollutants may thus include forms of matter of almost any natural or artificial composition capable of being airborne. They may consist of solid particles, liquid droplets or gases, or combinations of these forms.
air pollution - The presence of contaminant or pollutant substances in the air at a concentration that interferes with human health or welfare, or produces other harmful environmental effects.
air pollution index
air quality managment - Regulate, plan and work toward the accomplishment of completion of stated goals, objectives and mission pertaining to air quality.
air quality standard - Levels of air pollutants prescribed by regulations that may not be exceeded during a specified time in a defined area.
aircraft - Any structure, machine, or contrivance, especially a vehicle, designed to be supported by the air, either by the dynamic action of the air upon the surfaces of the structure or object or by its own buoyancy.
aircraft noise - Effective sound output of the various sources of noise associated with aircraft operation, such as propeller and engine exhaust, jet noise, and sonic boom.
alert threshold - The EU has defined an Alert threshold of 240 µg ozone per m3 air. Any exceedance of this threshold should be reported by the Member State in which it occurs to the European Commission. The threshold reflects a 'level beyond which there is a risk to human health from brief exposure for the general population'. When the threshold is exceeded, national authorities are required to inform the public and give advice. See also Information threshold.
algal bloom (harmful) - Harmful algal blooms (HAB) can occur when certain types of microscopic algae grow quickly in water, forming visible patches that may harm the health of the environment, plants, or animals. HABs can deplete the oxygen and block the sunlight that other organisms need to live, and some HAB-causing algae release toxins that are dangerous to animals and humans. HABs can occur in marine, estuarine, and fresh waters.
alien species - A species occurring in an area outside of its historically known natural range as a result of intentional or accidental dispersal by human activities. Also referred to as introduced species or exotic species.
alkalinity - A measure of the capacity of water to neutralise acids.
allergen - Any antigen, such as pollen, a drug, or food, that induces an allergic state in humans or animals.
allergy - A condition of abnormal sensitivity in certain individuals to contact with substances such as proteins, pollens, bacteria, and certain foods. This contact may result in exaggerated physiologic responses such as hay fever, asthma, and in severe enough situations, anaphylactic shock.
alternative energy - Energy that does not come from fossil fuels.
ambient air - The air occurring at a particular time and place outside of structures. Often used interchangeably with 'outdoor air'.
ammonia
ammonium - The radical NH4+
animal manure - Animal excreta collected from stables and barnyards with or without litter; used to enrich the soil.
annelid - Any of the groups of segmented worms (earthworms, ragworms, leeches). Annelids are characterized by a long, soft body and cylindrical or somewhat flattened cross-section.
annoyance - A feeling of displeasure associated with any agent or condition known or believed by an individual or a group to be adversely affecting them.
anoxia - The absence of oxygen.
anticipatory scenario - Anticipatory scenarios (also known as prescriptive or normative scenarios) start with a prescribed vision of the future (either optimistic, pessimistic or neutral) and then work backwards in time to visualise how this future could emerge.
aquaculture - The farming of aquatic organisms including fish, molluscs, crustaceans and aquatic plants with some sort of intervention in the rearing process to enhance production, such as regular stocking, feeding, protection from predators, etc. Farming also implies individual or corporate ownership of the stock being cultivated.
aquatic ecosystem - Basic ecological unit composed of living and non-living elements interacting in an aqueous milieu.
aquatic toxicity - The adverse effects to aquatic organisms that result from being exposed to a toxic substance.
aquifer - 1) Aquifer means a subsurface layer or layers of rock or other geological strata of sufficient porosity and permeability to allow either a significant flow of groundwater or the abstraction of significant quantities of groundwater. 2) Layers of rock, sand or gravel that can absorb water and allow it to flow. An aquifer acts as a groundwater reservoir when the underlying rock is impermeable. This may be tapped by wells for domestic, agricultural or industrial use. A serious environmental problem arises when the aquifer is contaminated by the seepage of sewage or toxins from waste dumps. If the groundwater in coastal areas is over-used salt water can seep into the aquifer.
arable land - Land under temporary crops, temporary meadows for mowing or pasture, land under market and kitchen gardens and land temporarily fallow (less than five years).
arctic (climate zone) - Of or pertaining to the North Pole, or the North Polar regions. Characterised by or typical of the very cold climate of the polar region.
artificial recharge (of groundwater) - Introduction of surface water into an underground aquifer through recharge wells.
asbestos - Fibrous natural product used in asbestos cement, brakes and clutches, insulators and fireproof textiles. Asbestos is carcinogenic.
asbestosis - Disease associated with inhalation of asbestos fibres. The disease makes breathing progressively more difficult and can be fatal.
assigned amount units
assumption - The 'if' statements used to frame a scenario. 'If this policy is adopted, if this trend continues, if this event happens, then'. Often referred to as assumption sets.
atmospheric emission inventory guidebook - Joint EMEP/Corinair atmospheric emission inventory guidebook. The guidebook has been prepared by the expert panels of the UNECE/EMEP Task Force on Emission Inventories and published by the European Environment Agency. It is intended for general reference and for use by parties to the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution for reporting to the UNECE Secretariat in Geneva. The guidebook is designed to provide a comprehensive guide to the state-of-the-art of atmospheric emissions inventory methodology.
atmospheric process - Atmospheric processes are distinguished in physical and chemical processes and both types may be operating simultaneously in complicated and interdependent ways. The physical processes of transport by atmospheric winds and the formation of clouds and precipitation strongly influence the patterns and rates of acidic deposition, while chemical reactions govern the forms of the compounds deposited.
automatic control stations
B
BTC - Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (oil pipeline)
Baltic Marine Biologists database on Non-indigenous Estuarine and Marine Organisms
Basel Convention - The Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal (the Basel Convention) entered into force in 1992. A central goal of the Basel Convention is to protect human health and the environment by minimising hazardous waste production whenever possible through environmentally sound management. The convention requires that the production of hazardous wastes be managed using an integrated life-cycle approach, which involves strict controls from its generation to storage, transport, treatment, reuse, recycling, recovery and final disposal.
Bathing Water Directive - In the 1970's, Europe decided that bathing water quality should be monitored and tested in order to protect bathers from health risks and to preserve the environment from pollution. This resulted in 1976 in one of the first pieces of European environmental legislation: the Council Directive 76/160/EEC on Bathing Water Quality.The Directive was updated in 2002.
Batteries Directive - The aim of Directive 91/157/EEC on batteries and accumulators containing certain dangerous substances is to approximate the laws of the Member States on the recovery and controlled disposal of those spent batteries and accumulators containing dangerous substances in accordance with Annex I.
BeNeLux - Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg
Bern Convention - The Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats was adopted in Bern on 19 September 1979 and came into force on 1 June 1982. Forty-five European and African States as well as the European Community are parties to the convention. It has a threefold objective: to conserve wild flora and fauna and their natural habitats; to promote co-operation between states; and to give particular emphasis to endangered and vulnerable species, including endangered and vulnerable migratory species.
Best Available Technology Reference Documents
Birds Directive - The EU Directive on the conservation of wild birds (79/49/EEC) seeks to protect all wild birds and the habitats of listed species, in particular through the designation of special protection areas (SPA).
Black Sea Commission
Blue Plan - 'Plan Bleu' (Blue Plan) has several meanings: a process of reflection on the Mediterranean region in all its vastness and complexity; a research centre where this reflective process is carried out; and the infrastructure of a non-profit organisation for management and operations.
Bonn Convention - The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (also known as CMS or the Bonn Convention) aims to conserve terrestrial, marine and avian migratory species throughout their range. It is one of a small number of intergovernmental treaties concerned with the conservation of wildlife and wildlife habitats on a global scale. Since the Convention's entry into force on 1 November 1983, its membership has grown steadily to include 80 (as of 1 September 2002) Parties from Africa, Central and South America, Asia, Europe and Oceania.
Brundtland Commission - The World Commission on Environment and Development chaired by Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland. The Commission's report, Our common future (1987), popularised the notion of sustainable development.
Bureau - The EEA Bureau is constituted by six persons. The Bureau, in consultation with the Executive Director and the chairperson of the Scientific Committee prepares for the board meetings and takes urgent decisions necessary for the management of the EEA between two meetings of the Management Board, mostly subject to ratification by the Board at its next meeting.
backcasting scenario - Backcasting scenarios reason from a desired future situation and offer a number of different strategies to reach this situation.
background level - (1) The concentration of a substance in an environmental medium (air, water, or soil) that occurs naturally or is not the result of human activities. (2) In exposure assessment, the concentration of a substance in a defined control area, during a fixed period of time before, during, or after a data-gathering operation.
background noise - Noise coming from source other than the noise source being monitored.
background station (air monitoring) - Station to monitor background concentration levels of air polluting substances that are significant for a given region or for the globe as a whole. Regional stations are located far enough away from industry and urban areas in order not to pick up day-by-day fluctuations in pollution levels. The purpose is to measure long-term changes in the composition of the atmosphere.
bacteria - Group of single-cell micro-organisms, the smallest of the living organisms. Some are vital to sustain life, while others are responsible for causing highly dangerous human diseases, such as anthrax, tetanus and tuberculosis. Bacteria are found everywhere, in the soil,water and air.
bacteriological pollution - Contamination of water, soil and air with pathogen bacteria.
bagged waste - Mixed waste collected from households and other sources.
balance + qual - Equilibrium or balance is any of a number of related phenomena in the natural and social sciences. In general, a system is said to be in a state of equilibrium if all influences on the system are cancelled by the effects of others. A related concept is stability; an equilibrium may or may not be stable.
baseline scenario - Baseline scenarios (also known as 'reference' or 'benchmark' or 'non-intervention' scenarios) depict a future state of society and/or environment in which no new environmental policies are implemented apart from those already in the pipeline today; or in which these policies do not have a discernable influence regarding the questions being analysed.
bathing water - (1) Bathing water means all running or still fresh waters or parts thereof and sea water, in which: - bathing is explicitly authorised by the competent authorities of each member State, or - bathing is not prohibited and is traditionally practised by a large number of bathers. (2) Water identified as bathing water includes all running and still inland surface waters, transitional waters and coastal waters that are actively promoted - locally, regionally, nationally or internationally - for bathing (or which are likely to be so promoted in the foreseeable future) and/or are regularly used by the local and/or visitor populations for bathing.
bedrock - The solid rock beneath the soil and superficial rock. A general term for solid rock that lies beneath soil, loose sediments, or other unconsolidated material.
benchmark - A measurable variable used as a baseline or reference in evaluating the performance of an organisation. Benchmarks may he drawn from internal experience or that of other organisations or from legal requirement and are often used to gauge changes in performance over time.
benthic organism - The biota living on, or very near, the bottom of the sea, river, or lake.
benthos - All plants (phytobenthos) and invertebrate animals that live in or on seabed habitats, including the intertidal zone.
benzene
benzo(a)pyrene
best available techniques - The most effective and advanced stage in the development of activities and their methods of operation which indicate the practical suitability of particular techniques for providing in principle the basis for emission limit values designed to prevent and, where that is not practicable, generally to reduce emissions and impact on the environment as a whole.
billion
binding target - Environmental standards that are to be met in the future.
bioassay - The determination of the activity or concentration of a chemical by its effect on the growth of an organism under experimental conditions.
biochemical oxygen demand - The amount of oxygen used for biochemical oxidation by a unit volume of water at a given temperature and for a given time. BOD is an index of the degree of organic pollution in water.
biochemical oxygen demand - The amount of oxygen used for biochemical oxidation by a unit volume of water at a given temperature and for a given time. BOD is an index of the degree of organic pollution in water.
biocoenosis - Association of living organisms, animals and plants, which occupy the same geographical area (biotope).
biodegradable - Capable of decomposing rapidly by microorganisms under natural conditions (aerobic and/or anaerobic). Most organic materials, such as food scraps and paper are biodegradable.
biodegradable waste - Means any waste that is capable of undergoing anaerobic or aerobic decomposition, such as food and garden waste, and paper and paperboard;
biodiesel - Biofuel is a gaseous, liquid or solid fuel that contains energy derived from a biological source. For example, rapeseed oil or fish liver oil can be used in place of diesel fuel in modified engines. A commercial application is the use of modified rapeseed oil, which as rapeseed methyl ester (RME) can be used in modified diesel engines, and is sometimes named biodiesel.
biodiversity - 1) Genetic diversity: the variation between individuals and between populations within a species; species diversity: the different types of plants, animals and other life forms within a region; community or ecosystem diversity: the variety of habitats found within an area (grassland, marsh, and woodland for instance. 2) An umbrella term to describe collectively the variety and variability of nature. It encompasses three basic levels of organisation in living systems: the genetic, species, and ecosystem levels. Plant and animal species are the most commonly recognized units of biological diversity, thus public concern has been mainly devoted to conserving species diversity. (Source: WRES / GILP96)
biodiversity clearing-house mechanism - A network of parties and partners working together to facilitate implementation of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, which was signed in Rio at the 1992 Earth Summit. The Convention created a mechanism to translate the goal of partnerships and cooperation into action: the clearing house mechanism. It also facilitates access to and exchange of information on biodiversity around the world. Created in accordance with Article 18, the Clearing House is a key to archiving the Convention's three principal objectives: the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits from the use of genetic resources.
bioenergy - Biomass used in the production of energy.
bioethanol - A biofuel produced by the fermentation of plants rich in sugar/starch (e.g. sugar cane, corn).
biofuel - A fuel produced from dry organic matter or combustible oils produced by plants. Examples of biofuel include alcohol (from fermented sugar), black liquor from the paper manufacturing process, wood and soybean oil.
biogas - Gas, rich in methane, which is produced by the fermentation of animal dung, human sewage or crop residues in an air-tight container. It is used as a fuel to heat stoves, lamps, run small machines and to generate electricity. The residues of biogas production are used as a low-grade organic fertiliser. Biogas fuels do not usually cause any pollution to the atmosphere, and because they come from renewable energy resources they have great potential for future use.
biogeographical region - Area of similar character in terms of the biota (fauna & flora) present in it. Each biogeographic region is based on similarity of composition in terms of the systematics (and hence evolutionary history) of the biota. The extent and boundaries of each region have been determined by changes in climate and the movement of continents, and accompanying changes in the physical and climatic barriers to migration.
biological process - Processes concerning living organisms.
biological wastewater treatment - Processes which employ aerobic or anaerobic microorganisms and result in decanted effluents and separated sludge containing microbial mass together with pollutants. Biological treatment processes are also used in combination and/or in conjunction with mechanical and advanced unit operations. Similar to secondary treatment.
biomass - The biodegradable fraction of products, waste and residues from agriculture (including vegetal and animal substances), forestry and related industries, as well as the biodegradable fraction of industrial and municipal waste.
biomonitoring - The use of a biological entity as a detector and its response as a measure to determine environmental conditions. Toxicity tests and biological surveys are common biomonitoring methods.
biosafety clearing-house mechanism - The biosafety clearing-house was established by article 20 of the Cartagena Protocol on biosafety. It provides access to information relevant to the operation of the Biosafety Protocol.
biosphere - That part of the Earth and atmosphere capable of supporting living organisms.
biosphere reserve - Established under UNESCO's man and the biosphere (MAB) programme, biosphere reserves are a series of protected areas linked through a global network, intended to demonstrate the relationship between conservation and development.
biota - All living organisms of an area; the flora and fauna considered as a unit.
biotope - Well-defined geographical area, characterised by specific ecological conditions (soil, climate, etc.), which physically supports the organisms that live there (biocoenosis).
black smoke - The fraction of the total suspended particulates in air determined from the blackness measurement of the stain produced by passing the air through standard filter paper.
body of groundwater - A distinct volume of groundwater within an aquifer or aquifers.
body of surface water - A discrete and significant element of surface water such as a lake, reservoir, a stream, river or canal, part of a stream, river or canal, a transitional water or a stretch of coastal water.
bog - A commonly used term in Scotland and Ireland for a stretch waterlogged, spongy ground, chiefly composed of decaying vegetable matter, especially of rushes, cotton grass, and sphagnum moss.
boreal forest - The northern hemisphere, circumpolar, tundra forest type consisting primarily of black spruce and white spruce with balsam fir, birch and aspen.
boreal region - One of the 11 biogeographical regions of Europe as indicated on the map of biogeographical regions, situated in north-eastern Europe between the Arctic and the continental biogeographical region.
botanical garden - A place in which plants are grown, studied and exhibited.
bottom ash - Relatively coarse, non-combustible, generally toxic residue of incineration that accumulates on the grate of a furnace.
brackish water - Water with a salt concentration between 5 and 18 ppt (dividing point from the surface water directive (75/440/EEC) Annex II).
breeding bird - The individuals in a bird population that are involved in reproduction during a particular period in a given place.
broadleaved woodland - Wooded land on which more than 75 % of the tree crown cover consists of broadleaved species.
brominated flame retardants
bromo diphenyl ether
brownfield site - Land within the urban area on which development has previously taken place.
buffer zone - The region near the border of a protected area; a transition zone between areas managed for different objectives.
built-up land - Land under houses, roads, mines and quarries and any other facilities, including their auxiliary spaces, deliberately installed for the pursuit of human activities. Included area also certain types of open land (non-built-up land), which are closely related to these activities, such as waste tips, derelict land in built-up areas, junk yards, city parks and gardens, etc. Land occupied by scattered farm buildings, yards and their annexes are excluded. Land under closed villages or similar rural localities is included.
bulky waste - Large items of waste material such as electric appliances, furniture, large car parts, trees, etc.
burden of the past - The 30 000 'existing' chemicals estimated to be on the EU market, for which little or no information is available, in particular about their long-term effects on human health or the environment.
burden sharing - The sharing out of emissions allowances among the 15 Member States under the EU 'bubble.' An agreement on burden sharing was reached in June 1998 and will be made legally binding as part of the EU's instrument of ratification of the Kyoto Protocol.
business-as-usual scenario - Baseline scenario that examines the consequences of continuing current trends in population, economy, technology and human behaviour.
by-product - A useful and marketable product or service deriving from a manufacturing process that is not the primary product or service being produced.
C
CORINE - Coordination of information on the environment. A programme proposed in 1985 by the European Commission, aimed at gathering information relating to the environment on certain priority topics for the European Union (land cover, coastal erosion, biotopes, etc.).
Cambridge Energy Research Associates
Capacity Building for Air Quality Management and the Application of Clean Coal Combustion Technologies in Central Asia
Cardiff Summit - The Cardiff Summit (15 and 16 June 1998) laid the foundation for coordinated Community action to integrate environmental concerns into EU policies. At the same summit the European Council invited the Transport, Energy and Agriculture Councils to define strategies of their own on this point.
Carpathians Environment Outlook
Caspian Environment Programme
Center for Energy Efficiency
Central Bureau of Statistics of the Republic of Croatia
Central Public Health Institute, Italy
Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation
Charter of European Cities and Towns Towards Sustainability - The Charter of European Cities and Towns Towards Sustainability (Aalborg Charter) was approved by the participants at the European Conference on Sustainable Cities and Towns held in Aalborg, Denmark from 24 to 27 May 1994. The Aalborg Charter was initially signed by 80 European local authorities and 253 representatives of international organisations, national governments, scientific institutes, consultants and individuals. By signing the charter, European cities, towns and counties committed themselves to enter into Local Agenda 21 processes and develop long-term action plans towards sustainability, and initiated the European Sustainable Cities and Towns Campaign.
Chernobyl event - An accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant (Ukraine) on April 26th, 1986 to be assigned a index 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES). The explosion exposed the reactor core and released radioactive fission and neutron activation products, including transuranics from the reactore to the atmosphere. More than 140 000 km2 of the territory of Ukraine, Belarus and the Russian Federation, and more than 45 000 km2 of other European countries were contaminated with 137Cs over 40 kBq/m2.
Children's Environment and Health Action Plan for Europe
Circle - Centre of Information Resources for Collaboration on the Environment. The electronic workplace of EIONET consists of many interlinked, customised installations of CIRCA (Communication and Information Resource Centre Administrator) and other services linked to it, supporting it and integrated by it, i.e. the software component of e-EIONET.
Clean Air for Europe
Climatic Research Unit
Commission on Sustainable Development
Committee of the Regions
Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society
Commonwealth of Independent States
Communication, Education and Public Awareness
Community Assistance for Reconstruction, Development and Stabilisation
Confederation of European Paper Industries
Conference of the Parties
Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol
Conservation and Sustainable use of Biodiversity in the Dalmatian Coast through Greening Coastal Development
Convention on Biological Diversity
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora - An international treaty to restrict and monitor trade in endangered species, agreed by 123 parties, with a Secretariat in Switzerland.
Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution
Convention on Migratory Species
Convention on bBological Diversity - Convention adopted at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. The objectives of this convention are the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilisation of genetic resources, including by appropriate access to genetic resources and by appropriate transfer of relevant technologies, taking into account all rights over those resources and to technologies, and by appropriate funding.
Convention on the Protection of the Black Sea against Pollution - The Convention on the Protection of the Black Sea against Pollution (Bucharest Convention) was adopted in 1992 (in force in 1994). Its objectives are to undertake all necessary measures consistent with international law and in accordance with the provisions of this convention to prevent, reduce, and control pollution thereof in order to protect and preserve the marine environment of the Black Sea.
Coordination of European Research for Advanced Transport Noise Mitigation
Corinair - Corinair is a programme to establish an inventory of emissions of air pollutants in Europe. It was initiated by the European Environment Agency Task Force and was part of the Corine (Coordination of information on the environment) work programme set up by the European Council of Ministers in 1985. In 1995 the Agency's European Topic Centre on Air Emissions (ETC/AEM) was contracted to continue the Corinair programme.
Corine biotopes - The Corine biotopes project was initiated in 1985 to enhance reliable and accessible information about vulnerable ecosystems, habitats and species of important as background information for Community environmental assessment. The project has been aimed to select on basis of biota, the most important sites for nature conservation in each European country, using common methodology, and to gather data about these sites. The Corine biotopes database is an inventory of major natural sites.
Corine land cover - In 1985 the Corine programme was initiated in the European Union. Corine means 'coordination of information on the environment' and it was a prototype project working on many different environmental issues. The Corine databases and several of its programme have been taken over by the EEA. One of these is an inventory of land cover in 44 classes, and presented as a cartographic product, at a scale of 1:100 000. This database is operationally available for most areas of Europe. Original inventories, based on and interpreted from satellite imagery as well as ancillary information sources, are stored within national institutions. The European reference database is owned by GISCO, the European Commission geographical information system, which is a part of the European Statistic Agency, Eurostat. ETC/TE manages the Corine database (the production database) on behalf of EEA and delivers the updated database to GISCO every 12 months.
Council of European Municipalities and Regions
Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund
Cross-compliance Indicators in the context of the Farm Advisory System
cadmium
capacity building - Improving and building the technical and managerial skills and resources within an organisation.
car tyre - A rubber ring placed over the rim of a wheel of a road vehicle to provide traction and reduce road shocks, especially a hollow inflated ring consisting of a reinforced outer casing enclosing an inner tube.
carbon capture and storage
carbon dioxide - Gas naturally produced by animals during respiration and through decay of biomass, and used by plants during photosynthesis. Although it only constitutes 0.04 percent of the atmosphere, it is one of the most important greenhouse gases. The combustion of fossil fuels is increasing carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere, which is believed to be contributing to global warming.
carbon dioxide equivalent - A metric measure used to compare the emissions from various greenhouse gases based upon their global warming potential (GWP). Carbon dioxide equivalents are commonly expressed as 'million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents (MMTCDE)'. The carbon dioxide equivalent for a gas is derived by multiplying the tonnes of the gas by the associated GWP. MMTCDE = (million metric tonnes of a gas) * (GWP of the gas). For example, the GWP for methane is 21 and for nitrous oxide 310. This means that emissions of 1million metric tonnes of methane and nitrous oxide respectively is equivalent to emissions of 21 and 310 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide.
carbon dioxide tax - Compulsory tax levied on fuels in accordance with their carbon content, with the aim to encourage using less carbon-intensive fuels and to reduce energy consumption.
carbon monoxide - Colourless, odourless, tasteless, non-corrosive, highly poisonous gas of about the same density as that of air. Very flammable, burning in air with bright blue flame. Although each molecule of CO has one carbon atom and one oxygen atom, it has a shape similar to that of an oxygen molecule (two atoms of oxygen), which is important with regard to its lethality. (Source: PHYMAC).
carbon sequestration - The uptake and storage of carbon. Trees and plants, for example, absorb carbon dioxide, release the oxygen and store the carbon.
carbon sink - Forests and other ecosystems that absorb carbon, thereby removing it from the atmosphere and offsetting CO2 emissions. The Kyoto Protocol allows certain human-induced sinks activities undertaken since 1990 to be counted towards Annex I Parties' emission targets.
carcinogen - A substance that causes cancer in humans and animals.
carcinogenic, mutagenic and repro-toxic chemicals
carcinogenicity - The ability or tendency of a substance or physical agent to cause or produce cancer.
cardiovascular disease - CVD is the name for the group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels and include: - Hypertension (high blood pressure) - Coronary heart disease (heart attack) - Cerebrovascular disease (stroke) - Peripheral vascular disease - Heart failure - Rheumatic heart disease - Congenital heart disease - Cardiomyopathies
carnivore - An animal that eats meat.
carrying capacity - The maximum number of organisms of a given species that can be supported in a given habitat or geographic area.
catalytic converter - Vehicle exhaust system, which uses catalysis (a process for altering the speed of a chemical reaction) to reduce the emissions of pollutants.
catchment area - (1) An area from which surface runoff is carried away by a single drainage system. (2) The area of land bounded by watersheds draining into a river, basin or reservoir.
central data repository - The Central Data Repository is part of the ReportNet architechture. The Central Data Repository is like a bookshelf, with data reports on the environment as submitted to international clients. Each country either has a collection () for its deliveries or a referral () to a different preferred repository. The data reports within each country collection are arranged under the relevant reporting obligations or agreements
certified emission reductions
cetacean - An aquatic mammal of the order Cetacea, including whales, porpoises and dolphins.
chemical accident - Accidental release occurring during the production, transportation or handling of hazardous chemical substances.
chemical oxygen demand - The quantity of oxygen used in biological and non-biological oxidation of materials in water; a measure of water quality.
chemical preparation - Intentional mixture or solution composed of two or more chemicals.
chemical treatment (of hazardous waste) - Treatment methods that are used to effect the complete breakdown of hazardous waste into non-toxic gases or, more frequently, to modify the chemical properties of the waste, for example, through reduction of water solubility or neutralisation of acidity or alkalinity.
chlorinated hydrocarbon - Chlorinated hydrocarbon (CHC) is a generic term given to compounds containing chlorine, carbon and hydrogen. The term can be used to describe organochlorine pesticides such as lindane and DDT, industrial chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), and chlorine waste products such as dioxins and furans. These compounds are persistent in the environment and most bioaccumulates in the food chain. The human and environmental health risks of chlorinated hydrocarbons depend on the compound in question. As a general statement, exposure to chlorinated hydrocarbon has been associated with suppression of the immune system and cancer.
chlorofluorocarbon - Gases formed of chlorine, fluorine and carbon whose molecules normally do not react with other substances; they are therefore used as spray can propellants because they do not alter the material being sprayed.
chlorofluorocarbons
chlorophyl "a" - A green pigment, present in algae and higher plants, that absorbs light energy and thus plays a vital role in photosynthesis. Except in Cyanophyta (blue-green algae), chlorophyll is confined to chloroplasts. There are several types of chlorophyll, but all contain magnesium and iron. Some plants (e.g., brown algae, red algae, copper beech trees) contain additional pigments that mask the green of their chlorophyll.
clay - 1. A loose, earthy, extremely fine-grained, natural sediment or soft rock composed primarily of clay-size or colloidal particles and characterised by high plasticity and by a considerable content of clay mineral and subordinate amounts of finely divided quartz, decomposed feldspar, carbonates, ferruginous matter, and other impurities; it forms a plastic, moldable mass when finely ground and mixed with water, retains its shape on drying, and becomes firm, rocklike and permanently hard on heating or firing. 2. The property of clay minerals that causes ions in solution to be fixed on clay surface or within internal sites applies to all types of ions, including organic molecules like pesticides. Clays can be an important vehicle for transporting and widely dispersing contaminants from one area to another.
clean air for Europe programme - Commission communication of 4 May 2001 The clean air for Europe (CAFE) programme: towards a thematic strategy for air quality'. CAFE is the first of the thematic strategies announced in the Sixth environmental action programme .
clean development mechanism - The Kyoto Protocol establishes the clean development mechanism (CDM) to enable Annex I Parties (listed in Annex B of the Kyoto Protocol) to finance emission-reduction projects in the countries of non-Annex I Parties. These Annex I Parties will receive certified emission reductions (CERs) for doing so. The goals of the CDM are: (1) to assist non-Annex I Parties in achieving sustainable development and in contributing to the ultimate objective of the convention and (2) to assist Annex I Parties in meeting their targets.
clearing house mechanism - A network of parties and partners working together to facilitate implementation of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, which was signed in Rio at the 1992 Earth Summit. The convention created a mechanism to translate the goal of partnerships and cooperation into action: the clearing house mechanism. It also facilitates access to and exchange of information on biodiversity around the world. Created in accordance with Article 18, the clearing house is a key to achieving the convention's three principal objectives: the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits from the use of genetic resources.
climate change - Climate change refers to any change in climate over time, whether due to natural variability or as a result of human activity. This usage differs from that in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which defines 'climate change' as: 'a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.'
co-incineration - Joint incineration of hazardous waste, in any form, with refuse and/or sludge.
coal - The natural, rocklike, brown to black derivative of forest-type plant material, usually accumulated in peat beds and progressively compressed and indurated until it is finally altered in to graphite-like material.
coastal area - The part of the land affected by its proximity to the sea, and that part of the sea affected by its proximity to the land as the extent to which man's land-based activities have a measurable influence on water chemistry and marine ecology.
coastal erosion - The landward displacement of the shoreline caused by the forces of waves and currents.
coastal habitats - One of the main habitat types in the EUNIS habitats classification. Coastal habitats are those above spring high tide limit (or above mean water level in non-tidal waters) occupying coastal features and characterised by their proximity to the sea, including coastal dunes and wooded coastal dunes, beaches and cliffs. Includes free-draining supralittoral habitats adjacent to marine habitats which are normally only affected by spray or splash, strandlines characterised by terrestrial invertebrates and moist and wet coastal dune slacks. Excludes dune slack pools and rock pools.
coastal lagoons - Sea-water bodies situated at the coast, but separated from the sea by land spits or similar land features. Coastal lagoons are open to the sea in restricted spaces.
coastal protection - Steps required to prevent the erosion of the coast. The stabilisation of beaches or dunes is achieved by mechanical or vegetational means, or through erecting heavy sea walls or revetments.
coastal waters - (1) The waters outside the low-water line or the outer limit of an estuary. (2) Surface water on the landward side of a line, every point of which is at a distance of one nautical mile on the seaward side from the nearest point of the baseline from which the breadth of territorial waters is measured, extending where appropriate up to the outer limit of transitional waters.
coastline - The line that separates a land surface from an ocean or sea.
coliform bacteria - A group of bacteria that are normally abundant in the intestinal tracts of human and other warm-blooded animals and are used as indicators (being measured as the number of individuals found per millilitre of water) when testing the sanitary quality of water.
coliform organism - Micro-organism found in the intestinal tract of human beings and animals. Its presence in water indicates faecal pollution and potentially dangerous bacterial contamination.
collective dose - The collective dose (S) to a population or group is given by the summation S = Hi x Pi, where Hi is the dose to the whole body or to a specified organ averaged over the Pi members of the ith subgroup of the population or group.
combined cycle gas turbine - Combined cycles use both gas and steam turbine cycles in a single plant to produce electricity with high conversion efficiencies and low emissions.
combined heat and power generation - The consecutive generation of useful thermal and electric energy from the same fuel source.
combined sewer - A sewer that carries both sewage and storm water run-off.
command-and-control - 1) In relation to policy and management, command-and-control instruments (e.g. mechanisms, laws, measures) rely on prescribing rules and standards and using sanctions to enforce compliance with them. 2) Command-and-control regulation requires polluters to meet specific emission-reduction targets and often requires the installation and use of specific types of equipment to reduce emissions.
common agricultural policy - The set of policy principles, regulations and subsidy mechanisms adopted by the Member States of the European Community that consolidates efforts in promoting or ensuring reasonable pricing of food products, fair standards of living for farmers, stable agricultural markets, increased farm productivity and methods for dealing with food supply or surplus.
common database on designated areas - Database on areas designated at national and international levels in Europe. In 1996, the Council of Europe, the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC) integrated their respective databases and established a single common database of designated areas in Europe, together with the mechanism to maintain it.
common fisheries policy - The common fisheries policy (CFP) covers the exploitation of living aquatic resources and aquaculture, and the processing and marketing of fishery and aquaculture products. These activities take place on the territory of Member States or in Community fishing waters or are performed by fishing vessels flying a European flag. Community fishing waters means waters under the sovereignty or jurisdiction of Member States. The objective is to allow sustainable rational and responsible exploitation of living aquatic resources and aquaculture in economic and social conditions appropriate to the sector.
common reporting format
company environmental policy - In Eco-management and Auditing Scheme, environmental policy means the company's overall aims and principles of action with respect to the environment including compliance with all relevant regulatory requirements regarding the environment.
competent authority - A governmental authority designated by a Party to be responsible for receiving the notification of a transboundary movement of hazardous wastes or other wastes, and any information related to it, and for responding to the notification.
compost - Mixture of organic garbage and degradable trash with soil, in which bacteria in the soil break down the garbage and trash into organic fertiliser.
composting - The controlled biological decomposition of organic material in the presence of air to form a humus-like material. Controlled methods of composting include mechanical mixing and aerating, ventilating the materials by dropping them through a vertical series of aerated chambers, or placing the compost in piles out in the open air and mixing it or turning it periodically.
concentration - Quantity of a material or substance contained in unit quantity of a given medium or system.
concentration-effect relationship - Link between the exposure of a given system to a substance over time and the magnitude of a specific, continuously graded change to that system
condensation - The aggregation of water molecules from vapor to liquid or solid when the saturation concentration is exceeded.
confidence interval
confined aquifer - Aquifer in which groundwater is confined under pressure significantly greater than atmospheric pressure.
congested infrastructure - Congested infrastructure means a section of infrastructure for which demand for infrastructure capacity cannot be fully satisfied during certain periods even after coordination of the different requests for capacity.
coniferous woodland - Coniferous woodland is defined as wooded land on which more than 75 % of the tree crown cover consists of coniferous species.
conifers - A wide range of tree species within the order Gymnospermae, typically evergreen, bearing cones, and having needle-shaped or scale-like leaves.
conservation - The management of human use of the biosphere so that many yield the greatest sustainable benefit to current generations while maintaining its potential to meet the needs and aspirations of future generations: Thus conservation in positive, embracing preservations, maintenance, sustainable utilisation, restoration and enhancement of the natural environment.
constructed, industrial and other artificial habitats - One of the main habitat types in the EUNIS habitats classification. They are primarily human settlements, buildings, industrial developments, the transport network, waste dump sites. Includes highly artificial saline and non-saline waters with wholly constructed beds or heavily contaminated water (such as industrial lagoons and saltworks) which are virtually devoid of plant and animal life.
construction and demolition waste - Rubble and other waste material arising from the construction, demolition, renovation or reconstruction of buildings or parts thereof, whether on the surface or underground. Consists mainly of building material and soil, including excavated soil. Includes waste from all origins and from all economic activity sectors.
consumptive use (of water) - Water abstracted which is no longer available for use because it has evaporated, transpired, been incorporated into products and crops, or consumed by man or livestock. Water losses due to leakages during the transport of water between the point or points of abstraction and the point or points of use are excluded.
contaminated site - A location where as a result of human activity an unacceptable hazard to human health and ecosystems exists. Local contamination (contaminated sites) is a problem in restricted areas (or sites) around the source, where there is a direct link to the source of contamination.
continental margin - A zone separating the emergent continents from the deep-sea bottom; generally consists of the continental shelf, slope, and rise.
continental shelf - The gently seaward-sloping surface that extends between the shoreline and the top of the continental slope at about 150 m depth. The average gradient of the shelf is between 1:500 and 1:1000 and, although it varies greatly, the average width is approximately 70 km.
continental slope - That part of the continental margin that lies between the continental shelf and the bottom of the ocean. Sunlight does not penetrate this area, and mostly it is home to scavengers. It is characterised by a relatively steep slope of 3 to 6 degrees.
contingent valuation - Valuation technique which asks people directly how much they are willing to pay/to accept for improving/deteriorating environmental quality.
continuous plankton recorder
controlled landfill - Controlled landfill is landfill whose operation is subject to a permit system and to technical control procedures in compliance with the national legislation in force. Includes specially engineered landfill.
conurbation - A large area occupied by urban development, which may contain isolated rural areas, and formed by the merging together of expanding towns that formerly were separate.
cooling water - Water which is used to absorb and remove heat. In the joint questionnaire cooling water is broken down into water used in the generation of electricity in power stations, and cooling water used in other industrial processes.
cooperative programme on assessment and monitoring of air pollution effects on forest - The cooperative programme on assessment and monitoring of air pollution effects on forest (ICP forests) was launched in 1985 under the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).
coppice forest - Woodland which has been regenerated from shoots formed at the stumps of the previous crop trees, root suckers, or both, i.e., by vegetative means. Normally grown on a short rotation for small material, but sometimes, e.g. some eucalyptus species, to a substantial size.
coppicing - The practice of cutting trees at or near the ground and allowing it to sprout from the stamp to generate a new crop of poles.
core set of indicators - For the EEA the core set of indicators is a set of story lines by theme/sector, clusters of indicators by theme/sector grouped by generic and more specific policy questions, and sets of indicator fact sheets or description sheets. Fact sheets are available for indicators that have already been developed. More information about core set of indicators is available on http://themes.eea.eu.int/indicators/coreset
corporate social responsibility - A concept whereby companies voluntarily integrate social and environmental concerns in their business and the way they interact with stakeholders. This implies going over and above legal requirements, integrating economic, social and environmental concerns in their business, and adopting new approaches to business management.
corridor - (1) A linear strip of land identified for present or future location of transportation or utility rights-of-way within its boundaries. (2) A thin strip of vegetation used by wildlife and potentially allowing movement of biotic factors between two areas.
cost-covering charge - A charge designed to cover costs of environmental services and abatements measures.
countryside - Area outside the limits of any incorporated or inincorporated city, town, village, or any other designated residential or commercial area such as a subdivision, a business or shopping center, or community development.
cradle to grave - 'Cradle-to-grave' assessment considers impacts at each stage of a product's life-cycle, from the time natural resources are extracted from the ground and processed through each subsequent stage of manufacturing, transportation, product use, and ultimately, disposal.
critical level - General term referring to the concentration limit beyond which a substance can cause dangerous effects to living organisms.
critical load - (1) Carrying capacity is the ability of eco-systems/the earth to bear environmental load without significant damage. The threshold is the critical load. (2) The maximum load that a given system can tolerate before failing.
crop rotation - A crop rotation system means that the crops on a certain plot are following other crops according to a predefined plan. Normally the crops are changed annually, but they can also be multiannual.
cross-compliance - The attachment of environmental conditions to agricultural support policies. In the EU debate, the term cross-compliance and environmental conditionality are often used interchangeably to describe the linking of a farmer's eligibility for agricultural subsidies to environmental conditions.
crude oil - A comparatively volatile liquid bitumen composed principally of hydrocarbon, with traces of sulphur, nitrogen or oxygen compounds; can be removed from the earth in a liquid state.
crustacean - Invertebrate with a shell and many legs that are used for walking or swimming. Commercial species include: shrimps, prawns, crabs, lobsters and crawfish. A very high proportion of the plankton, particularly that part upon which many pelagic fish species feed, are also Crustacea.
cultivation - The practice of growing and nurturing plants outside of their wild habitat (i.e., in gardens, nurseries, arboreta).
cumulative impacts - The impacts (positive or negative, direct and indirect, long-term and short-term impacts) arising from a range of activities throughout an area or region, where each individual effect may not be significant if taken in isolation. Such impacts can arise from the growing volume of traffic, the combined effect of a number of agriculture measures leading to more intensive production and use of chemicals, etc. Cumulative impacts include a time dimension, since they should calculate the impact on environmental resources resulting from changes brought about by past, present and reasonably foreseeable future actions.
current legislation
D
DDD - Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethane: insecticide highly toxic to fish.
DDT - Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane: insecticide highly toxic to biota, including humans. This is a persistent biochemical which accumulates in the food chain.
DPSIR - The causal framework for describing the interactions between society and the environment adopted by the European Environment Agency: driving forces, pressures, states, impacts, responses (extension of the PSR model developed by OECD).
Danish Environmental Protection Agency
Danish krone
Decade of Education for Sustainable Development
Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, United Kingdom
Department for Transport, United Kingdom
Department of Trade and Industry, United Kingdom
Desertification convention - The Convention was adopted in Paris on 17 June 1994. It entered into force on 26 December 1996. The objective of this Convention is to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought in countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa, through effective action at all levels, supported by international cooperation and partnership arrangements, in the framework of an integrated approach which is consistent with Agenda 21, with a view to contributing to the achievement of sustainable development in affected areas.
Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit GmbH
Development of environmental health indicators for European Union countries
Directive on access to environmental information - Directive 90/313/EEC. It requires public authorities to provide the public with access to, and to disseminate, the environmental information they hold. The information must be provided to any natural or legal person at their request, without them having to prove an interest and at the latest within two months for the request being made.
Directorate General
Directorate General for Health and Consumer Protection
Dobris report - A report on the state of the environment requested by the environment Ministers for the whole Europe at the ministerial conference held in Dobris Castle, near Prague, in June 1991, prepared by EEA in 1995.
Dobson unit - Measurement unit for determining the total amount of ozone present in a vertical column of air above the surface of the earth. The ozone in a layer of ozone at atmospheric pressure of 1013 hPa and temperature of 298 K which measures 1 mm in thickness and is equivalent to 100 Dobson units.
Drinking water directive - Council Directive 98/83/EC of 3 November 1998 concerning the quality of water intended for human consumption. The Directive is intended to protect human health by laying down healthiness and purity requirements which must be met by drinking water within the Community.
damage - Damage means a measurable adverse change in a natural resource or measurable impairment of a natural resource service which may occur directly or indirectly.
data dissemination - Process by which data sets are distributed among organisations and users. Information about the source of each data set and its geographical and temporal coverage is attached as metadata. Rules about distribution are written in data sharing protocols, copyrights or relevant contracts.
data service - The EEA data service provides access to data sets used in EEA periodical reports. The data sets contain aggregated data at national level. They cover at least the 15 EU Member States, but in many cases a pan-European coverage of 52 countries is available. Graphs and, in the future, maps can be generated from the data sets. Information about the source of each data set and its geographical and temporal coverage is attached.
data validation - In general, validation is the process of checking if something satisfies a certain criterium. Examples would be: checking if a statement is true, if an appliance works as intended, if a computer system is secure, or if computer data is compliant with a standard. This should not be confused with verification.
decibel - A logarithmic scale used to denote the intensity, or pressure level, of a sound relative to the threshold of human hearing. A step of 10 dB is a 10-fold increase in intensity or sound energy and actually sounds a little more than twice as loud.
deciduous forest - Forest composed primarily of broad-leaved trees that shed all their leaves during one season. Such forests are found in three middle-latitude regions with a temperate climate characterised by a winter season and year-round precipitation.
decilitre
decision - Means the exercise of agency authority at any stage of an performance where alterations might be made in the undertaking to modify its impact upon historic and cultural properties.
decision framework - A way of organising and evaluating information.
decontamination - The removing of chemical, biological, or radiological contamination from, or the neutralizing of it on a person, object, or area.
defensive expenditure - This approach takes the cues from what people are observed to spend to protect themselves against a potential or a actual decline in their environmental quality. People buy goods and services, which help them to preserve the environment.
defoliation - Natural or disease-related shedding of leaves.
deforestation - The long-term removal of trees from a forested site to permit other site uses.
deliberate release of genetically modified organism - Any intentional introduction into the environment of a genetically modified organism (GMO) or a combination of GMOs without provisions for containment such as physical barriers or a combination of physical barriers together with chemical and/or biological barriers used to limit their contact with the general population and the environment.
demand-side management - Implementation of policies or measures which serve to control or influence the demand.
demersal - Species of fish that live on, or in close proximity to, the seabed. The term also applies to fishing gear that is worked on the seabed.
denitrification - 1) The loss of nitrogen from soil by biological or chemical means. It is a gaseous loss, unrelated to loss by physical processes such as through leachates. 2) The breakdown of nitrates by soil bacteria, resulting in the release of free nitrogen. This process takes place under anaerobic conditions, such as are found in water-logged soil, and it reduces soil fertility.
deposit-refund system - Surcharge on the price of potentially polluting products. When pollution is avoided by returning the products or their residuals, a refund of the surcharge is granted.
deposition - The transfer of substances in air to surfaces, including soil, vegetation, surface water, or indoor surfaces, by dry or wet processes. (S. L. Brown)
derelict land - Land damaged by extractive or other industrial processes and then abandoned.
dermal toxicity - Adverse effects resulting from skin exposure to a substance.
desalination - Removal of salt, as from water or soil.
descriptive indicator - Descriptive indicators show the development of a variable, but are not connected with a concrete policy target.
desert - (1) An ecosystem with <100 mm precipitation per year. (2) A wide, open, comparatively barren tract of land with few forms of life and little rainfall.
desertification - Land degradation in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas resulting from various factors, including climatic variations and human activities. Further, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) defines land degradation as a reduction or loss in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas of the biological or economic productivity and complexity of rain-fed cropland, irrigated cropland, or range, pasture, forest, and woodlands resulting from land uses or from a process or combination of processes, including those arising from human activities and habitation patterns, such as: (i) soil erosion caused by wind and/or water; (ii) deterioration of the physical, chemical and biological or economic properties of soil; and (iii) long-term loss of natural vegetation.
desertification information system to support national action programmes in the Mediterranean - The overall objective of the desertification information system to support national action programmes in the Mediterranean (DIS/MED) project is to improve the capacity of national administrations in the Mediterranean countries to effectively program measures and policies to combat desertification and the effects of drought by reinforcing communication, facilitating the exchange of information and establishing a common information system to monitor the physical and socio-economic conditions in areas threatened or affected by desertification and drought and to assess the extent, severity and trends of land degradation in those areas.
designated operational entity
diatom - Microscopic single-celled algae which have two ornate interfitting outer 'shells' containing silica.
dichlorodiphenyl dichloroethylene
diesel fuel - Heavy oil residue used as fuel for certain types of diesel engines.
diffuse pollution - Pollution from widespread activities with no one discrete source, e.g. acid rain, pesticides, urban run-off, etc.
digital terrain model - Digital Terrain Models (DTM) sometimes called Digital Elevation Models (DEM) is a topographic model of the bare Earth that can be manipulated by computer programs.The data files contain the elevation data of the terrain in a digital format which relates to a rectangular grid. Vegetation, buildings and other cultural features are removed digitally - leaving just the underlying terrain.DTMs are used especially in civil engineering, geodesy & surveying, geophysics, geography and remote sensing.
dinoflagellate - Microscopic alga characterised by the presence of two whip-like flagella.
dioxin - The terms 'dioxin' or 'dioxins and furans' generally refers to a group of 210 chlorinated pollutants, chemically known as the polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans. Dioxins are organochlorines and are regarded as among the world's most toxic organic pollutants. They are produced as by-products of industrial processes involving chlorine and all types of incineration. Once released into the environment, dioxins are environmentally stable and tend to become associated with sediments or suspended material. Dioxins have the potential to bioaccumulate in the food chain and pose series risks to ecological and human health.
disability-adjusted life years
disaster - A serious disruption of the functioning of society, causing widespread human, material or environmental losses, which exceed the ability of affected society to cope using only its own resources. Disasters are often classified according to their cause (natural or man-made).
disaster management - The body of policy and administrative decisions and operational activities which pertain to the various stages of a disaster at all levels.
disaster response - A sum of decisions and actions taken during and after disaster, including immediate relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction.
discharge - 1) Wastewater discharge means the amount of water (in m3) or substance (in kg BOD/d or comparable) added /leached to a water body from a point or a non point source. 2) Sewage effluent (or discharge) means treated sewage discharged from a sewage treatment plant.
dissolved oxygen - Amount of gaseous oxygen (O2) actually present in water expressed in terms either of its presence in the volume of water (milligrams of O2 per litre) or of its share in saturated water (percentage).
dissolved solids - Disintegrated organic and inorganic material contained in water. Excessive amounts make water unsuitable for drinking or for use in industrial processes.
district heating - The supply of heat, either in the form of steam or hot water, from a central source to a group of buildings.
district heating plant - Plant for heating all houses in a district; it consists of a large, efficient, centralized boiler plant or 'waste' steam from a power station. The heat is distributed by means of low-pressure steam or high-temperature water to the consumers.
domestic extraction used
domestic material consumption
domestic tourism - In relation to a given country or a region, it is considered a form of tourism, involving residents of the given country travelling only within this country.
dose - Total amount of a substance administered to, taken, or absorbed by an organism.
dose limits - Maximum references laid down in Title IV for the doses resulting from the exposure of workers, apprentices and students and members of the public to ionizing radiation covered by this Directive that apply to the sum of the relevant doses from external exposures in the specified period and the 50- year committed doses (up to age 70 for children) from intakes in the same period.
dose rate - Dose per unit time.
dose-response assessment - The second of four steps in risk assessment, consisting of the analysis of the relationship between the total amount of an agent absorbed by a group of organisms and the changes developed in the group in reaction to the agent, and inferences derived from such an analysis with respect to the entire population.
double dividend - It refers to the notion that environmental taxes can both reduce pollution (the first dividend) and reduce the overall economic costs associated with the tax system by using the revenue generated to displace other more distortionary taxes that slow economic growth at the same time (the second dividend).
down-the-drain chemical - Chemicals that are discarded 'down-the drain', as household cleaning products and wastewater from laundry services.
drainage basin - The area of land that drains water, sediment and dissolved materials to a common outlet at some point along a stream channel.
dredging - Removal of mud from the bottom of water bodies for deepening through the use of special mechanical devices. Dredging disturbs the ecosystem and can kill aquatic life. Dredging of contaminated muds can expose aquatic life to heavy metals and other toxic materials.
drinking water - Water intended for human consumption. According to the drinking water dDirective it shall mean: (a) all water either in its original state or after treatment, intended for drinking, cooking, food preparation or other domestic purposes, regardless of its origin and whether it is supplied from a distribution network, from a tanker, or in bottles or containers; (b) all water used in any food-production undertaking for the manufacture, processing, preservation or marketing of products or substances intended for human consumption unless the competent national authorities are satisfied that the quality of the water cannot affect the wholesomeness of the foodstuff in its finished form.
drip irrigation - Irrigation using a tape or pipe with small holes that releases water near the roots of plants and eliminates runoff.
driving force - In the EEA indicator system, indicators for driving forces describe the social, demographic and economic developments in societies and the corresponding changes in life styles, overall levels of consumption and production patterns. Primary driving forces are population growth and developments in the needs and activities of individuals. These primary driving forces provoke changes in the overall levels of production and consumption. Through these changes in production and consumption, the driving forces exert pressure on the environment.
drought - The naturally occurring phenomenon that exists when precipitation has been significantly below normal recorded levels, causing serious hydrological imbalances that adversely affect land resource production systems.
dual flushing system - Water flushing system in toilets that can release either 4.5 or 9 litres at will. It constitutes a means of saving water.
dump - Site used to dispose of solid wastes without environmental controls.
dust - Small solid particles, conventionally taken as those particles below 75 micrometers in diameter, which settle out under their own weight but which may remain suspended for some time.
E
EC ecolabel - The European Community (EC) initiative to encourage the promotion of environmentally friendly products. The scheme came into operation in late 1992 and was designed to identify products which are less harmful to the environment than equivalent brands. For example, eco-labels will be awarded to products that do not contain chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) which damage ozone layer, to those products that can be, or are, recycled, and to those that are energy efficient. The labels are awarded on environmental criteria set by the EC. These cover the whole life cycle of a product, from the extraction of raw materials, through manufacture, distribution, use and disposal of the product. The first products to carry the EC eco-labels were washing machines, paper towels, writing paper, light bulbs and hairsprays.
EEA-32 - 32 member countries of the EEA (EU-15 + EU-10 + EFTA-4 + Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey)
EMEP - The cooperative programme for monitoring and evaluation of the long-range transmission of air pollutants in Europe, linked to the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP). The main objective of the EMEP programme is to regularly provide governments and subsidiary bodies under the CLRTAP with qualified scientific information to support the development and further evaluation of the international protocols on emission reductions negotiated within the convention.
ETC consortium - The European topic centres (ETCs) designated to date are multi-institutional (multi-organisational) consortia consisting of a lead organisation, which provides the ETC manager and a number (currently between 7 and 12) of partner organisations (ETC partners). Thus, an ETC consortium consists of ETC lead organisation and ETC partners.
EU Pre-accession assistance programme
EU Water Initiative - Mediterranean component
EU assistance programme Technical Assistance to the Commonwealth of Independent States
EU financial instrument for the environment
EU-10 - The 10 countries that joined the EU in 2004: Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia. Joined the European Union on 1 May 2004
EU-15 - The 15 pre-2004 EU Member States: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom
EU-2 - Bulgaria and Romania
EU-25 - The pre-2007 EU Member States: EU-15 + EU-10
EU2CC2 - Bulgaria, Rumania and candidate countries (EU)
EUNIS habitats classification - A common reporting language on habitat types at European level developed by the EEA European Topic Centre on Nature Protection and Biodiversity. The EUNIS habitats classification builds upon previous initiatives (Corine-biotopes followed by the palearctic habitats classification), but introduces agreed-upon criteria for the identification of each habitat unit and provides a correspondence with other classification-types (the two above-mentioned, Corine land-cover typology, habitats directive Annex I, Nordic classification system, and potentially other national systems).
EUNIS habitats database - Database developed by the EEA European Topic Centre on Nature Protection and Biodiversity with the goal of including basic information (mostly habitat description and distribution) on habitat types of European concern.
EUNIS sites database - Database developed by the EEA European Topic Centre on Nature Protection and Biodiversity with the goal of including relevant information on nationally, Community and internationally designated areas.
EUR-A - EU-15, EFTA and other western European countries, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Cyprus and Malta
EUR-B - most of the Caucasus, Central Asia and south-eastern Europe, Poland and Slovakia
EUR-C - Eastern Europe, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary and Kazakhstan
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia
Education for Sustainable Development
Eionet - The European environment information and observation network (EIONET) is a collaborative network of the European Environment Agency and its member countries, connecting national focal points in the EU and accession countries, European topic centres, national reference centres, and main component elements. These organisations jointly provide the information that is used for making decisions for improving the state of the environment in Europe and making EU policies more effective. Eionet is both a network of organisations and a electronic network (e-Eionet).
Eionet elements - Eionet elements are: national focal points (NFPs), main component elements (MCEs), national reference centres (NRCs) and European topic centres (ETCs).
Emerald network - The Emerald network is a network of areas of special conservation interest (ASCIs), which is to be established in the territory of the contracting parties and observer States to the Bern Convention, including, among others, central and east European countries and the EU Member States. For EU Member States, Emerald network sites are those of the Natura 2000 network.
Emergency Disasters Data Base
End-of-life vehicle directive - Directive 2000/53/EC on end-of life vehicles lays down measures which aim, as a first priority, at the prevention of waste from vehicles and, in addition, at the reuse, recycling and other forms of recovery of end-of life vehicles and their components so as to reduce the disposal of waste, as well as at the improvement in the environmental performance of all of the economic operators involved in the life cycle of vehicles and especially the operators directly involved in the treatment of end-of life vehicles.
Energy consumption - Energy consumption denotes gross inland energy consumption (GIEC) and represents the quantity of energy necessary to satisfy inland consumption of the geographical entity under consideration. Gross inland consumption does not include energy (fuel oil) provided to international maritime bunkers.
Energy dependence rate - The energy dependence rate shows the proportion of energy that an economy must import. It is defined as net energy imports divided by gross inland energy consumption plus fuel supplied to international maritime bunkers, expressed as a percentage. A negative dependency rate indicates a net exporter of energy, while a dependency rate in excess of 100 % indicates that energy products have been stocked.
Energy intensity - Energy intensity denotes the ratio between energy consumption and GDP. It expresses the extent to which there is a decoupling between energy consumption and economic growth. Relative decoupling occurs if energy consumption grows, but at a lower pace than the economy. Absolute decoupling occurs if the economy grows while energy consumption decreases. An absolute decoupling is likely to alleviate the environmental pressures of energy production and consumption.
Environment for Europe
Environmental Burden of Disease
Environmental Policy Review Group - The Environmental Policy Review Group (EPRG) has its origin in the fifth Community environmental action programme, 'Towards sustainability'. It is composed of representatives of the Commission, the Member States and the candidate countries at director-general level. Its mission is to develop a mutual understanding and exchange of views on environmental policies and measures. It is a dialogue group for getting Commission, Member States and candidate countries together to discuss on environmental issues at an early stage and not only at Council level on proposals; being a think tank where ideas on environmental issues can be explored or tested, prior to administrative and legislative developments, in the light of Member States ground reality.
Environmental and Engineering Consultancy
Environmental issue report - The EEA 'Environmental issues reports' provide background knowledge and analysis of particular environmental issue, with the aim of providing support to the development and implementation of environmental policies.
Environmental signals - European Environment Agency regular indicator-based assessment reports the aim of which is improve the actuality of the data and the capacities for delivering short-term environmental outlooks, in order to describe present situation.
Envirowindows - Envirowindows is the EIONET's interface to external partners. It provides an information 'marketplace' for businesses, local authorities and their stakeholders. The service is designed to:(a) facilitate consumer access to company's information on products, best practices, use of natural resources and corporate environmental performance, and;(b) help local authorities to communicate with concerned citizens, professionals, policy-makers and companies. Envirowindows is based on two main services: interest groups and information portals.
Estonian kroon
Euro I - Euro I passenger cars are cars that comply with the emission standards as defined in Directive 91/441/EEC.
Euro II - Euro II passenger cars are cars that comply with the emission standards as defined in Directive 94/12/EC.
Euro III - Euro III vehicles that comply with the emission limits as defined in Directive 98/69/EC.
Euro IV - Euro IV vehicles that comply with the emission limits as defined in Directive 98/69/EC, which will enter into force in 2005.
Euro V - Euro V vehicles that comply with the emission limits as defined in Directive 99/96/EC, which will enter into force in 2009.
Euroairnet - The European air quality monitoring network. The main goal of Euroairnet is to establish a network with sufficient spatial coverage, representativeness and quality to provide the basic data as soon as possible, with a time delay not longer than six months, to fulfil the information requirement of the EEA. Euroairnet comprises a selection from already existing stations in the countries. Data from Euroairnet are reported to Airbase, the European air quality database. Euroairnet and Airbase are managed by the European Topic Centre on Air Quality and climate change under contract to the EEA.
European Automobile Manufacturers' Association
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
European Bird Census Council
European Blue Flag - The Blue Flag is an ecolabel awarded to beaches and marinas. The award of the Blue Flag is based on 27 specific criteria for beaches and 16 specific criteria for marina. Though the specific requirements are different for the two types of sites, they cover the same four aspects: water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, and safety and services. The Blue Flag Campaign is owned and run by the independent non-profit organisation Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
European Centre for Nature Conservation
European Chemical Bureau - the European Chemicals Bureau (ECB) was established within the Environment Institute of JRC Ispra with effect of 1st January, 1993. The principal task of the bureau is to carry out and coordinate the scientific/technical work which is needed for the implementation of EU legislation (directives, regulation) in the area of chemical control.
European Chemical Industry Council
European Chemicals Bureau
European Commission
European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office
European Community biodiversity strategy - The European Community biodiversity strategy (COM(1998) 42 final) and its action plans set out the framework for developing Community policies and instruments in order to ensure Community compliance with commitments given under the Convention on Biological Diversity.
European Conference of Ministers of Transport
European Economic Community
European Environment Agency - The European Environment Agency (EEA) was established by Regulation (EEC) No 1210/1990, amended by Regulation (EEC) No 933/1990, and has been operational since 1994. The EEA aims to support sustainable development and to help achieve significant and measurable improvement in Europe's environment through the provision of timely, targeted, relevant and reliable information to policy-making agents and the public. The Agency processes data from the member countries to knowledge at European level, and cooperates with the European environment information and observation network (Eionet) and other international partners to gather, process and distribute data and information.
European Environment Bureau - A federation of non-governmental organisation. Its main purpose is to liaise between its member organisation and the EU Institutions in order to improve EU's impact on the environment.
European Environment and Health Committee
European Environmental Bureau
European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism
European Free Trade Association
European Information & Communications Technology Industry Association
European Land-Ocean Interaction Studies
European Landscape Convention - On 19 July 2000, the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers adopted the European Landscape Convention and decided to open it for signature to the 41 Council of Europe's Member States. The European Landscape Convention aims at filling the legal vacuum caused by the absence, at European level, of a specific, comprehensive reference text devoted entirely to the conservation, management and improvement of European landscapes in the international legal instruments on the environment, regional planning and the cultural heritage.
European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation
European Pollutants Release and Transfer Register
European Spatial Planning Observation Network
European Statistical Laboratory
European Topic Centre on Air and Climate Change - The European Topic Centre on Air and Climate Change (ETC/ACC) has been established by EEA in 2001. This centre builds on the experience gained by the former ETC on Air Emissions and Air Quality. It is an international consortium brought together to assists the EEA in its work of collecting, analysing, evaluating and synthesising information on air and climate change relevant to national and international policies.
European Topic Centre on Biological Diversity
European Topic Centre on Nature Protection and Biodiversity - The European Topic Centre on Nature Protection and Biodiversity (ETC/NPB, formerly European Topic Centre for Nature Conservation, ETC/NC), is one of five EEA's topic centres. It assists the EEA in its work of collecting, analysing, evaluating and synthesising information relevant to national and international policies for the environment and sustainable development.
European Topic Centre on Resource and Waste Management
European Topic Centre on Terrestrial Environment - It technically supports EEA in the implementation of the soil monitoring and assessment framework through the keeping and further developing of databases and information for indicator development and reporting on soil and land issues, including the terrestrial aspects of coastal environment.
European Topic Centre on Waste and Material Flows - An international consortium brought together to assists the EEA in its work of collecting, analysing, evaluating and synthesising information on waste and material flows relevant to national and international policies.
European Topic Centre on Water
European Union
European Union Coastal Conservation
European climate change programme - Programme launched in June 2000 by the European Commission. Its goal is to identify and develop all the necessary elements of a EU strategy to implement the Kyoto Protocol.
European inventory of existing commercial chemical substances - A closed list of 100/106 'existing' chemicals governed by Regulation 793/93 on the evaluation and control of the risks of existing substances.
European list of notified chemical substances - The European list of notified chemical substances (ELINCS) is an everexpanding list, following notification to competent authorities of the placing of a new substance on the market.
European marine strategy
European nature information system - EUNIS has been developed by the EEA European Topic Centre on Nature Protection and Biodiversity. It has two main aims: to facilitate use of data by promoting harmonisation of terminology and definitions, and to be a reservoir of information on European environmentally important matters. EUNIS consists of a central unit integrating data models on species, habitats and sites; several secondary databases which are managed by different partners; and an increasing number of satellite databases.
European neighbourhood policy
European network of environmental authorities
European pollutant emission register - In 2000, the European Commission adopted a Decision on the implementation of a European pollutant emission register (EPER) according to Article 15 of Council Directive 96/61/EC concerning iIntegrated pollution prevention and control (IPPC). The general purpose of the IPPC Directive is to reduce pollution by industry and to control emissions from larger facilities. National governments of all EC Member States are required to maintain inventories of emission data from specified industrial sources and to report emissions from individual facilities to the European Commission. The reported data will be made accessible in a public register (EPER), which is intended to provide environmental information on major industrial activities.
European spatial development perspective - European spatial development perspective (ESDP) is a common frame of reference for the totality of the institutions that are involved in spatial planning and the development of space: European Commission, Member States, regions, self-governments, etc. This frame of reference, which is not binding, aims to reinforce synergies and trans-national cooperation in the sector of the development of space. A draft ESDP was agreed in 1997. A final version was approved at Potsdam in May 1999.
European spatial planning observatory network - At the Tampere informal meeting of the Ministers with responsibility for regional planning, a decision was taken to set up the European Spatial Planning Observatory Network (ESPON) as one of the 12 measures for implementing the European spatial development perspective. The aim of the observatory is to provide the necessary database to encourage the harmonious development of the entire Community and to clarify the concept of territorial cohesion. ESPON activities rely on networking between the Member States (research institutes, public authorities).
European sustainable cities - The European sustainable cities and towns campaign was launched at the end of the European Conference on Sustainable Cities and Towns, which took place in Aalborg, Denmark from 24 to 27 May 1994. The objective of the campaign is to promote development towards sustainability at the local level through Local Agenda 21 processes, by strengthening partnership among all actors in the local community as well as inter-authority cooperation, and relating this process to the European Union's action in the field of urban environment, and the work of the Urban Environment Expert Group. The campaign is formed by municipal signatories of the Aalborg Charter as campaign participants.
European topic centre - ETCs are institutions/organisations contracted by the EEA to execute tasks identified in the multiannual work programme. They are designated by the management board after a competitive expertise/capacity selection process. Guiding principles for selection should be the cost-efficient use of existing and potential capacities in the member countries and avoidance of duplication of work and capacities.
European waste catalogue - The EWC is a hierarchical list of waste descriptions established by Commission decision 2000/532/EC2. It is divided into twenty main chapters, most of which are industry-based but some of which are based on materials and processes. Each of these has a two digit code between 01 and 20. Chapters have one or more subchapters (with four figure codes, the first two of which are the two digits of the chapter). Within these there are codes for individual wastes each of which is assigned a six figure code. Hazardous wastes are signified by entries where the code is followed by an asterisk.
Eurostat database on trade data
Eurovignette - A fixed annual charge for heavy vehicles calculated in accordance with the damage caused to the environment and road infrastructure, necessary for using the roads in EU countries that do not levy tolls on motorways.
Eurowaternet - Monitoring network designated to collect data on the status and trends of Europe's water resources in terms of quality and quantity and analyse how this reflects pressures on the environment.
e-EIONET - Electronic EIONET. Formerly also called the EIONET telematics network. It facilitates cooperation and flow of data and information between EIONET partners and with the EEA.
eEurope - The initiative 'eEurope, an information society for all' was launched in 1999 by the European Commission to bring the benefits of the information society to all Europeans.
earmarked tax - Tax collected and used for a specific purpose.
earmarking - Refers to the pre-commitment of taxes to support, or fully fund, pre-specified expenditure items. These revenues may be channelled through the general budget or may be paid directly to a dedicated fund.
earthquake - The violent shaking of the ground produced by deep seismic waves, beneath the epicentre, generated by a sudden decrease or release in a volume of rock of elastic strain accumulated over a long time in regions of seismic activity (tectonic earthquake). The magnitude of an earthquake is represented by the Richter scale; the intensity by the Mercalli scale.
echinoderm - Marine animals usually characterised by five-fold symmetry, and possessing an internal skeleton of calcite plates, and a complex water vascular system. Includes echinoids (sea urchins), crinoids (sea lillies) and asteroids (starfish).
eco-design - The integration of environmental aspects into the product development process, by balancing ecological and economic requirements. Eco-design considers environmental aspects at all stages of the product development process, striving for products which make the lowest possible environmental impact throughout the product life cycle.
eco-industrial park - A community of manufacturing and service businesses located together on a common property. Member businesses seek enhanced environmental, economic, and social performance through collaboration in managing environmental and resource issues. An eco-industrial park also seeks benefits for neighbouring communities to assure that the net impact of its development is positive.
eco-industry - Companies providing goods and services for environmental protection. The term includes the provision of clean technologies, renewable energy, waste recycling, nature and landscape protection, and ecological renovation of urban areas.
eco-intensity - An indicator for the 'use of nature' (materials + energy + pollution) per unit of output.
eco-management and auditing scheme - A Community scheme allowing voluntary participation by companies performing industrial activities, established for the evaluation and improvement of the environmental performance of industrial activities and the provision of the relevant information to the public. The objective of the scheme is to promote continuous improvements in the environmental performance of industrial activities by:(a) the establishment and implementation of environmental policies, programmes and management systems by companies, in relation to their sites;(b) the systematic, objective and periodic evaluation of the performance of such elements;(c) the provision of information of environmental performance to the public.
ecological corridor - A thin strip of vegetation used by wildlife and potentially allowing movement of biotic factors between two areas.
ecological rucksack - The material input of a product (service) minus the weight of the product itself. The material input is defined as the life cycle wide total quantity (in kg) of natural material moved (physically displaced) by humans in order to generate a good.
ecological status of aquatic ecosystems - It is an expression of the quality of the structure and functioning of aquatic ecosystems associated with surface waters, classified in accordance with Annex V of the water framework directive.
ecology - The branch of science studying the interactions among living things and their environment.
economy-wide material flow accounting
ecoregional conservation plan
ecosystem - A dynamic complex of plant, animal and micro-organism communities and their non-living environment interacting as a functional unit.
ecosystem diversity - The variety of ecosystems that occurs within a larger landscape, ranging from biome (the largest ecological unit) to microhabitat.
ecosystem type - Ecosystems can be classified according to various criteria: e.g. from the point of view of energy source, two major types of ecosystems can be distinguished. Autotrophic ecosystems have primary producers as a principal component and sunlight has the major initial energy source; etherotrophic ecosystems depend upon preformed organic matter that is imported from autotrophic ecosystems elsewhere. Ecosystems can also be classified in terrestrial, marine and freshwater. In European nature policy a further classification into habitats is widely used.
ecotax - Tax with a potentially positive environmental impact, hence comprising energy taxes, transport taxes and taxes on pollution and resources. Also called environmental tax.
ecotourism - A trip to semi-natural areas to understand the natural and cultural history of the place visited, taking care of the integrity of the ecosystem; providing economical opportunities in order to allow the preservation of natural resources, benefiting the local population.
ecotoxicology - The science of poisons and toxic substances occurring in the environment and their effects.
edgematching - When integrating vector layers or mosaicking images together, it is possible that each vector or image may not precisely join or geometrically edgematch to an adjacent vector or image. Visual inspection of the integrated vector layer or image mosaic should be performed to ensure that features on the ground along the edge of each vector or image line up exactly with the same features on the edge of the adjacent vector or image.Many GIS or IP (Image Processing) SW have semiautomated tools to help in edgematching process. Futher control of attributes is necessary in case of edgematching of vector layers with line or polygonial topology.
effect - Change in the state or dynamics of a system caused by the action of an agent.
effective dose equivalent - Measurement of radioactivity that expresses the variety of dose equivalents for different organs of the body as a single number. It is commonly referred to as a 'dose', and is measured in sieverts. It provides an indication of the risk to health from any given exposure to radiation.
effectiveness of a measure - A judgement about whether or not the expected objectives and targets of the policy measure have been achieved. This requires comparing the effects of the measure with its intended objectives.
efficiency indicator - Indicators that relate environmental pressures to human activities. These indicators provide insight in the efficiency of products and processes: Efficiency in terms of the resources used, the emissions and waste generated per unit of output.
electricity - A general term used for all phenomena caused by electric charge whether static or in motion.
electricity produced from renewable energy sources - Electricity produced from renewable energy sources shall mean electricity produced by plants using only renewable energy sources, as well as the proportion of electricity produced from renewable energy sources in hybrid plants also using conventional energy sources and including renewable electricity used for filling storage systems, and excluding electricity produced as a result of storage systems.
electromagnetic field - The region in which electromagnetic radiation from a source exerts an influence on another object with or without there being contact between them.
emission factor - The estimated average emission rate of a given pollutant for a given source, relative to units of activity.
emission inventory - A listing, by source, of the amount of air pollutants discharged into the atmosphere of a community.
emission limit - Legally enforceable limit on the physical, chemical or biological characteristics of a point source of emission to water or air, normally expressed as a maximum permissible concentration of a specified substance.
emission reduction units
emission standard - The maximum amount of discharge legally allowed from a single source, mobile or stationary.
emission tax - Emission taxes involve tax payments that are directly related to the measurement (or estimation) of the pollution caused.
emission trading - The Kyoto Protocol allows Parties listed in Annex B to participate in trading of their assigned amounts for the purposes of fulfilling their emissions commitments. Parties buying parts of assigned amounts can add these to their assigned amounts under the Protocol, while Parties selling must deduct them. Such trading must be supplemental to domestic actions. The Conference of the Parties is to define the rules and modalities for trading.
emissions trading scheme
end-of-life vehicle - 'End-of life vehicle' means a vehicle which is waste within the meaning of Article 1(a) of Directive 75/442/EEC on waste (waste means any substance or object which the holder disposes of or is required to dispose of pursuant to the provisions of national law in force).
end-of-pipe - Technologies such as scrubbers on smokestacks and catalytic convertors on automobile tailpipes that reduce emissions of pollutants after they have formed.
endangered species - Taxa in danger of extinction and whose survival is unlikely if the causal factors continue operating.
endemic species - Species native to, and restricted to, a particular geographical region.
energy - The capacity to do work; involving thermal energy (heat), radiant energy (light), kinetic energy (motion) or chemical energy; measured in joules.
energy efficiency - Refers to actions to save fuels by better building design, the modification of production processes, better selection of road vehicles and transport policies, the adoption of district heating schemes in conjunction with electrical power generation, and the use of domestic insulation and double glazing in homes.
energy intensity - Ratio of energy consumption and economic or physical output. At the national level, energy intensity is the ratio of total domestic primary energy consumption or final energy consumption to gross domestic product or physical output.
energy performance of a building - Energy performance of a building is the amount of energy actually consumed or estimated to meet the different needs associated with a standardised use of the building, which may include, inter alia, heating, hot water heating, cooling,ventilation and lighting. This amount shall be reflected in one or more numeric indicators which have been calculated,taking into account insulation, technical and installation characteristics, design and positioning in relation to climatic aspects, solar exposure and influence of neighbouring structures,own-energy generation and other factors, including indoor climate, that influence the energy demand.
energy policy - A statement of a country's intentions in the energy sector.
energy recovery - A form of resource recovery in which the organic fraction of waste is converted to some form of usable energy. Recovery may be achieved through the combustion of processed or raw refuse to produce steam through the pyrolysis of refuse to produce oil or gas; and through the anaerobic digestion of organic wastes to produce methane gas.
energy saving - Avoiding wasting energy.
enrichment - Addition of nitrogen, phosphorous and carbon compounds or other nutrients into a water body, thereby increasing the potential for growth of algae and other aquatic plants. Most frequently, enrichment results from the inflow of sewage effluents or from agricultural run-off.
environment action programme
environment and health information system
environment and health performance review
environment and security initiative
environmental accounting - (1) National accounting: physical and monetary accounts of environmental assets and the costs of their depletion and degradation. (2) Corporate accounting: the term usually refers to environmental auditing, but may also include the costing of environmental impacts caused by the corporation.
environmental appraisal - The process by which account is taken of the environmental dimensions of development interventions in each phase of the project cycle.
environmental audit - A management tool comprising a systematic, documented, periodic and objective evaluation of how well a project, organisation or equipment is performing with the aim of helping to safeguard the environment. The audit should facilitate management control of environmental practices and assess compliance with policy objectives and regulatory requirements.
environmental convention - Multilateral environmental agreement.
environmental headline indicator - An indicator in a very limited set of indicators (maximum 10), selected by policy-makers with the advice of information providers. The purpose of environmental headline indicators is to provide simple and clear information to decision-makers and the general public about progress in environmental policies and the key factors determining the state of the environment and whether we are moving towards environmental sustainability. The indicators should be designed to reach the headlines of newspapers.
environmental health - Those aspects of human health and disease that are determined by factors in the environment. It also refers to the theory and practice of assessing and controlling factors in the environment that can potentially affect health. Environmental health includes both the direct pathological effects of chemicals, radiation and some biological agents, and the effects (often indirect) on health and well-being of the broad physical, psychological, social and aesthetic environment, which includes housing, urban development, land use and transport.
environmental hygiene - Practical prevention and control measures used to improve the basic environmental conditions affecting human health, for example clean water supply, human and animal waste disposal, protection of food from contamination, and provision of healthy housing, all of which are concerned with the quality of the human environment.
environmental impact - Impacts on human beings, ecosystems and man-made capital resulting from changes in environmental quality.
environmental impact assessment - A technique used for identifying the environmental effects of development projects. As a result of Directive 85/337/EEC (as amended 1997), this is now a legislative procedure to be applied to the assessment of the environmental effects of certain public and private projects which are likely to have significant effects on the environment. An EIA requires a scoping study to be undertaken in order to focus the assessment. This can be carried out in the field or as a desk study depending on the nature/scale of the project.
environmental impact assessment directive - Council Directive 97/11/EC of 3 March 1997 amending Directive 85/337/EEC on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment. According to it, Member States shall adopt all measures necessary to ensure that, before consent is given, projects likely to have significant effects on the environment by virtue, inter alia, of their nature, size or location are made subject to a requirement for development consent and an assessment with regard to their effects.
environmental impact of energy - Energy and environmental problems are closely related, since it is nearly impossible to produce, transport, or consume energy without significant environmental impact. The environmental problems directly related to energy production and consumption include air pollution, climate change, water pollution, thermal pollution, and solid waste disposal. The emission of air pollutants from fossil fuel combustion is the major cause of urban air pollution. Burning fossil fuels is also the main contributor to the emission of grenhouse gases. Diverse water pollution problems are associated with energy usage. One problem is oil spills. In all petroleum-handling operations, there is a finite probability of spilling oil either on the earth or in a body of water. Coal mining can also pollute water. Changes in groundwater flow produced by mining operations often bring otherwise unpolluted waters into contact with certain mineral materials which are leached from the soil and produce an acid mine drainage. Solid waste is also a by-product of some forms of energy usage. Coal mining requires the removal of large quantities of earth as well as coal.
environmental impact of products
environmental impact study - Survey conducted to ascertain the conditions of a site prior to the realisation of a project, to analyse its possible impacts and compensative measures.
environmental indicator - A parameter or a value derived from parameters that describe the state of the environment and its impact on human beings, ecosystems and materials, the pressures on the environment, the driving forces and the responses steering that system. An indicator has gone through a selection and/or aggregation process to enable it to steer action.
environmental liability - Liability for damage to nature and environment. Environmental liability makes the causer of environmental damage pay for remedying the damage that he has caused.
environmental load - Observed (or predicted) environmental concentration of a compound in an environmental compartment.
environmental management plan - An action plan or system which addresses the how, when, who, where and what of integrating environmental mitigation and monitoring measures throughout an existing or proposed operation or activity. It encompasses all the elements that are sometimes addressed separately in mitigation, monitoring and action plans.
environmental management system - A means of ensuring effective implementation of an environmental management plan or procedures and compliance with environmental policy objectives and targets. A key feature on any effective environmental management system (EMS) is the preparation of documented system procedures and instructions to ensure effective communication and continuity of implementation. There are certification systems for EMS ISO 14001 and EC's EMAS scheme (EMAS is now compatible with ISO 14001) which demonstrate that a system is operated to an internationally recognised standard. Alternatively a customised system can be developed addressing the particular needs of the operation.
environmental medicine - A medical discipline that deals with environmentally-related disease. Also used in some contexts as a synonym for environmental health.
environmental medium - Major compartments of the environment, e.g. air, water and soil.
environmental noise - Environmental noise shall mean unwanted or harmful outdoor sound created by human activities, including noise emitted by means of transport, road traffic, rail traffic, air traffic, and from sites of industrial activity such as those defined in Annex I to Council Directive 96/61/EC of 24 September 1996 concerning integrated pollution prevention and control.
environmental performance evaluation - The concept of environmental performance evaluation is being developed for use in an environmental management system to quantify, understand and track the relevant environmental aspects of a system. The basic idea is to identify indicators (environmental, operational and management) which can be measured and tracked to facilitate continuous improvements.
environmental performance review
environmental product declaration - A description of the aspects and impacts of a product, system or service over its entire life, from raw material extraction, through manufacturing and use, to end-of-life disposal or recycling.
environmental programme for Europe - The first all-European conference of environment ministers, attended by ministers from all the European countries (including the then Soviet Union) and the European Commission's Environment Commissioner, issued a call for a new environmental programme for Europe: a framework for the better coordination of national and international environmental efforts, setting priorities for restoring existing environmental damage and the prevention of future problems. That was under the auspicies of the United Nations Commission for Europe (UNECE).
environmental protection agency
environmental quality - Properties and characteristics of the environment, either generalized or local, as they impinge on human beings and other organisms. Environmental quality is a general term which can refer to: varied characteristics such as air and water purity or pollution, noise, access to open space, and the visual effects of buildings, and the potential effects which such characteristics may have on physical and mental health (caused by human activities).
environmental risk - Likelihood, or probability, of injury, disease, or death resulting from exposure to a potential environmental hazard.
environmental satellite account - The satellite accounts provide physical and economic information of particular relevance for the integration of economic and environmental policies in a form consistent with the normal economic statistics in general and national accounts in particular.
environmental scenario - A plausible description of how the future may unfold based on 'if-then' propositions; usually a scenario is one of a set of alternative pathways. A typical environmental scenario includes a representation of the initial situation, an image of the future and a storyline that describes the key driving forces and the step-wise changes that lead to this image of the future. Note that scenarios are neither predictions nor forecast.
environmental scenario analyses - A procedure based on the development of environmental scenarios, a comparison of scenario results, and an evaluation of their consequences. The goal of environmental scenario analysis is to anticipate future developments of nature and society, and to evaluate strategies for responding to these developments. A key idea is to explore alternative future developments.
environmental scenario development - A discursive procedure by which a scenario or a set of scenarios is conceived, formulated, and elaborated. (Often used synonymously with scenario building.)
environmental space - The maximum amounts of natural resources that we can use sustainably and without violating global equity.
environmental tax reform
environmentally related disease - An interruption, cessation or disorder of human bodily functions, systems or organs resulting from genetic or developmental errors, infection, nutritional deficiency,toxicity, illness or unfavorable environmental factors.
equivalent
erosion control - Practices used during construction or other land disturbing activities to reduce or prevent soil erosion. Typical practices include planting of trees and quick growing grass on disturbed areas and other means to slow the movement of water across a disturbed site and trap the soil that does get transported by runoff.
estuary - Area at the mouth of a river where it broadens into the sea, and where fresh and sea water intermingle to produce brackish water. The estuarine environment is very rich in wildlife, particularly aquatic, but it is very vulnerable to damage as a result of the actions of humans.
euphotic zone - The upper, illuminated zone of aquatic ecosystems: it is above the compensation level and therefore the zone of effective photosynthesis. In marine ecosystems it is much thinner than the deeper aphotic zone (below the level of effective light penetration), typically reaching 30 m in coastal waters but extending to 100-200 m in open ocean waters.
euro
eutrophication - Excessive enrichment of waters with nutrients, and the associated adverse biological effects.
evaluation - (1) Judging something (a scenario, a policy, a strategy, a futures project, etc.) in terms of selected criteria (feasibility, desirability, equity, cost-effectiveness, etc.) or comparing two or more items in terms of such criteria. (2) An investigation as systematic and objective as possible of preparation, implementation and outputs of an on-going or completed project or programme, with a view to investigating the relevance of its objectives, its fulfilment of objectives, efficiency, impact and sustainability.
ex ante evaluation - Ex ante evaluation refers to forward-looking assessment of the likely future effects of new policies of proposals.
ex post evaluation - Ex post evaluation of policies refers to backward-looking assessment of the effects of introduced policies of proposals.
ex-situ conservation - The conservation of components of biological diversity outside their natural habitats.
excavation - The removal of earth from its natural position.
exceedance - An event (characterised by duration and degree of exceedance) where the concentration of a pollutant is greater than, or equal to, the appropriate air quality standard.
exchange of information decision
exclusive economic zone - Concept adopted at the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (1982), whereby a coastal state assumes jurisdiction over the exploration and exploitation of marine resources in its adjacent section of the continental shelf, taken to be a band extending 200 miles from the shore.
exotic species
exploratory scenario - Exploratory scenarios (also known as descriptive scenarios) are those that begin in the present and explore trends into the future.
explosion - A violent, sudden release of energy resulting from powders or gases undergoing instantaneous ignition or from some other means of detonation, often accompanied by a force producing great amounts of heat, major structural damages, shock waves and flying shrapnel.
exposure assessment - The process of estimating or measuring the intensity, frequency, and duration of exposure to an agent. Ideally, it describes the sources, pathways, routes, magnitude, duration, and patters of exposure; the characteristics of the population exposed; and the uncertainties in the assessment.
exposure duration - The total time period over which contacts occur between the agent and a target. For, example, if an individual is in contact with an agent for 10 minutes a day, for 300 days over a one-year time period, the exposure duration is one year.
exposure frequency - The number of exposure intervals in an exposure duration.
exposure interval - A period of continuous contact between an agent and a target.
exposure pathway - The physical course a chemical or pollutant takes from its source to the exposed organism.
exposure scenario - A set of facts, assumptions, and interfaces about how exposure takes place. Scenarios are often created to aid exposure assessors in estimating exposure.
extensive farming - Farming system often practised on larger farms, characterised by low levels of inputs per unit area of land; in such situations the stocking rate, the number of livestock units per area, is low.
external benefit - An external benefit is a benefit not included in the market price of the goods and services being produced, i.e. a benefit not paid by those who receive it.
external cost - An external cost is a cost not included in the market price of the goods and services being produced, i.e. a cost not borne by those who create it.
external cost/benefit - A benefit or a cost not included in the market price of the good and services being produced, i.e. costs not borne by those who create them and benefits not paid by those who receive them.
extinct species - A species is presumed extinct when exhaustive surveys in known and/or expected habitat, at appropriate times (diurnal, seasonal, annual) throughout its historic range failed to record an individual.
extractive industry - Primary activities involved in the extraction of non-renewable resources.
extrapolation - A scenario describing a future that is simply a continuation of current situations and trends.
F
Federal Environment Agency (Austria and Germany)
Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Germany
Federation of Nature and National Parks of Europe
Food Standards Agency
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations' Statistical Database
Framework Directive
factor 10 - Factor 10 refers to a number of countries that met for the first time in 1992 in Carnoules (France) because of mounting concerns over the unchartered role of human-induced global material flows, and the ecological ramifications of their unchecked growth, with the aim to draw attention to the need for substantially reducing global material flows in a timely manner.
fallow land - Arable land not under rotation that is set at rest for a period of time ranging from one to five years before it is cultivated again, or land usually under permanent crops, meadows or pastures, which is not being used for that purpose for a period of at least one year. Arable land which is normally used for the cultivation of temporary crops but which is temporarily used for grazing is included.
feed-in law - A legal obligation on utilities to purchase electricity from renewable sources.
feed-in tariff - The price per unit of electricity that a utility or supplier has to pay for renewable electricity from private generators. The government regulates the tariff rate.
fifth environment action programme - The fifth environmental action programme towards sustainability which was communicated by the Commission to the Council of Ministers in 1993, sets targets for the period from 1993-2000, together with a legislative agenda to the end of 1997. The action programmes are policy documents from the European Commission which aim to provide strategic guidance and orientation for the substantive work programmes and actions of the principal actors within the European Community.
final energy - Energy supplied that is available to the consumer to be converted into useful energy (e.g. electricity at the wall outlet).
final energy consumption
financial instrument for fisheries guidance - Since 1994, the financial instrument for fisheries guidance has grouped together the Community instruments for fisheries. It is applied in all coastal regions, its main task being to increase the competitiveness of the structures and develop viable business enterprises in the fishing industry while striving to maintain the balance between fishing capacities and available resources.
fire - The state of combustion in which inflammable material burns, producing heat, flames and often smoke.
fish by-catch - The catch of non-target species and undersized fish of the target species. By-catch of commercial species may be retained or discarded along with non-commercial by-catch.
fish catch - The total quantity of fish that is retained by fishing gear and brought onto the deck or fishing station, i.e. landings plus discards.
fish farm - Raising of fish in inland waters, estuaries or coastal waters.
fish landing - The part of the fish catch that is put ashore. Frequently, landings provide the only record of total catch; i.e. the landings plus discards.
fish stock - The living resources in the community or population from which catches are taken in a fishery. Use of the term fish stock usually implies that the particular population is more or less isolated from other stocks of the same species and hence self-sustaining. In a particular fishery, the fish stock may be one or several species of fish but here is also intended to include commercial invertebrates and plants.
fishery - The region occupied by an aquatic species that is used for commercial harvesting.
fishing quota - A fixed proportion of the total allowable catch allocated to each fishing nation. This national quota allocation is further sub-divided into quotas for specific areas, seasons, fisheries or organisations, e.g. producers' organisations.
fjord - A narrow, long, deep inlet of the seas usually formed by glaciers and found along coasts such as those of Norway and Alaska.
flood - An unusual accumulation of water above the ground caused by high tide, heavy rain, melting snow or rapid runoff from paved areas.
flood control - The management of water resources through construction of dams, reservoirs, embankments, etc. to avoid floods.
flood protection - Precautionary measures, equipment or structures implemented to guard or defend people, property and lands from an unusual accumulation of water above the ground.
flooding - A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of normally dry land areas from the overflow of inland and/or tidal waters, and/or the unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source. A great flow along a watercourse or a flow causing inundation of lands not normally covered by water.
floodplain - Any normally dry land area that is susceptible to being inundated by water from any natural source. This area is usually low land adjacent to a stream or lake.
flue gas desulphurisation - A technology that employs a sorbent, usually lime or limestone, to remove sulfur dioxide from the gases produced by burning fossil fuels. Flue gas desulfurisation is current state-of-the art technology for major SO2 emitters, like power plants.
fluorinated gases
fly ash - Air-borne solid particles that result from the burning of coal and other solid fuel.
fodder - Edible parts of plants, other than separated grain, that can provide feed for grazing animals or that can be harvested for feeding.
food chain - Sequence of organisms each of which uses the next lower member of the sequence as a food source.
food contamination - The presence in food of harmful, unpalatable, or otherwise objectionable foreign substances, e.g. chemicals, microorganisms or diluents, before, during, or after processing or storage.
food web - The network of feeding relationships within an ecosystem or a community i.e. the predator-prey relationships.
forecast - An estimate or prediction of a future condition.
forecasting scenario - Forecasting scenarios explore alternative developments, starting from the current situation with or without expected/desired policy efforts.
forest - Land with a tree canopy cover of more than 10 % and an area of more than 0.5 ha.
forest degradation - Biological, chemical or physical processes which result in the loss of the productive potential of natural resources in areas covered by forests and/or used by agriculture. Degradation may be permanent, although some forest areas may recover naturally or with human assistance.
forest management - The practical application of biological, physical, quantitative, managerial, economic, social and policy principles to the regeneration, utilisation, and conservation of forests to meet specified goals and objectives (while maintaining the productivity of the forest).
forest regeneration - The natural or artificial process of re-establishing tree cover on forest land.
fossil fuel - Coal, natural gas and petroleum products (such as oil) formed from the decayed bodies of animals and plants that died millions of years ago.
founding regulation - Council Regulation (EEC) No 1210/90 established the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Information and Observation Network (EIONET). Regulation (EEC) No 1201/90 was amended by Council Regulation (EC) No 933/1999 in April 1999.
fragmentation - The breaking-up of continuous tracts of ecosystems creating barriers to migration or dispersal of organisms and reducing the size of homogenous areas. Fragmentation may be induced by human activities (e.g. road infrastructures, dams) or by natural processes.
framework programme
freight transport - Transportation of goods by ship, aircraft or other vehicles.
freight transport intensity - This indicator is defined as the ratio between tonne-kilometres (inland modes) and GDP (in constant 1995 EUR). It is indexed on 1995. The unit used is the tonne-kilometre (tkm), which represents the movement of one tonne over a distance of one kilometre. It includes transport by road, rail and inland waterways. Rail and inland waterways transport are based on movements on national territory, regardless of the nationality of the vehicle or vessel. Road transport is based on all movements of vehicles registered in the reporting country.
freshwater - Naturally occurring water having a low concentration of salts, which is often acceptable as suitable for abstraction and treatment to produce drinking water;
fuel efficiency - The proportion of energy released by fuel combustion that is converted into useful energy.
fuel switching - One of the simplest approaches to the control of acid gas emissions, involving the replacement of high-sulphur fuels with low-sulphur alternatives. The most common form of fuel switching is the replacement of high-sulphur coal with a low-sulphur coal. Coal may also be replaced entirely by oil or natural gas.
fugitive emission - Emissions not caught by a capture system which are often due to equipment leaks, evaporative processes and windblown disturbances.
full cost accounting - A tool to identify, quantify and allocate the direct and indirect environmental costs of ongoing company operations. Full cost accounting helps identify and qualify the following four types of costs for a product, process or project: direct costs, hidden costs, contingent liability costs, and less tangible costs.
fungicide - Chemicals used to kill or halt the development of fungi that cause plant disease, such as: storage rot; seedling diseases; root rots; vascular wilts; leaf blights, rusts, smuts and mildews, and viral diseases. These can be controlled by the early and continued application of selected fungicides that either kill the pathogens or restrict their development.
furans - Polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs), often associated with dioxins (PCDDs), are not industrially produced as such but found as impurities in some heavy chlorinated chemicals and as by-products of combustion (from wastes, coal, petroleum products, wood....).
G
GRID United Nations Environment Programme/Global Resources Information Database - DEWA~Europe/GRID-Geneva is one of UNEP's major centres for data and information management, with a unique, 'value-adding' mandate in the handling of global and regional environmental data, which in turn support the environment assessment and early-warning activities of UNEP and its partners. At the same time, DEWA~Europe occupies the niche of francophone centre for the global GRID network. DEWA~Europe/GRID-Geneva is supported by a 'Partnership Agreement' between UNEP, the Swiss Agency for Environment, Forests and Landscape (SAEFL) and the University of Geneva.
General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean
German Environmental Survey
Global Earth Observation System of Systems
Global Footprint Network
Global International Waters Assessments
Global Model of Ambient Particulates
Goddard Institute for Space Studies
Great Britain pound
Gross final energy consumption - Gross final energy consumption is defined in Directive 2009/28/EC on renewable energy sources as energy commodities delivered for energy purposes to final consumers (industry, transport, households, services, agriculture, forestry and fisheries), including the consumption of electricity and heat by the energy branch for electricity and heat production, and including losses of electricity and heat in distribution and transmission. The accounting rules in the Directive prescribe that electricity generated by hydropower and wind have to be normalised for annual variations (hydro 15 years and wind 5 years).
gene flow - Exchange of genetic traits between populations by movement of individuals, gametes or spores.
general multilingual environmental thesaurus - The general multilingual environmental thesaurus (GEMET) was developed for the European Environment Agency (EEA) by the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR) and Umwelt-Bundesamt (UBA), as a reference indexing and retrieval tool for the EEA catalogue of data sources and other EEA databases.
generalist species - A species that uses a relatively large proportion, or in extreme cases all, of the available resource types.
genetic diversity - The variety of genes within a particular species, variety or breed.
genetically modified crops
genetically modified organism - The modification of the genetic characteristics of a microorganism, plant or animal by inserting a modified gene or a gene from another variety or species. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) may be microorganisms designed for use as biopesticides or seeds that have been altered genetically to give a plant better disease resistance or growth.
genetically modified organisms
geo-referenced data - Generally refers to data with geographic location information included such as latitude and longitude.
geographic information system - Group of principles, methods, instruments and geo-referenced data used to capture, store, extract, measure, transform, analyse and map phenomena and processes in a given geographic area.
geological disaster - Disasters caused by movements and deformation of the earth's crust.
geosphere - The non-living portion of the earth, excluding the atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere.
geothermal energy - An energy produced by tapping the earth's internal heat.At present, the only available technologies to do this are those that extract heat from hydrothermal convection systems, where water or steam transfer the heat from the deeper part of the earth to the areas where the energy can be tapped. The amount of pollutants found in geothermal vary from area to area but may contain arsenic, boron, selenium, lead, cadmium, and fluorides. They also may contain hydrogen sulphide, mercury, ammonia, radon, carbon dioxide, and methane.
global biodiversity information facility - The purpose of the global biodiversity information facility (GBIF) is to make the world's biodiversity data freely and universally available. GBIF works cooperatively with and in support of several other international organisations concerned with biodiversity. These include the clearing house mechanism and the global taxonomic initiative of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and regional biodiversity information networks.
global environment facility - The multi-billion-dollar global environment facility (GEF) was established by the World Bank, UNDP and UNEP in 1990. It operates the Convention on Biological Diversity's 'financial mechanism' on an interim basis and funds developing-country projects that have global biodiversity benefits.
global environment monitoring system
global environment outlook
global monitoring for environment and security
global monitoring plan
global positioning system - The Global Positioning System, usually called GPS (the US military refers to it as NAVSTAR), is an intermediate circular orbit (ICO) satellite navigation system used for determining one's precise location and providing a highly accurate time reference almost anywhere on Earth or in Earth orbit.
global programme of action
global warming - Changes in the surface-air temperature, referred to as the global temperature, brought about by the greenhouse effect which is induced by emission of greenhouse gases into the air.
globally harmonized system
good farming practice - The standard of farming which a reasonable farmer would follow in the region concerned. Usual good farming practices are compatible with the need to safeguard the environment and maintain the countryside, in particular by sustainable farming.
gram
grassland - Ground covered by herbaceous vegetation that is usually dominated by grasses.
grassland and tall forb habitats - One of the main habitat types in the EUNIS habitats classification. Non-coastal habitats which are dry or only seasonally wet (with the water table at or above ground level for less than half of the year) with greater than 30 % vegetation cover. The dominant vegetation is grasses and other non-woody vegetation (including moss-, lichen-, fern- and sedge-dominated communities). Includes successional weedy communities and managed grasslands such as recreation fields and lawns. Does not include regularly tilled habitats dominated by cultivated herbaceous vegetation such as arable fields.
green accounting - Systematic presentation of data on environmentally important stocks and flows (e.g. stocks of life-sustaining natural resources, flows of pollutants), accompanying conventional economic accounts (e.g. measures of gross domestic product) with the ultimate objective of providing a comprehensive measure of the environmental consequences of economic activity.
green certificate (electricity) - An official record proving that a specified amount of green electricity has been generated. Green certificates represent the environmental value of renewable energy production. The certificates can be traded separately from the energy produced.
green chemistry - Green chemistry is the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances.
green electricity - Electricity produced from resources such as solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and low-impact hydro facilities is often referred to as 'green electricity'.
green investment fund - A scheme that provides fiscal advantages for investors in sustainable projects.
green pricing (energy) - Green pricing refers to an optional utility service that allows customers of traditional utilities support a greater level of utility investment in renewable energy by paying a premium on their electric bill to cover any above-market costs of acquiring renewable energy resources.
green procurement - Taking environmental aspects into consideration in public and institutional procurement.
green public procurement
green revolution - Modification of agriculture starting in the 1950s through the use of machines, fertiliser, pesticides, irrigation and the growth of hybrid varieties of rice, wheat, and corn.
greenfield site - Land on which no urban development has previously taken place; usually understood to be on the periphery, of an existing built-up area.
greenhouse effect - Warming of the atmosphere due to the reduction in outgoing solar radiation resulting from concentrations of gases such as carbon dioxide.
greenhouse gas - A gas that contributes to the natural greenhouse effect. The Kyoto Protocol covers a basket of six greenhouse gases (GHGs) produced by human activities: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride. Annex I Parties' emissions of these gases taken together are to be measured in terms of carbon dioxide equivalents on the basis of the gases' global warming potential. An important natural GHG that is not covered by the protocol is water vapour.
greenhouse gas and air pollution interactions and synergies
grid - A pattern of regularly spaced horizontal and vertical lines forming squares on a map, a chart, an aerial photograph, or an optical device, used as a reference for locating points or pixels (image elements). Regular grid with square raster is also used for thematic mapping or modelling of environment processess in GIS.
gross domestic product - The total output of goods and services produced by a national economy in a given period, usually a year, valued at market prices. It is gross, since no allowance is made for the value of replacement of capital goods.
gross electricity consumption - Domestic electricity production, plus imports, minus exports.
gross inland energy consumption - A measure of the energy inputs to the economy, calculated by adding total domestic energy production plus energy imports minus energy exports, plus net withdrawals from existing stocks.
ground control point - Ground control points (GCPs) are used in remapping satellite or aerosurvey imagery to standard map projections. Each point is identified both on image and map and after that it has precise geographical location and height. Location could be based on topography map, GPS measurements or geodetic measurements.
ground-level concentration - The concentration in air of a pollutant to which a human being is normally exposed, i.e. between the ground and a height of some 2 metres above it.
ground-level ozone - The ozone in the air near the Earth’s surface. Also known as ambient or tropospheric ozone. See also ozone, troposphere and ambient air.
groundwater - All water which is below the surface of the ground in the saturation zone and in direct contact with the ground of the soil.
groundwater recharge - The process by which external water is added to the zone of saturation of an aquifer, either directly into a formation or indirectly by way of another formation.
growth regulator - Growth regulators influence the life processes of plants, other than as a nutrient.
guidance value - Value, such as concentration in air or water, that is derived after appropriate allocation of the reference dose among the possible media of exposure to assist regulatory authorities in establishing permissible levels of a potential toxicant.
H
Habitat Agenda - The Habitat Agenda was adopted by 171 governments at Habitat II (UN Conference on Human Settlements), Istanbul 1996. The Agenda provides a practical roadmap to an urbanising world, setting out approaches and strategies towards the achievement of sustainable development of the world's urban areas.
Hadley Centre SST data set
Hellenic Centre for Marine Research
Helsinki Commission - The Helsinki Commission (HELCOM) administers the Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area, 1992 (entered into force on 17 January 2000), also called Helsinki Convention.
habitat - (1) The place or type of site where an organism or population naturally occurs. (2) Terrestrial or aquatic areas distinguished by geographic, abiotic and biotic features, whether entirely natural or semi-natural.
habitat destruction - Destruction of wildlife habitats by increasing pressure for land by fast-growing human populations, pollution and over-exploitation. Whole species or populations of plants and animals have disappeared causing a loss of genetic resource that is not only regrettable from an aesthetic or philosophical point of view but also threatens man's food supply. Habitat loss takes several forms: outright loss of areas used by wild species; degradation, for example, from vegetation removal and erosion, which deprive native species of food, shelter, and breeding areas; and fragmentation, when native species are squeezed onto small patches of undisturbed land surrounded by areas cleared for agriculture and other purposes.
habitat type - Plant and animal communities as the characterising elements of the biotic environment, together with abiotic factors (soil, climate, water availability and quality, and others), operating together at a particular scale. The term 'habitat type' is often used synonymously with 'ecosystem'.
habitats directive - Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora. The aim of this directive is to contribute towards ensuring biodiversity through the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora in the European territory of the Member States to which the Convention on Biological Diversity applies.
half-life (biological) - The time required for a living organism to eliminate, by natural processes, half the amount of a substance that has entered it.
halocarbon - One of a group of halogen derivatives of organic hydrogen and carbon containing compounds; the group includes monohalogen compounds (alkyl or aryl halides) and polyhalogen compounds that contain the same or different halogen atoms.
halon - Bromine-containing compounds with long atmospheric lifetimes whose breakdown in the stratosphere causes depletion of ozone. Halons are used in firefighting.
hazard - A threatening event, or the probability of occurrence of a potentially damaging phenomenon within a given time period and area.
hazard assessment - Process designed to determine factors contributing to the possible adverse effects of a substance to which a human population or an environmental compartment could be exposed. The process includes three steps: hazard identification, hazard characterisation, and hazard evaluation.
hazard characterisation - The second step in the process of hazard assessment, consisting in the qualitative and, wherever possible, quantitative description of the nature of the hazard associated with a biological, chemical, or physical agent, based on one or more elements, such as mechanisms of action involved, biological extrapolation, dose-response and dose-effect relationships, and their respective attendant uncertainties.
hazard evaluation - The third step in the process of hazard assessment aiming at the determination of the qualitative and quantitative relationship between exposure to a hazard under certain conditions, including attendant uncertainties and the resultant adverse effect.
hazard identification - The first stage in hazard assessment, consisting of the determination of substances of concern, the adverse effects they may have inherently on target systems under certain conditions of exposure, taking into account toxicity data.
hazardous substance - Hazardous substance means substances or group of substances that are toxic, persistent and liable to bio-accumulate, and other substances or groups of substances which give rise to an equivalent level of concern.
hazardous waste - A term applied to those wastes that because of their chemical reactivity, toxic, explosive, corrosive, radioactive or other characteristics, cause danger, or are likely to cause danger, to health or the environment.
heathland - A community dominated by dwarf shrubs most typically belonging to the family Ericaceae.
heathland, scrub and tundra habitats - One of the main habitat types in the EUNIS habitats classification. Non-coastal habitats which are dry or only seasonally wet (with the water table at or above ground level for less than half of the year) with greater than 30 % vegetation cover. The dominant vegetation is shrubs or dwarf shrubs. Includes regularly tilled shrub orchards, hedges (which may have occasional tall trees) and habitats characterised by the presence of permafrost. Also includes dwarf trees and scrub (under 50 cm, such as occur in extreme alpine conditions).
heavily modified water body - A body of surface water which as a result of physical alterations by human activity is substantially changed in character, as designated by the Member State in accordance with the provisions of Annex II of the water framework directive.
hectare
hedge - Narrow linear belts of shrubs and trees.
hemisphere - One-half of the Earth (or other planetary or stellar body; see also New World and Old World) Eastern Hemisphere and Western Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere.
herbicide - A chemical that controls or destroys undesirable plants.
herbivore - An animal that feeds on grass and other plants.
hexachlorobenzene
hexachlorocyclohexane
hidden flow - The movement of the unused materials associated with the extraction of raw materials, domestically and abroad.
high nature value
high nature value farmland - High nature value farmland comprises the 'hot spots' of biodiversity in rural areas and is usually characterised by extensive farming practices.
high production volume chemical - Chemicals placed on the EU market in volumes exceeding 1000 tonnes per year per manufacturer or importer.
high speed railway - The term 'high-speed traffic' encompasses all trains running at speeds over 200 km/h but also trains running at 200 km/h if the terrain, population density or economic reasons do not justify higher speeds.
high-density polyethylene - A kind of plastic used in the manufacturing of bottles and other products. It produces toxic fumes when burned and is often recycled.
high-level radioactive waste - Waste generated in the fuel cells of a nuclear reactor. It is typically stored at reactor sites and nuclear fuel reprocessing plants. In the absence of shielding, it represents a serious health threat.
hotspot - A hotspot is a center of high activity within a larger area of low activity. The term is applied to different things in different contexts: in geology, a hotspot is a location on the Earth's surface that has vulcanism for a long period of time. In meteorology, a hotspot is an area where the atmosphere is relatively hot. Examples of hotspots include the air over a desert.
household - A group of persons sharing a home or living space, who aggregate and share their incomes, as evidenced by the fact that they regularly take meals together.
household expenditure - Any spending done by a person living alone or by a group of people living together in shared accommodation and with common domestic expenses.
household waste - Solid waste composed of garbage and rubbish, which normally originates from houses.
human biomonitoring
human health - The avoidance of disease and injury and the promotion of normalcy through efficient use of the environment, aproperly functioning society, and an inner sense of wellbeing.
human settlements - Integrative concept that comprises (a) physical components of shelter and infrastructure and (b) services to which the physical elements provide support, that is to say, community services such as education, health, culture, welfare, recreation and nutrition.
humus - The more or less decomposed organic matter in the soil. Besides being the source of most of the mineral salts needed by plants, humus improves the texture of the soil and holds water, so reducing the loss of nutrients by leaching.
hydrocarbon
hydrocarbons - Compounds of hydrogen and carbon in various combinations that are present in petroleum products and natural gas. Some hydrocarbons are major air pollutants, some may be carcinogenic and others contribute to photochemical smog.
hydrochloro-fluorocarbon - Compounds used as replacements for chloro-fluorocarbons (CFCs) in various applications because they are less active ozone depleters.
hydrochlorofluorocarbons
hydroelectric energy - The renewable source of energy provided by falling water that drives the turbines. There are two types of hydroelectric power plants: a) run-of-river power plants for the use of affluent water; b) storage power plants (power stations with reservoir) where the influx can be regulated with the help of a reservoir. Mostly greater differences in altitudes are being used,like mountain creeks. Power stations with reservoirs are generally marked by barrages with earth fill dam or concrete dams. Though hydropower generally can be called environmentally acceptable, there exist also some problems: a) change of groundwater level and fill up of the river bed with rubble b) risk of dam breaks c) great demand for land space for the reservoir d) diminution,but partly also increase of value of recreation areas.
hydroelectric power plant - Power station which operates with the free renewable source of energy provided by falling water.
hydrofluorocarbon - Family of industrial gases included in the basket of six greenhouse gases (GHG) controlled by the Kyoto Protocol. HFCs have replaced ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in many applications but are powerful GHGs, with 100-year global warming potential of between 140 and 11 700.
hydrofluorocarbons
hydroxypyrene
hypoxic water - Water with a low concentration of oxygen.
I
IPCC - Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC). Widely regarded as the most authoritative international voice on the science and impacts of climate change. Established by governments under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organisation and UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in 1988, the IPCC produces five-yearly reports assessing the state of knowledge on climate change which represent the international consensus among the more than 2 000 experts involved. It has also published reports on specific issues, such as sinks.
ISO 14000 - The ISO 14000 series is a family of environmental management standards developed by the International Organization for Standardisation (ISO). The ISO 14000 standards are designed to provide an internationally recognised framework for environmental management, measurement, evaluation and auditing. They do not prescribe environmental performance targets, but instead provide organisations with the tools to assess and control the environmental impact of their activities, products or services. The standards address the following subjects: environmental management systems; environmental auditing; environmental labels and declarations; environmental performance evaluation; and life cycle assessment.
Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland
Incineration Directive - Directive 2000/76/EC on the incineration of waste. The aim of this directive if to prevent or to limit, as far as practicable, negative effects on the environment, in particular pollution by emissions into air, soil, surface water and ground-water, and the resulting risks to human health, from the incineration and co-incineration of waste.
Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe
Institute for Environment and Sustainability
Institute for European Environmental Policy
Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen
Institute of Marine Research, Norway
Integrated Regional Information Networks
Inter-Agency Committee on Marine Science and Technology
Inter-Organization Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals
Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety
Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change - Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC). Widely regarded as the most authoritative international voice on the science and impacts of climate change. Established by governments under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organisation and UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in 1988, the IPCC produces five-yearly reports assessing the state of knowledge on climate change which represent the international consensus among the more than 2 000 experts involved. It has also published reports on specific issues, such as sinks.
International Atomic Energy Agency
International Campaign to Ban Landmines
International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas
International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas
International Conference on Chemicals Management
International Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution from Ships
International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives
International Council for the Exploration of the Sea - The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) is the oldest intergovernmental organisation in the world concerned with marine and fisheries science. The council was first established in Copenhagen in 1902, but now operates under the terms of the 1964 Convention for the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. Since its establishment in 1902, ICES has been a leading scientific forum for the exchange of information and ideas on the sea and its living resources, and for the promotion and coordination of marine research by scientists within its member countries. The area of competence of the council is, broadly speaking, the Atlantic Ocean and its adjacent seas, with an emphasis on the North Atlantic. There is no precise delimitation of this area.
International Council of Chemical Associations
International Energy Agency
International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements
International HCH and Pesticides Association
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
International Labour Organisation
International Maritime Organisation
International Organisation for Standardization
International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association
International Programme on Chemical Safety
International Standard Statistical Classification of Aquatic Animals and Plants
International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation
International Tropical Timber Agreement - A commodity agreement by 32 producing countries and 32 consuming countries for tropical timber, renewed in 1994, and with a Secretariat in Japan.
International Uniform Chemical Information Database - A European Commission database used to store and distribute information collected under Regulation 793/93 on the evaluation and control of the risks of existing substances.
International Union for Nature Conservation
International Water Management Institute
Interstate Statistical Committee of the Commonwealth of Independent States
immune system - A body system that helps an organism to resist disease,through the activities of specialised blood cells or antibodies produced by them in response to natural exposure or inoculation.
impact assessment
implementation - (1) The carrying out of a project or programme. Involves not only the work itself, but all the practical supporting activities such as preparing terms of reference, fund-raising, setting up an organisational structure, communicating, and carrying out a project evaluation. (2) Implementation means compliance checking and compliance promotion. Implementation consists of the activities required to comply with legislation and may regard activities by inspectorates as well as companies.
imposex - A pseudo-hermaphroditic condition in female gastropods (snails) caused by TBT and manifested by the development of a false penis.
in-built evaluation - A framework in which the evaluation procedure is tied up with the design, implementation and adaptation of policy instruments.
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 properties.
incineration - Controlled process by which solid, liquid, or gaseous combustible wastes are burned and changed into gases; residue produced contains little or no combustible material.
incineration (of waste) - The process of burning solid waste under controlled conditions to reduce its weight and volume, and often to produce energy.
incinerator - A furnace in which wastes are burned.
income tax - A tax on the annual profits arising from property, business pursuits, professions, trades or offices.
indicator - Observed value representative of a phenomenon to study. In general, indicators quantify information by aggregating different and multiple data. The resulting information is therefore synthesised. In short, indicators simplify information that can help to reveal complex phenomena.
indoor air pollution - Chemical, physical or biological contaminants in the air inside buildings and other enclosed spaces occupied by humans. This pollution can arise from tobacco smoke, pesticides, cleaning agents, gases released from building materials, rugs, household products, etc.
industrial noise - Noise produced by industrial plants activities.
industrial waste - Solid, liquid and gaseous wastes originating from the industrial manufacture of products.
infant mortality - The rate of deaths occurring in the first year of life for a given population.
infection - The entry and development or multiplication of an infectious agent in the body of a living organism.
infectious disease - Pathogenic condition resulting from invasion of an host by a pathogen that propagates causing infection.
inflammation - The response of the immune system to irritation or injury of body tissues. Signs and symptoms are pain, heat, redness, swelling and loss of function. For instance, lung inflammation can lead to reduced lung function.
information threshold - The EU has defined an Information threshold of 180 µg ozone per m3 air. Any exceedance of this threshold should be reported by the Member State in which it occurs to the European Commission. The threshold reflects a 'level beyond which there is a risk to human health from brief exposure for particularly sensitive sections of the population'. When the threshold is exceeded, national authorities are required to inform the public. See also Alert threshold.
infrastructure - The basic network or foundation of capital facilities or community investments which are necessary to support economic and community activities.
infrastructure capacity of railway infrastructure - Infrastructure capacity means the potential to schedule train paths requested for an element of infrastructure for a certain period.
injury - A stress upon an organism that disrupts the structure or function and results in a pathological process.
inland navigation - The navigation of inland waterways, i.e. navigable rivers, canals, sounds, lakes, inlets, etc.
inland surface water habitats - One of the main habitat types in the EUNIS habitats classification. Inland surface water habitats are non-coastal above-ground open fresh or brackish waterbodies (e.g. rivers, streams, lakes and pools, springs), including their littoral zones. Also includes dune slack pools. Includes constructed inland freshwater, brackish or saline waterbodies (such as canals, ponds, etc.) which support a semi-natural community of both plants and animals; normally wet habitats which may be dry seasonally (temporary or intermittent rivers and lakes and their littoral zones). Freshwater littoral zones include those parts of banks or shores which are sufficiently frequently inundated to prevent the formation of closed terrestrial vegetation. Excludes permanent snow and ice. Note that habitats which intimately combine waterlogged habitats with pools of open water are considered as complexes.
inland unvegetated or sparsely vegetated habitats - One of the main habitat types in the EUNIS habitats classification. They are non-coastal habitats with less than 30 % vegetation cover (other than where the vegetation is chasmophytic or on scree and or cliff) which are dry or only seasonally wet (with the water table at or above ground level for less than half of the year). Subterranean non-marine caves and passages including underground waters. Habitats characterised by the presence of permanent snow and surface ice other than marine ice bodies.
inland water - All standing or flowing water on the surface of the land, and all groundwater on the landward side of the baseline from which the breadth of territorial waters is measured.
inorganic fertiliser - Inorganic fertiliser means a fertiliser in which the declared nutrients are in the form of minerals obtained by extraction or by physical and/or chemical industrial processes.
inorganic waste - Waste composed of material other than plant or animal matter, such as sand, dust, glass and many synthetics.
insecticide - Any chemical agent used to destroy invertebrate pests.
inshore - At sea but close to the shore.
integrated assessment - An interdisciplinary process of structuring knowledge elements from various scientific disciplines in such a manner that all relevant aspects of a complex societal problem are considered in their mutual coherence for the benefit of decision-making.
integrated coastal zone management - Integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) is a dynamic, multidisciplinary and iterative process to promote sustainable management of coastal zones. It covers the full cycle of information collection, planning (in its broadest sense), decision making, management and monitoring of implementation. ICZM uses the informed participation and cooperation of all stakeholders to assess the societal goals in a given coastal area, and to take actions towards meeting these objectives. ICZM seeks, over the long-term, to balance environmental, economic, social, cultural and recreational objectives, all within the limits set by natural dynamics. 'Integrated' in ICZM refers to the integration of objectives and also to the integration of the many instruments needed to meet these objectives. It means integration of all relevant policy areas, sectors, and levels of administration. It means integration of the terrestrial and marine components of the target territory, in both time and space.
integrated crop management - An approach to farming which aims to balance production with economic and environmental considerations by means of a combination of measures including crop rotation, cultivations, appropriate crop varieties and careful use of inputs.
integrated environmental assessment - The interdisciplinary and social process, linking knowledge and action in public policy/decision contexts, and aimed at identification, analysis and appraisal of all relevant natural and human processes and their interactions which determine both the current and future state of environmental quality, and resources, on appropriate spatial and temporal scales, thus facilitating the framing and implementation of policies and strategies.
integrated environmental management - A philosophy that prescribes a code of practice for ensuring that environmental considerations are fully integrated into all stages of the development process in order to achieve a desirable balance between conservation and development.
integrated management - Unified, combined and coordinated management of problems which correlates relevant organisations, groups, individuals and disciplines by bringing the parts together for a complete approach.
integrated pest control - The rational application of a combination of biological, biotechnical, chemical, cultural or plant-breeding measures whereby the use of chemical plant protection products is limited to the strict minimum necessary to maintain the pest population at levels below those causing economically unacceptable damage or loss.
integrated pollution prevention and control - Legal process, by which large industrial processes are licensed and regulated, refers specifically to the requirements of the European Commission's IPPC (integrated pollution prevention and control) Directive (96/61/EC).
integrated product policy - Integrated product policy (IPP) is an approach that begins by asking how the environmental performance of products can be improved most cost-effectively. It is founded on the consideration of the impacts of products throughout their life-cycle, from the natural resources from which they come, through their use and marketing to their eventual disposal as waste. It is also a relatively new approach to environmental policy.
integration of environmental concerns into sectoral policies - Integration can be seen as a concept, a strategy and a process designed to achieve the more sustainable development of economic activities - one of the main conclusions of the Cardiff European Council, June 1998.
intensive farming - Farming characterised by high input use that strives for maximum production, often at the expense of environmental considerations.
interchange of data between administrations - Interchange of data between administrations (IDA) is the European Commission's programme for linking Member States' administrations with Community institutions. It supports sectoral networks with generic and interoperable services.
interest group - Collaboration areas for projects in CIRCA (Communication and Information Resource Centre Administrator).
internalisation of externalities - Incorporation of an externality into the market decision making process through pricing or regulatory interventions. In the narrow sense, internalisation is achieved by charging polluters (for example) with the damage costs of the pollution generated by them, in accordance with the polluter pays principle.
internally displaced persons
international nuclear event scale - The international nuclear event scale (INES) is a tool to promptly and consistently communicate to the public the safety significance of reported events at nuclear installations. It was designed by an international group of experts convened jointly by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Events are classified on the Scale at seven levels.
interpolation - A mathematical method of constructing new data points from a discrete set of known data points. When a number of data points has been obtained - by sampling or experiment - one can construct a calculation (interpolation) that closely fits these data points.
intervention scenario - Intervention scenarios (in the context of environmental studies) depict the future consequences of policy interventions. In other words, they describe the future state of society and the environment under influence of directed environmental policies. Intervention scenarios are also known as 'pollution control' or 'mitigation' or 'policy' scenarios.
intoxication - The state of being poisoned; the condition produced by a poison which may be swallowed, inhaled, injected, or absorbed through the skin.
invasive species - Non-native species which threaten ecosystems, habitats or species.
ionising radiation - The emission of alpha or beta particles or gamma rays from radioisotopes. These emitted particles can dislodge one or more electrons from atoms they strike. The free electrons can form charged ions in living tissue that can react with and damage cells.
irreversibility (of environmental damage) - Permanent loss of environmental assets or environmental quality, requiring preventive action rather than restoration or clean-up.
irrigated area - Areas equipped to provide water to the crops. These include areas equipped for full and partial irrigation, spate irrigation areas, and equipped wetland or inland valley bottoms.
J
Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association
Joint Research Centre - The JRC is a Directorate-General of the European Commission under the responsibility of Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Research. Its Board of Governors assists and advices the Director General on matters relating to the role and the scientific, technical and financial management of the JRC.The Directorate-General is located in Brussels. The seven JRC institutes are located on five separate sites in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain. The Institutes are: Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM), Institute for Transuranium Elements (ITU), Institute for Energy (IE), Institute for the Protection and the Security of the Citizen (IPSC), Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES), Institute for Health and Consumer Protection (IHCP), Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS). In Brussels is the Institutional and Scientific relations Directorate and the Programme and Resource Management Directorate is based in Brussels and in Ispra, Italy. The Ispra Site Directorate is responsible for the site management and for the nuclear decommissioning, safety, security and protection.
joint implementation - The Kyoto Protocol establishes this mechanism whereby Annex I Parties (listed in Annex B of the Kyoto Protocol) can receive emissions reduction units when it helps to finance projects that reduce net emissions in an Annex I Party country.
K
Kiev report - Indicator-based state of the environment report prepared by the EEA for the conference of environment ministers of all European countries in Kiev (May 2003).
Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association
Kyoto Protocol - The Kyoto Protocol was adopted at the Third Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1997 in Kyoto, Japan. It contains legally binding commitments, in addition to those included in the UNFCCC. Countries included in Annex B of the Protocol (most OECD countries and EITs) agreed to reduce their anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, N2O, HFCs, PFCs, and SF6) by at least 5 % below 1990 levels in the commitment period 2008 to 2012.
Kyoto forest - The Kyoto Protocol and the Marrakech Accords allow industrial countries to discount their greenhouse gas emissions by certain land-use change and forestry activities. These activities are limited to strictly defined cases including afforestation, reforestation and deforestation since 1990, sometimes called 'Kyoto forest'. 'Kyoto Forest' is a minimum area of land of 0.05-1.0 hectares with tree crown cover (or equivalent stocking level) of more than 10-30 per cent with trees with the potential to reach a minimum height of 2-5 metres at maturity in situ. A forest may consist either of closed forest formations where trees of various storeys and undergrowth cover a high portion of the ground open forest. Young natural stands and all plantations which have yet to reach a crown density of 10-30 per cent or tree height of 2-5 metres are included under forest, as are areas normally forming part of the forest area which are temporarily unstocked as a result of human intervention such as harvesting or natural causes but which are expected to revert to forest.
Kyoto mechanisms - Formerly known as flexibility mechanisms. Economic mechanisms based on market principles that parties to the Kyoto Protocol can use in an attempt to lessen the potential economic impacts of GHG (greenhouse gases) emission-reduction requirements. They include joint implementation (Article 6), the clean development mechanisms (Article 12), and emissions trading (Article 17).
Kyrgyz Community Based Tourism Organisation
kelp forest - Marine ecosystem dominated by large kelps. These forests are restricted to cold and temperate waters, and are most common along the western coasts of continents.
keystone species - A species that influences the ecological composition, structure, or functioning of its community far more than its abundance would suggest.
kilo
kilometre
L
LULUCF - land use, land-use change and forestry
Laeq - Energy equivalent sound pressure level in dB(A).
Landfill Directive - Council Directive 1999/31/EC of 26 April 1999 on the landfill of waste. The aim of this directive is, by way of stringent operational and technical requirements on the waste and landfills, to provide for measures, procedures and guidance to prevent or reduce as far as possible negative effects on the environment, in particular the pollution of surface water, groundwater, soil and air, and on the global environment, including the greenhouse effect, as well as any resulting risk to human health, from landfilling of waste, during the whole life-cycle of the landfill.
Landsat - The Landsat program is the longest running enterprise for acqusition of imagery of Earth from space. The first Landsat satellite was launched in 1972; the most recent, Landsat 7, was launched on April 15, 1999. The instruments on the Landsat satellites have acquired millions of images. The images, archived in the United States and at Landsat receiving stations around the world, are a unique resource for global change research and applications in agriculture, geology, forestry, regional planning, education and national security. History: The program was called the Earth Resources Observation Satellites Program when it was initiated in 1966, but the name was changed to Landsat in 1975.Landsat 1 - launched July 23, 1972, terminated operations in 1978, Landsat 2 - launched January 22, 1975, terminated in 1981, Landsat 3 - launched March 5, 1978, terminated 1983, Landsat 4 - launched July 16, 1982, terminated 1993, Landsat 5 - launched March 1, 1984, Landsat 6 - launched October 5, 1993, failed to reach orbit, Landsat 7 - launched April 15, 1999.
Large Combustion Plant Directive - Directive 2001/80/EC on the limitation of emissions of certain pollutants into the air from large combustion plants.
Lden - Day-evening-night level. It is a descriptor of noise level based on energy equivalent noise level (Leq) over a whole day with a penalty of 10 dB(A) for night time noise (22.00-7.00) and an additional penalty of 5 dB(A) for evening noise (i.e. 19.00-23.00).
Ldn - Day-night level. It is a descriptor of noise level based on energy equivalent noise level (Leq) over the whole day with a penalty of 10 dB(A) for night time noise (22.00-7.00 hrs).
Leq - Energy equivalent noise level. It is a time-averaged sound level; a single-number value that expresses the time-varying sound level for the specified period as though it were a constant sound level with the same total sound energy as the time-varying level. Its unit is the decibel (dB).
lag time - The time between the occurrence of a phenomenon and its resulting effect.
land - The terrestrial bio-productive system that comprises soil vegetation, other biota, and the ecological and hydrological processes that operate within the system.
land classification - Land categories, reflecting quality classes, capability classes or grade, depending upon the characteristics of the land and/or its potential for agricultural use.
land clearing - Removal of trees, undergrowth, etc. in preparation for ploughing, building, etc.
land consumption - 'Consumption' of land cover means: (a) The expansion of built-up area which can be directly measured; (b) the absolute extent of land that is subject to exploitation by agriculture, forestry or other economic activities; and (c) the over-intensive exploitation of land that is used for agriculture and forestry.
land cover - Land cover corresponds to a (bio)physical description of the earth's surface. It is that which overlays or currently covers the ground. This description enables various biophysical categories to be distinguished - basically, areas of vegetation (trees, bushes, fields, lawns), bare soil, hard surfaces (rocks, buildings) and wet areas and bodies of water (watercourses, wetlands).
land development - Planning of infrastructures, services and industrial settlements in order to promote the socio-economic growth of certain land area.
land management - Operations for preparing and controlling the implementation of plans for organizing human activities on land.
land take - The area of land that is 'taken' by infrastructure itself and other facilities that necessarily go along with the infrastructure, such as filling stations on roads and railway stations.
land use - Land use corresponds to the socio-economic description (functional dimension) of areas: areas used for residential, industrial or commercial purposes, for farming or forestry, for recreational or conservation purposes, etc. Links with land cover are possible; it may be possible to infer land use from land cover and conversely. But situations are often complicated and the link is not so evident. Contrary to land cover, land use is difficult to 'observe'. For example, it is often difficult to decide if grasslands are used or not for agricultural purposes. Distinctions between land use and land cover and their definition have impacts on the development of classification systems, data collection and information systems in general.
land-based sources
land-use classification - Classification providing information on land cover and the types of human activity involved in land use. It may also facilitate the assessment of environmental impacts on, and potential or alternative uses of, land.
land-use planning - The systematic assessment of land and water potential, alternative patterns of land use and other physical, social and economic conditions, for the purpose of selecting and adopting land-use options which are most beneficial to land users without degrading the resources or the environment, together with the selection of measures most likely to encourage such land uses. Land-use planning may be at international, national, district (project, catchment) or local (village) levels. It includes participation by land users, planners and decision-makers and covers educational, legal, fiscal and financial measures.
landfill - A waste disposal site for the deposit of the waste onto or into land (i.e. underground).
landfill gas - Landfill gas means all the gases generated from the landfilled waste;
landfill leachate - Liquid that has seeped through solid waste in a landfill and has extracted soluble dissolved or suspended materials in the process.
landfilling - Deposition of waste on land under controlled conditions.
landscape - The traits, patterns, and structure of a specific geographic area, including its biological composition, its physical environment, and its anthropogenic or social patterns. An area where interacting ecosystems are grouped and repeated in similar form.
landslide - Mass-movement landforms and processes involving the downslope transport, under gravitationary influence of soil and rock material en masse.
large combustion plant
large marine ecosystems
lead - A heavy toxic bluish-white metallic element that is highly malleable; occurs principally as galena and is used in alloys, accumulators, cable sheaths, paints, and as a radiation shield.
less favoured areas - Set up in 1975, the less favoured areas schemes provide 'compensatory allowances' to farmers in mountainous areas or in other areas where the physical landscape results in higher production costs.
leukaemia - A progressive, malignant disease of the blood forming organs; a distorted proliferation and development of leukocytes and their precursors in the blood and bone marrow.
life cycle - Consecutive and interlinked stages of a product system, from raw material acquisition or generation of natural resources to the final disposal.
life cycle assessment - Life-cycle assessment (LCA) is a process of evaluating the effects that a product has on the environment over the entire period of its life thereby increasing resource-use efficiency and decreasing liabilities. It can be used to study the environmental impact of either a product or the function the product is designed to perform. LCA is commonly referred to as a "cradle-to-grave" analysis. LCA's key elements are: (1) identify and quantify the environmental loads involved; e.g. the energy and raw materials consumed, the emissions and wastes generated; (2) evaluate the potential environmental impacts of these loads; and (3) assess the options available for reducing these environmental impacts.
life cycle cost - The cost of a good or service over its entire life cycle.
life cycle impact assessment - A scientific technique for assessing the potential environmental impacts of industrial systems and their associated products. This technique is 'cradle-to-grave' in scope, meaning that it considers impacts at each stage of a product's life-cycle, from the time natural resources are extracted from the ground and processed through each subsequent stage of manufacturing, transportation, product use, and ultimately, disposal.
life-expectancy - The number of years that a person can expect to live on average, based on estimation of data on death rates of the population. Life expectancy depends on age. For example, at birth a person may be expected to live for 75 years, but if the person survives to 75, he or she may be expected to live for another 10 years.
life-year - One year of a non-specified person’s life. Can be used to describe loss of life expectancy. For example, 'thousands of life-years are lost annually in Europe as a result of air pollution'.
lifestyle - A way of living based on identifiable patterns of behaviour which are determined by the interplay between an individual's personal characteristics, social interactions, and socio-economic and environmental living conditions.
lignite - Coal of relatively recent origin consisting of accumulated layers of partially decomposed vegetation, intermediate between peat and bituminous coal; often contains patterns from the wood from which it is formed.
limit value
limiting factor - Abiotic condition that most controls the growth of a species. For most terrestrial plants this condition is the supply of the nutrient nitrogen in the soil.
lindane - Lindane is an organochlorine pesticide. It is composed of approximately 99 % HCH. Lindane has been used as a broad-spectrum agricultural insecticide since the early 1950s and is 5-20 times more toxic to insects than DDT. It is also used in ointments to treat head and body lice, and scabies. It is poorly soluble in water and rapid bioaccumulation takes place in microorganisms, invertebrates, fish, birds and humans. However, the elimination of lindane from the body is relatively rapid when exposure is discontinued. Workplace exposure has been reported to cause blood disorders, dizziness, headaches, and changes in the levels of sex hormones. The ingestion of large amounts has caused seizures and death. Liver and kidney effects and immune suppression has been observed at moderate ingestion levels. Lindane is considered to be a carcinogen, and has been associated with liver cancer.
liquified petroleum gas
lithosphere - The solid inorganic portion of the earth (composed of rocks, minerals and elements). It can be regarded as the outer surface and interior of the solid earth.
litre
litter - Accumulation of leaves, twigs and other forms of organic matter on the soil surface. In most soils, the surface layer of litter is at various stages of decomposition.
littoral zone - The part of the shoreline that is submerged at high tide and exposed at low tide.
livestock - Population of cattle, goats, equine, sheep, pig, and hens by categories.
loading - The influx of pollutants to a selected water body.
long-range transport of air pollutants - Atmospheric transport of air pollutants within a moving air mass for a distance greater than 100 kilometres.
long-term annual average
low production volume chemical - Chemicals placed on the market in volumes between 10 tonnes and 1000 tonnes per year per producer/importer.
low-level radioactive wastes - A general term for a wide range of wastes containing low quantities of radionuclide. Industries, hospitals and medical, educational, or research institutions; private or government laboratories; and nuclear fuel cycle facilities (e.g., nuclear power reactors and fuel fabrication plants) using radioactive materials generate low-level wastes as part of their normal operations.
lowest-observed-adverse-effect level - Lowest concentration or amount of a substance, found by observation or experiment, which causes an adverse effect.
lowest-observed-effect level - Lowest concentration or amount of a substance, found by observation or experiment, which causes an effect.
lung capacity - The volume of air the lungs can hold. Lung capacity depends on a person's age, weight, sex and the degree of physical activity. The total lung capacity of an average-sized adult male is about five litres.
lung function - The main function of the lungs is the process of gas exchange called respiration (or breathing). In respiration, oxygen from incoming air enters the blood, and carbon dioxide, a waste gas from the metabolism, leaves the blood. A reduced lung function means that the ability of lungs to exchange gases is reduced.
M
MARPOL Convention - The Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL Convention) is the main international convention covering prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes. It is a combination of two treaties adopted in 1973 and 1978 respectively and updated by amendments through the years.
MDIAR - The monitoring/data/information/assessment/reporting (MDIAR) chain is the flow of data and information from national monitoring to European reporting.
Macaronesian - One of the 11 biogeographical regions of Europe as indicated on the map of biogeographical regions, covering Macaronesia (the Canaries, Madeira and the Azores).
Man and the Biosphere Reserves Programme
Management Board - The EEA Management Board (MB) is the main decision-making body of the EEA. It consists of 34 members, including one representative from each of the 30 member countries, two from the European Commission and two experts designated by the European Parliament. The MB chairman is elected by the MB members.
Mapping of Soil and Terrain Vulnerability in Central and Eastern Europe
Marine Strategy Directive
Marinebase - EEA database on aggregated data for the coastline of the Mediterranean, Atlantic, North Sea, Skagerrak, Kattegat and Baltic. Marinebase holds data collected from marine conventions and member countries.
Mediterranean Education Initiative for Environment & Sustainability
Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development
Mediterranean action plan - The Mediterranean action plan (MAP) strives to protect the environment and to foster sustainable development in the Mediterranean basin. It was adopted in Barcelona, Spain, in 1975 by 16 Mediterranean States and the EC, under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Its legal framework comprises the Barcelona Convention adopted in 1976 and revised in 1995, and six protocols covering specific aspects of environmental protection. A Mediterranean Commission for Sustainable Development was also established by MAP in 1995 to facilitate the participation of all stakeholders in the Mediterranean area.
Mediterranean pollution monitoring and research programme - The Mediterranean action plan (MAP) and the Barcelona Convention are being implemented through a series of protocols and the programmes are being carried out by relevant MAP regional activity centres. Among these programmes is the long-term programme for pollution monitoring and research in the Mediterranean (Medpol), designed to assess the extent of marine pollution in the Mediterranean.
Meeting of the Parties
Member State
Meteorological Synthesizing Centre-East
Millennium Development Goals
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe
Ministry of Environment and Forestry of Turkey
Ministry of Environment of Spain
Modelling opportunities and limits for restructuring Europe towards sustainability
Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer
Montreal Protocol - The Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer was adopted in Montreal in 1987, and subsequently adjusted and amended in London (1990), Copenhagen (1992), Vienna (1995), Montreal (1997), and Beijing (1999). It controls the consumption and production of chlorine- and bromine-containing chemicals that destroy stratospheric ozone, such as CFCs, methyl chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, and many others.
macrobenthos - Benthic organisms (animals or plants) whose shortest dimension is greater than or equal to 0.5 mm.
macrophyte - An individual alga large enough to be seen easily with the unaided eye.
macroplankton - The component of the plankton that consists of large organisms 2 to 20 cm in size.
main component elements - Main component elements (MCE) are nominated by member countries and are nationally funded institutions/organisations which at the national level are regular collectors and suppliers of environmental data and/or possess relevant knowledge regarding environmental science, monitoring or modelling.
major accident reporting system - The major accident reporting system (MARS) is used by both EU and OECD member countries to report industrial accidents in the MARS standard format and to exchange accidents information on this basis. It is a distributed information network, consisting of local databases on a MS-Windows platform in each Member State of the European Union and a central UNIX-based analysis system at the European Commission's Joint Research Centre in Ispra (MAHB) that allows complex text retrieval and pattern analysis.
malaria - A group of human febrile diseases with a chronic relapsing course caused by hemosporidian blood parasites of the genus Plasmodium, transmitted by the bite of Anopheles mosquito.
malnutrition - Defective nutrition due to inadequate intake of nutrients or to their faulty digestion, assimilation or metabolism.
man and biosphere programme - UNESCO's programme on man and the biosphere (MAB) develops the basis, within the natural and the social sciences, for the sustainable use and conservation of biological diversity, and for the improvement of the relationship between people and their environment globally. The MAB programme encourages interdisciplinary research, demonstration and training in natural resource management.
mangrove forest - A community of salt-tolerant tress and shrubs, with many other associated organisms, that grows on some tropical and sub-tropical coasts in a zone roughly coinciding with the intertidal zone.
manure - Animal excreta collected from stables and barnyards with or without litter; used to enrich the soil.
map - A map is a two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional space. The science of making maps is called cartography.
map projection - A map projection is any of many methods used in cartography (mapmaking) to represent the two-dimensional curved surface of the earth or other body on a plane. Methods for constructing a projection may be mathematical, graphical, or geometric. Regardless of the method, in the end any projection can be expressed mathematically. Flat maps could not exist without map projections. Flat maps can be more useful than models globes in many situations: they are more compact and easier to store; they readily accommodate an enormous range of scales; they are viewed easily on computer diplays; they can facilitate measuring properties of the terrain being mapped; they can show larger portions of the earth's surface at once; and they are cheaper to produce and transport. These useful traits of flat maps motivate the development of map projections.
mariculture - Marine fish farming (aquaculture). Raising of marine animals and plants in the ocean.
marine environment - Marine environments include estuaries, coastal marine and nearshore zones, and open-ocean-deep-sea regions.
marine habitats - One of the main habitat types in the EUNIS habitats classification. Marine habitats are directly connected to the oceans, i.e. part of the continuous body of water which covers the greater part of the earth surface and which surround its land masses. Marine waters may be fully saline, brackish or almost fresh. Marine habitats include those below spring high tide limit (or below mean water level in non-tidal waters) and enclosed coastal saline or brackish waters, without a permanent surface connection to the sea but either with intermittent surface or sub-surface connections (as in lagoons). Rock pools in the supralittoral zone are considered as enclaves of the marine zone. Includes marine littoral habitats which are subject to wet and dry periods on a tidal cycle including tidal saltmarshes; marine littoral habitats which are normally water-covered but intermittently exposed due to the action of wind or atmospheric pressure changes; freshly deposited marine strandlines characterised by marine invertebrates. Waterlogged littoral zones above the mean water level in non-tidal waters or above the spring high tide limit in tidal waters are included with marine habitats. Includes constructed marine saline habitats below water level as defined above (such as in marinas, harbours, etc.) which support a semi-natural community of both plants and animals. The marine water column includes bodies of ice.
marine pollution - Direct or indirect introduction by humans of substances or energy into the marine environment (including estuaries), resulting in harm to living resources, hazards to human health, hindrances to marine activities including fishing, impairment of the quality of sea water and reduction of amenities.
market failure - The concept that market does not reflect the full societal costs of all economic activity and, in particular, the economic costs imposed on third parties.
market-based instrument - Market-based instruments seek to address the market failure of 'environmental externalities' either by incorporating the external cost of production or consumption activities through taxes or charges on processes or products, or by creating property rights and facilitating the establishment of a proxy market for the use of environmental services.
marsh - Type of wetland that does not accumulate appreciable peat deposits and is dominated by herbaceous vegetation. Marshes may be either fresh or saltwater, and tidal or non-tidal.
material flow accounting - A monitoring system for national economies based on methodically organised accounts and denoting the total amounts of material used in the economy. Material flow accounting enables monitoring of total consumption of natural resources and the associated indirect flows, as well as calculation of indicators.
material flow analysis - An evaluation method which assesses the efficiency of use of materials using information from material flow accounting. Material flow analysis helps to identify waste of natural resources and other materials in the economy which would otherwise go unnoticed in conventional economic monitoring systems.
material productivity - An indicator of the output or value added generated per unit of material used.
material recovery - Restoration of materials found in the waste stream to a beneficial use which may be for purposes other than the original use.
materials and energy balance - Accounting tables that provide information on the material input into an economy delivered by the natural environment, the transformation and use of that input in economic processes (extraction, conversion, manufacturing, consumption) and its return to the natural environment as residuals (wastes). The accounting concepts involved are founded on the first law of thermodynamics, which states that matter (mass/energy) is neither created nor destroyed by any physical process.
maximum allowable concentrations
maximum feasible reduction
maximum feasible technical reduction
maximum hourly average - The highest hourly reading of air pollution obtained during the time period under study.
maximum sustainable yield - 1) The largest long-term average catch or yield that can be taken from a stock or stock complex under prevailing ecological and environmental conditions. 2) Maximum use that a renewable resource can sustain without impairing its renewability through natural growth or replenishment.
megaplankton - The component of the plankton that consists of very large organisms over 20 cm in size.
memorandum of understanding - An agreement of cooperation between organisations defining the roles and responsibilities of each organisation in relation to the other or others with respects to an issue over which the organisations have concurrent jurisdiction. The EEA has a memorandum of understanding with several bodies to secure efficient cooperation.
mercury
metabolite - A compound derived from the metabolism of another compound is said to be a metabolite of that compound.
metadata - Data about data; e.g. 'a library catalog is metadata because it describes publications'
meteorological parameter - Variables, such as pressure, temperature, wind strength, humidity, etc. from which conclusions as to the forthcoming weather are drawn.
methaemoglobinaemia - In some poisonings, haemoglobin (the substance in the red blood cells to which the oxygen is fixed) may be transformed to methaemoglobin. Methaemoglobin lacks the ability of binding the oxygen; consequently lack of oxygen occurs in the organism. When a certain amount of haemoglobin has been transformed to methaemoglobin, mucous membranes and skin become bluish and discoloured.
methane - Colourless gas given off by rotting materials. The main constituent of natural gas.
metre
microbenthos - Benthic organisms (animals or plants) whose shortest dimension is less than 0.1 mm.
milligram
millimetre
million
mineral extraction - The process of extracting metallic or nonmetallic mineral deposits from the Earth.
mining - The act, process or industry of extracting coal, ores, etc. from the earth.
mining waste - Any residue which results from the extraction of raw materials from the earth.
mire, bog and fen habitats - One of the main habitat types in the EUNIS habitats classification. Habitats which are saturated, with the water table at or above ground level for at least half of the year, dominated by herbaceous or ericoid vegetation e.g. bogs, marshes. Includes waterlogged habitats where the groundwater is frozen. Excludes waterlogged habitats dominated by trees or large shrubs. Note that habitats which intimately combine waterlogged habitats with pools of open water are considered as complexes.
mixed woodland - Wooded land on which neither coniferous, nor broadleaved species account for more than 75 % of the crown cover.
mobile source - Moving source of air pollution, such as an automobile.
mobility - The ability of groups or individuals to relocate or change jobs, or to physically move from one place to another.
modelling - An investigative technique using a mathematical or physical representation of a system or theory that accounts for all or some its known properties. Models are often used to test the effect of changes of system components on the overall performance of the system.
moisture - The water vapour content of the atmosphere, or the total water substances (gaseous, liquid and solid) present in a given volume of air. 2) Water that is dispersed through a gas in the form of water vapour or small droplets, dispersed through a solid, or condensed on the surface of a solid.
mollusc - All animals in the Phylum mollusca including: gastropods, e.g. whelks and winkles; bivalves, e.g. cockles and mussels; cephalopods, e.g. squid and cuttlefish.
monitoring - (1) A combination of observation and measurement for the performance of a plan, programme or measure, and its compliance with environmental policy and legislation. (2) The provision of the necessary information about progress of implementation of a project, plan, etc. in order to ensure that project management and cooperation partners are able to follow the implementation of the projects and if necessary adjust activities, inputs and budgets, in order to obtain the objectives laid down for the project.
monitoring mechanism of Community greenhouse gas emissions - An instrument to assess accurately and regularly the extent of progress being made towards the Community's commitments under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol.
morbidity - The number of sick persons or cases of disease in relationship to a specific population.
mortality - The death rate; the ratio of the number of deaths per year to a given population.
motorway - Motorway means a road specially designed and built for motor traffic, which does not serve properties bordering on it, and which:(i) is provided, except at special points or temporarily, with separate carriageways for the two directions of traffic, separated from each other either by a dividing strip not intended for traffic or, exceptionally, by other means; (ii) does not cross at grade with any road, railway or tramway track, or footpath; (iii) is specifically designated as a motorway.
multi-pollutant multi-effect protocol - UN/ECE protocol to abate acidification, eutrophication and ground-level ozone.
multimedia approach - Joint approach to several environmental media, such as air, water, and land.
multimedia model - Multimedia models are based on the subdivision of a 'unit-world' into representative fractions of relevant media, such as the air, surface and groundwaters, soil and biota. Chemicals are distributed between the media according to certain physico-chemical properties.
municipal waste - Waste from households, as well as other waste which, because of its nature or composition, is similar to waste from household.
municipal wastewater - Discharge of effluent from wastewater treatment plants which receive wastewater from households, commercial establishments, and industries. Combined sewer/separate storm overflows are included in this category.
mutagen - Chemical or type of ionising radiation that can cause inheritable changes in the DNA molecules found in the genes of organisms (mutations).
mutation - Sudden and permanent change in the structure of a gene or chromosome. May occur spontaneously or may be caused by the action of one or more mutagens.
N
NACE - NACE is the acronym (from the French 'Nomenclature statistique des Activites economiques dans la Communaute Europeenne'-Statistical classification of economic activities in the European Community) used to designate various statistical classifications of economicactivities developed since 1970 by the European Union; it is designed to categorise datarelating to 'statistical units', in this case a unit of activity, for example an individual plant orgroup of plants constituting an economic entity such as an enterprise. It provides the basis forpreparing a large range of statistics (output, inputs to the production process, capital formationand financial transactions) of such units.
NAMEA - NAMEA (national accounting matrix including environmental accounts) is an environmental accounting framework developed by Statistics Netherlands at the end of the 1980s. It consists of a conventional national accounting matrix extended with environmental accounts in physical units.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
National Emission Ceilings Directive - Directive 2001/81/EC on national emission ceilings for certain atmospheric pollutants. Its objective is to set national emission ceilings for pollutants causing acidification and eutrophication and for ozone precursors in order to provide fuller protection for the environment and human health against their adverse effects.
National Environment and Health Action Plan
National Environmental Research Institute, Denmark
National Focal Point - National focal points (NFPs) are appointed and funded by member countries and are in charge of national cooperation with the EEA and national coordination of activities related to the EEA work programme.
National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, the Netherlands
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Reference Centre - National reference centres (NRCs) are not mentioned in the regulation but have been defined subsequently as a special set of main component elements. National reference centres are also therefore nationally funded institutions/organisations which may be nominated by member countries to play a role in technical coordination within their countries and cooperate with the European topic centre established to cover various topics.
National Snow and Ice Data Centre
Natura 2000 - European Union network of sites designated by Member States under the birds directive and under the habitats directive.
Newly Independent States
Nimbus-7 Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer
North Atlantic Oscillation
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
North European and Baltic Network on Invasive Alien Species
North Sea Conference - The International Conferences on the Protection of the North Sea are political events where the ministers responsible for the protection of the environment meet for a broad and comprehensive assessment of the measures needed to protect the North Sea environment. Participants to the conference are either delegates from North Sea states or international observer organisations. The results of the conferences are recorded in the Conference Declarations.
Northern Sea Route
nanogram
nanoplankton - Planktonic organisms that are 2-20 micometres in size.
national communication
national emission ceilings
national environmental action plan
national park - Areas of outstanding natural beauty, set aside for the conservation of flora, fauna and scenery, and for recreation, if this does not conflict with the conservation objectives of the parks and their landscapes. Hunting, logging, mining, commercial fishing, agriculture and livestock grazing are all controlled within national parks, as is industrial activity.
native species - Plants, animals, fungi, and micro-organisms that occur naturally in a given area or region.
natural capital - An extension of the economic notion of capital (manufactured means of production) to environmental 'goods and services'. It refers to a stock (e.g., a forest) which produces a flow of goods (e.g., new trees) and services (e.g., carbon sequestration, erosion control, habitat).
natural disaster - Violent, sudden and destructive change in the environment without cause from human activity, due to phenomena such as floods, earthquakes, fire and hurricanes.
natural ecosystem - An ecosystem where human impact has been of no greater influence than that of any other native species, and has not affected the ecosystem's structure since the industrial revolution. Human impact excludes changes of global proportions, such as climate change due to global warming.
natural forest - A forest largely undisturbed by human activities.
natural gas - A natural fuel containing methane and hydrocarbons that occurs in certain geologic formations.
natural habitat - Land and water areas where the ecosystems biological communities are formed largely by native plant and animal species and human activity has not essentially modified the area's primary ecological functions.
natural monument - A natural/cultural feature which is of outstanding or unique value because of its inherent rarity, representative of aesthetic qualities or cultural significance. Guidance for selection of a natural monument is: a) The area should contain one or more features of outstanding significance (appropriate natural features include spectacular waterfalls, caves, craters, fossil beds, sand dunes and marine features, along with unique or representative fauna and flora; associated cultural features might include cave dwellings, cliff-top forts, archaeological sites, or natural sites which have heritage significance to indigenous peoples).; b) The area should be large enough to protect the integrity of the feature and its immediately related surroundings.
natural radioactivity - Radiation stemming mainly from uranium, present in small amounts in many rocks, soils, building material, etc.
natural resource accounting - A system of monitoring based on methodically organised accounts, representing the size of economically valuable and limited reserves of natural resources and using physical quantifiers such us tonnes or cubic metres.
natural resources - A feature or component of the natural environment that is of value in serving human needs, e.g. soil, water, plantlife, wildlife, etc. Some natural resources have an economic value (e.g. timber) while others have a 'noneconomic' value (e.g. scenic beauty).
nature and land cover information system - Natlan (nature/land cover) is an information package designed for viewing and distributing EEA's information, data and applications on land cover and nature in a comprehensive and easy-to-use way for a wide public. Natlan is developed by EEA in close collaboration with its European Topic Centres on Land Cover (ETC/LC) and Nature Conservation (ETC/NC).
nature reserve - Areas allocated to preserve and protect certain animals and plants, or both. They differ from national park, which are largely a place for public recreation, because they are provided exclusively to protect species for their own sake. Endangered species are increasingly being kept in nature reserves to prevent them from extinction, particularly in India, Indonesia and some African countries. Natural reserves were used once to preserve the animals that landowners hunted, but, in the 19th century, they became places where animals were kept to prevent them from dying out. Special refuges and sanctuaries are also often designated to protect certain species or groups of wild animals or plants, especially if their numbers and distribution have been significantly reduced. They also serve as a place for more plentiful species to rest, breed or winter. Many parts of the world also have marine and aquatic reserves to protect different species of sea or freshwater plant and animal life.
nematodes - A group of worms, some of which may cause intestinal and other diseases.
nervous system - A coordinating and integrating system which functions in the adaptation of an organism to its environment; in vertebrates, the system consists of the brain, brainstem, spinal cord, cranial and peripheral nerves, and ganglia.
nesting area - A place where birds gather to lay eggs.
net annual increment
neurotoxicity - Having the capability of harming nerve tissue.
niche - The place occupied by a species in its ecosystem and its role: where it lives, what it feeds on and when it performs all its activities.
nitrate - Inorganic form of nitrogen. An important plant nutrient and type of inorganic fertilizer (most highly oxidized phase in the nitrogen cycle). In water, the major sources of nitrates are septic tanks, feed lots and fertilizers.
nitric oxide - Gas formed by combustion under high pressure and high temperature in an internal combustion engine. It changes into nitrogen dioxide in the ambient air and contributes to photochemical smog.
nitrogen - An essential nutrient in the food supply of plants and the diets of animals. Animals obtain it in nitrogen-containing compounds, particularly amino acids. Although in the atmosphere is nearly 80% gaseous nitrogen, very few organisms have the ability to use it in this form. The higher plants normally obtain it from the soil after micro-organisms have converted the nitrogen into ammonia or nitrates, which they can then absorb.
nitrogen dioxide
nitrogen oxides - Nitrogen oxides refers to nitric oxide gas (NO) and nitrogen dioxide gas (NO2) and many other gaseous oxides containing nitrogen. The main source of these gases in urban areas are motor vehicle exhaust and indoor gas stoves and kerosene heaters. The brown haze sometimes seen over cities is mainly nitrogen oxides. These gases are also partly responsible for the generation of ozone, which is produced when nitrogen oxides react with other chemicals in the presence of sunlight. Exposure to high levels of nitrogen dioxide can interfere with the ability of blood to carry oxygen, leading to dizziness and shortness of breath. Prolonged exposure can lead to respiratory failure.
nitrous oxide - Relatively inert oxide of nitrogen produced as a result of microbial action in the soil, use of fertilisers containing nitrogen, burning of timber, chemical industry, and so forth. This nitrogen compound may contribute to greenhouse and ozone-depleting effects.
no-observed-adverse-effect level - Greatest concentration or amount of a substance, found by observation or experiment, which causes no detectable adverse effect. Effects may be detected at this level, which are not judged to be adverse.
no-observed-effect level - Greatest concentration or amount of a substance, found by observation or experiment, which causes no detectable effect.
noise - Noise consists of all unwanted sound; sound that is loud, unpleasant or unexpected.
noise abatement - Activity to reduce the emission of noise or vibrations from a given source, or to protect persons and built-up structures from exposure to noise and vibrations.
noise barrier - Barriers for reducing the propagation of sound: they are widely used in industry and alongside roads and railways to shield receivers from noise sources. Barriers can be made of various materials but they need proper planning in order to be effective.
noise emission exhaust system of motor vehicles - Noise emission exhaust systems of motor vehiclesmeans a complete set of parts necessary to reduce the noise produced by the vehicle's engine exhaust.
noise level - Physical quantity of sound measured, usually expressed in decibels.
noise map - The presentation of data on an existing or predicted noise situation in terms of a noise indicator, breaches of a limit value, the number of people affected in a certain area, the number of dwellings exposed to certain values of a noise indicator in a certain area, or on cost-benefit ratios or other economic data on mitigation methods or scenarios.
noise pollution - Harmful or unwanted sounds in the environment, which in specific locals, can be measured and averaged over a period of time.
nomenclature of territorial units for statistics - The nomenclature of territorial units for statistics (NUTS) was drawn up by Eurostat to be a single, cohesive system of territorial groupings for the compilation of EU regional statistics. The NUTS nomenclature subdivides the economic territory of the EU into 77 regions at NUTS level 1, 206 regions at NUTS level 2 and 1031 regions at NUTS level 3.
non-governmental organisation
non-hazardous waste - Non-hazardous waste means waste which is not classified as hazardous waste.
non-ionising radiation - A form of electromagnetic radiation that does not have enough energy to cause ionisation of atoms in living tissue. Examples of this type of radiation include radio waves, microwaves, infrared light, and ordinary light.
non-methane volatile organic compound - Organic chemical compounds, excluding methane, that under normal conditions can vaporise and enter the atmosphere. NMVOCs include such compounds as benzene, xylene, propane and butane. NMVOCs are mainly emitted from transportation, industrial processes and use of organic solvents. See also VOCs.
non-point sources - Diffuse pollution sources (i.e. without a single point of origin or not introduced into a receiving stream from a specific outlet). Common non-point sources are agriculture, forestry, urban, mining, construction, dams, channels, land disposal, saltwater intrusion and city streets.
non-renewable resource - Minerals, oil, gas and coal. Their use as material and energy sources leads to depletion of the Earth's reserves and are characterised that they do not renew in human relevant periods.
normative scenario - Normative scenarios take values and interests into account.
nuclear accident - Accidental release of radiation occurring in civil nuclear facilities, exceeding the internationally established safety levels.
nuclear energy - Energy released by nuclear fission or nuclear fusion.
nuclear power plant - A power plant in which nuclear energy is converted into heat for use in producing steam for turbines, which in turn drive generators that produce electric power.
nuclear reactor - Device which creates heat and energy by starting and controlling atomic fission.
nutrient - Chemical elements which are involved in the construction of living tissue and which are needed by both plant and animal. The most important in terms of bulk are carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, with other essential ones including nitrogen, potassium, calcium, sulphur and phosphorus.
nutrient balance - 1) The soil surface nitrogen balance is calculated as the difference between the total quantity of nitrogen inputs entering the soil and the quantity of nitrogen outputs leaving the soil annually, based on the nitrogen cycle. 2) Condition in which there is equilibrium between intake and excretion of nutrients.
nutrient removal - Elimination of nutrients from wastewater in order to prevent water eutrophication.
O
OSPAR Convention - Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic. It was opened for signature at the Ministerial Meeting of the Oslo and Paris Commissions in Paris on 22 September 1992. The convention entered into force on 25 March 1998.
Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development
Ozone web - The Ozone web system provides the public with hourly ozone information from selected stations in European countries. Users can look through an easy map-based interface at station information with ozone graphs, link to national ozone web sites for more information and study relevant documentation. <p> <a href="http://www.eea.europa.eu/maps/ozone">Ozone - conditions across Europe</a></p>
occupational exposure - Exposure to chemicals while in a workplace setting.
occurrence + qual - Something that takes place or comes to pass. Occurrence and happening are the most general: an everyday occurrence; a happening of no great importance.Event usually signifies a notable occurrence: major world events reported on the evening news. 'Great events make me quiet and calm; it is only trifles that irritate my nerves' Victoria.Incident may apply to a minor occurrence: a small incident blown out of proportion.The term may also refer to a distinct event of sharp identity and significance: a succession of exciting incidents.An episode is an incident in the course of a progression or within a larger sequence: 'Happiness was but the occasional episode in a general drama of pain' Thomas Hardy.Circumstance denotes a particular incident or occurrence: 'Billy had found Alice, thus bringing about the odd circumstance of their renewing their acquaintanceship' Eleanor H. Porter.
offshore - Away from the shoreline; refers largely to the expanse of submerged continental shelf on the ocean side of the shoreline but may also refer to areas nearer the ocean edge of the shelf. Used also to refer to the area beyond the three nautical miles State and territory waters.
oil pipeline - A line of pipe connected to valves and other control devices, for conducting oil.
oil pollution - Contamination of any ecosystem, but usually of freshwater or marine ecosystems, by oil or other petroleum products.
oil spill - The accidental release of oil, or other petroleum products usually into freshwater or marine ecosystems, and usually in large quantities. It can be controlled by chemical dispersion, combustion, mechanical containment, and absorption.
old-growth forest - The old growth forests have been described by the adjective primeval, ancient, wilderness, virgin, pristine while in forester's terminology they are called as over-matured, decadent, and senescent, old growth. The old growth forests may be defined as a climax forest that has never been disturbed by man. The old growth forests can be classified as per the age and disturbance criteria.
oligotrophic - Waters that are relatively low in nutrients and cannot support much plant life.
open land - Non-built-up land with no, or with insignificant, vegetation cover.
open spaces - A plot of vegetated land separating or surrounding areas of intensive residential or industrial use and devoted to recreation or park uses.
oral toxicity - Adverse effects resulting from taking a substance into the body by mouth.
organic agriculture - A method of production, which puts the highest emphasis on environmental protection and, with regard to livestock production, animal welfare considerations. It avoids or largely reduces the use of synthetic chemical inputs such as fertilisers, pesticides, additives and medical products.
organic farming label - In March 2000 the European Commission introduced a logo bearing the words 'Organic Farming - EC Control System' [Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91] to be used on a voluntary basis by producers whose systems and products have been found on inspection to satisfy EU regulations.
organic fertiliser - Organic fertilisers mean materials of animal origin used to maintain or improve plant nutrition and the physical and chemical properties and biological activity of soils, either separately or together, they may include manure, digestive tract content, compost and digestion residues.
organic matter - 1) Carbonaceous waste originating from human and animal sources. 2) Plant and animal residue that decomposes and becomes a part of the soil.
organic waste - Waste containing carbon compounds.
organism - An individual constituted to carry out all life functions.
organochlorines - The term organochlorine refers to a wide range of chemicals that contain carbon, chlorine and, sometimes, several other elements. A range of organochlorine compounds have been produced including many herbicides, insecticides, fungicides as well as industrial chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The compounds are characteristically stable, fat-soluble and bioaccumulate. Organochlorines pose a range of adverse human health risks and some are carcinogens.
organotin compound - Compound that contains both tin and carbon.
ornithology - The branch of zoology that deals with the study of birds, including their physiology, classification, ecology, and behaviour.
outfall - Point of discharge of wastewater.
overexploitation - The use of raw materials excessively without considering the long-term ecological impacts of such use.
overfishing - Taking out of the sea more than natural population growth can sustain. Overfishing has a number of causes, the most ruthless being 'chronic over capacity' of modern fishing fleets to effectively take far more fish than can be replaced.
overgrazing - Intensive grazing by livestock that exceeds the environmental carrying capacity of a given piece of land. It can lead to impoverishment of the sward, dominance of certain unpalatable species, soil erosion and even a (complete) loss of vegetation.
oxygen
ozone - Ozone, the triatomic form of oxygen (O3), is a gaseous atmospheric constituent. In the troposphere - at ground level - it is created both naturally and by photochemical reactions involving gases resulting from human activities (photochemical smog). In high concentrations, tropospheric ozone can be harmful to a wide range of living organisms. In the stratosphere, ozone is created by the interaction between solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation and molecular oxygen (O2). Stratospheric ozone plays a decisive role in protecting life on earth from ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
ozone depletion potential - The integrated change in total ozone per unit mass emission of a specific compound, relative to the integrated change in the total ozone per unit mass of CFC-11.
ozone episode - A period of usually a few days up to 2-3 weeks with high ozone concentrations, characterised by daily exceedances of the thresholds set to protect human health. Ozone episodes occur under specific meteorological conditions characterised by large stagnant areas of high pressure. Since the formation of ozone requires sunlight, ozone episodes mainly occur during summer.
ozone hole - A sharp seasonal decrease in stratospheric ozone concentration that occurs over Antarctica in the spring. First detected in the late 1970s, the ozone hole continues to appear as a result of complex chemical reaction in the atmosphere that involves CFCs.
ozone layer - Very diluted atmospheric concentration of ozone found at an altitude of 10 to 50 kilometres above the earth's surface.
ozone layer depletion - The fragile shield of ozone is being damaged by chemicals released on earth. The main chemicals that are depleting stratospheric ozone are chlorofluorocarbons which are used in refrigerators, aerosols, and as cleaners in many industries, and halons, which are used in fire extinguishers. The damage is caused when these chemicals release highly reactive forms of chlorine and bromine. Over the past 30 years ozone levels over parts of Antarctica have dropped by almost 40 % during some months and a 'hole' in ozone concentrations is clearly visible in satellite observations.
ozone precursor - Chemical compounds, such as carbon monoxide (CO), methane (CH4), NMVOCs and nitrogen oxide (NOx), which in the presence of solar radiation react with other chemical compounds to form ozone, mainly in the troposphere.
ozone-depleting substance - A compound that contributes to stratospheric ozone depletion. Ozone-depleting substances (ODS) include CFCs, HCFCs, halons, methyl bromide, carbon tetrachloride, and methyl chloroform. ODS are generally very stable in the troposphere and only degrade under intense ultraviolet light in the stratosphere. When they break down, they release chlorine or bromine atoms, which then deplete ozone.
P
PIC Convention - The Rotterdam Convention on the prior informed consent (PIC) procedure for certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides in international trade was opened for signature in 1998. It will come into force when 50 countries provide final ratification. The Convention will enable the world to monitor and control the trade in various chemicals that threaten human and environmental health. It will give importing countries the power to decide which chemicals they want to receive and to exclude those they cannot manage safely. If trade does take place, requirements for labelling and provision of information on potential health and environmental effects will promote the safe use of these chemicals.
PM0.1 - particulate matter with an average aerodynamic diameter of up to 0.1 µm, referred to as ultrafine particle fraction
PM10 - An air pollutant consisting of small particles with an aerodynamic diameter less than or equal to a nominal 10 micrometer (about 1/7 the diameter of a single human hair). Their small size allows them to make their way to the air passages deep within the lungs where they may be deposited and result in adverse health effects. PM10 also causes visibility reduction.
PM2.5 - particulate matter with an average aerodynamic diameter of up to 2.5 µm, referred to as the fine particle fraction (which per definition includes the ultrafine particles)
Packaging directive - EC Directive proposed on 15 July 1992 aiming at harmonizing national measures concerning the management of packaging and packaging waste; the directive covers all packaging placed on the market.
Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy
Pan-European Ecological Network
Pollutant Release and Transfer Register
Pollution Monitoring and Assessment Programme - Mediterranean Region
Primary energy consumption - Primary energy consumption is defined by the Energy Efficiency Directive (2013/12/EU) as gross inland energy consumption minus non-energy uses.
Protocol on Energy Efficiency and Related Environmental Aspects
pH - An expression of both acidity and alkalinity on a scale of 0 to 14, with 7 representing neutrality; numbers less than 7 indicate increasing acidity and numbers greater than 7 indicate increasing alkalinity.
packaging - Packaging shall mean all products made of any materials of any nature to be used for the containment, protection, handling, delivery and presentation of goods, from raw materials to processed goods, from the producer to the user or the consumer. Non-returnable items used for the same purposes shall also be considered to constitute packaging.Packaging consists only of:(a) sales packaging or primary packaging, i. e. packaging conceived so as to constitute a sales unit to the final user or consumer at the point of purchase; (b) grouped packaging or secondary packaging, i. e. packaging conceived so as to constitute at the point of purchase a grouping of a certain number of sales units whether the latter is sold as such to the final user or consumer or whether it serves only as a means to replenish the shelves at the point of sale; it can be removed from the product without affecting its characteristics; (c) transport packaging or tertiary packaging, i. e. packaging conceived so as to facilitate handling and transport of a number of sales units or grouped packagings in order to prevent physical handling and transport damage. Transport packaging does not include road, rail, ship and air containers.
packaging waste - Waste comprised of materials, or items, used to protect, contain or transport a commodity or product and usually considered a type of consumer waste.
packaging waste management - Shall mean the management of waste as defined in Directive 75/442/EEC;(waste means any substance or object which the holder disposes of or is required to dispose of pursuant to the provisions of national law in force).
pan-European - Europe from the Atlantic to the Ural mountains and from the Arctic to the Mediterranean Sea.
pan-European landscape and biological diversity strategy - The strategy establishes an international framework for cooperation for consolidating and extending existing schemes and programmes in the conservation field. Endorsed at the third pan-European Conferences of Ministers of the Environment 'Environment for Europe' held in Sofia in October 1995, it concerns 54 countries of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. The Council of Europe and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) are responsible for the strategy's secretariat.
parent material - The mineral material from which a soil forms.
particulate matter - A collective name for fine solid or liquid particles added to the atmosphere by processes at the earth's surface. Particulate matter includes dust, smoke, soot, pollen and soil particles.
parts per billion - The number of 'parts' by weight of a substance per billion parts of water. Used to measure extremely small concentrations.
parts per billion in volume - A way to describe how much of a substance is contained in a sample: parts of analyte per billion parts of sample. In atmospheric chemistry this becomes volume parts of analyte per volume parts of atmosphere.
parts per million - The number of 'parts' by weight of a substance per million parts of water. This unit is commonly used to represent pollutant concentrations.
parts per million in volume - A way to describe how much of a substance is contained in a sample: parts of analyte per million parts of sample. In atmospheric chemistry this becomes volume parts of analyte per volume parts of atmosphere.
passenger transport - The conveyance of people over land, water or through air by automobile, bus, train, airplane or some other means of travel.
passenger transport intensity - This indicator is defined as the ratio between passenger-km (inland modes) and GDP (Gross Domestic Product in constant 1995 EUR). It is indexed on 1995. The unit used is the passenger-kilometre (pkm), which represents one passenger travelling a distance of one kilometre. It is based on transport by passenger cars, buses and coaches, and trains.
pathogen - Any disease-producing agent or microorganism.
pathogenic - Description of an agent that induces illness.
peak level - Level of airborne pollutant contaminants much higher than average or occurring for short periods of time in response to sudden releases.
peat bog - Acidic peat environment typical of wetlands. Peat bogs are colonised by characteristic low vegetation including moss, rushes and heather.
pelagic - Of, relating to, or living or occurring in the open sea.
percentile - A value that is the rank at a particular point in a collection of data. For instance, a 98th percentile of values for a year is the value that 98 % of all the data in the year fall below, or equal.
perfluorocarbon - Family of industrial gases included in the basket of six greenhouse gases (GHGs) covered by the Kyoto Protocol. Although total emissions are relatively small, PFCs are extremely potent GHGs, with 100-year global warming potential of between 6 500 and 9 200.
perfluorocarbons
perfluorooctane sulfonic acid
perfluorooctanoic acid
performance indicator - Performance indicators compare actual conditions with a specific set of reference conditions. They measure the 'distance(s)' between the current environmental situation and the desired situation (target): 'distance to target' assessment.
permafrost - Soil, silt and rock located in perpetually cold areas which remains frozen year-round. Though a thin layer may thaw during summer months, the majority of the permafrost in a given location will remain frozen until the local climate dramatically changes, as from continental drift toward the equator or global warming.
permanent crops - Land cultivated with crops that occupy the land for long periods and need no be replanted after each harvest, such as cocoa, coffee and rubber; this category includes land under flowering shrubs, fruit trees, nut trees and vines, but excludes land under trees for wood or timber.
permanent pasture - Land used permanently (five years or more) for herbaceous forage crops, either cultivated or growing wild (wild prairie or grazing land).
persistent organic pollutants
pesticide - Substances or mixture thereof intended for preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any pest. Also, any substance or mixture intended for use as a plant regulator, defoliant, or desiccant.
petrol - Light hydrocarbon oil for use in internal combustion engines, excluding those in aircraft. Motor gasoline is distilled between 35oC and 215oC and treated by reforming, catalytic cracking or blending with an aromatic fraction to reach a sufficiently high octane number (>80 RON).
phosphorus - It is an essential component of living systems and is found in nervous tissue, bones and cell protoplasm. Phosphorus exists in several allotropic forms including white (or yellow), red, and black (or violet). White phosphorus has two modifications. Ordinary phosphorus is a waxy white solid. When pure, it is colourless and transparent. It is insoluble in water, but soluble in carbon disulphide.
photic zone - Region of the ocean through which light penetrates; and the place where photosynthetic marine organisms live.
photochemical pollution - Air pollution containing ozone and other reactive chemical compounds formed by the action of sunlight on nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons, especially those in automobile exhaust.
photochemical reaction - A term referring to chemical reactions brought about by the light energy of the sun. The reaction of nitrogen oxides with hydrocarbons in the presence of sunlight to form ozone is an example of a photochemical reaction.
photochemical smog - A combination of fog and chemicals that come from automobile and factory emissions and is acted upon by the action of the sun. Nitrogen dioxide, in the presence of the sun and some hydrocarbons, is turned into nitric oxide and atomic oxygen. The atomic oxygen reacts with the oxygen molecules and other constituents of automobile exhaust fumes to form a variety of products including ozone. The ozone is harmful in itself and is also implicated in a highly complex series of continuing reactions. As long as there is ozone or nitrogen dioxide and sunlight present, other undesirable reactions will occur.
physical input-output tables - Physical input-output tables (PIOT) describe the flows of material and energy within the economic system and between the economic system and the natural environment. They also describe the physical accumulation of materials in the economy, but not the stocks of man-made or natural capital.
phytobenthos - Microscopic plants that live in the surface layers of the seabed, particularly in shallow water and intertidal areas.
phytoplankton - Microscopically small plants which float or swim weakly in fresh or salt water bodies.
plankton - Tiny, free-floating organisms of the ocean or other aquatic systems. They may be phytoplankton or zooplankton.
plant protection products - Any substance or mixture of substances which through physiological action protects the plants against parasites, fungi, virus, or other damaging factors.
plantation forest - Forest stands established by planting or/and seeding in the process of afforestation or reforestation. They are either: A) of introduced species (all planted stands), or B) intensively managed stands of indigenous species which meet all the following criteria: one or two species at plantation, even age class, regular spacing. It excludes stands which are established as plantations but which have been without intense management for a significant period of time; these should be considered semi-natural.
plasticiser - A substance which when added to a material, usually a plastic but also paint or an adhesive, makes it flexible, resilient and easier to handle. Modern plasticisers are manmade organic chemicals; the majority of which are esters, such as adipates and phthalates.
platinum group metals
point source - A stationary location or fixed facility from which pollutants are discharged; any single identifiable source of pollution; e.g. a pipe, ditch, ship, ore pit, factory smokestack.
polar vortex - This is a phenomenon that occurs during the polar winter in which stratospheric air moves in a circular motion, with an area of relatively still air in its centre. The temperature in the vortex is approximately -130 degrees F (-80 degrees C), which assists in the formation of polar stratospheric clouds. Though usually more prolonged and colder over Antarctica, the Arctic polar vortex does form to a degree, and when the temperatures there are coldest and the vortex persists, Arctic stratospheric ozone destruction on Arctic polar stratospheric clouds has also been observed.
policy-maker - Individuals, especially those in official bodies, who have the authority to make decisions about what problems will be addressed within a particular sector and how these problems will be handled.
polluter-pays principle - The principle that those causing pollution should meet the costs to which it gives rise.
pollution indicator - Organisms, mostly plants, which are most sensitive to slight changes in environmental factors. When identified their reaction can serve as an early warning of the endangerment of the health of a community.
pollution load - The amount of stress placed upon an ecosystem by pollution, physical or chemical, released into it by man-made or natural means.
pollution prevention - The use of materials, processes, or practices to reduce, minimise, or eliminate the creation of pollutants or wastes. It includes practices that reduce the use of toxic or hazardous materials, energy, water, and/or other resources.
polychlorinated biphenyl - PCBs are mixtures of 209 different chemicals (cogeners) that come in various forms including oily liquids, solids and hard resins. PCBs are organochlorines that were manufactured until the mid-1980s, after which they were banned due to their toxicity and persistence. PCBs have been widely used as insulators in electrical equipment. They have also been used in the production of hydraulic fluids, lubricants, inks, adhesives and insecticides. They are still found in old electrical equipment and releases into the environment continue from landfills. PCBs are very persistent in the environment, taking years to degrade. They are fat-soluble and bioaccumulate in the tissues of animals. PCBs have become worldwide pollutants due to long-distance transport on air currents. Exposure to PCBs can permanently damage the nervous, reproductive and immune systems of the human body. PCBs are known carcinogens and have been linked with the development of various forms of cancer including skin and liver. In mammals, PCBs are passed via the placenta to developing young in the womb and via breast milk to newborn babies. The disposal of wastes containing PCBs is regulated by the Basel Convention.
polychlorinated triphenyl - Toxic and persistent chemical used as electric insulator.
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon - Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a group of compounds formed during the incomplete combustion of coal, oil, gas, wood, garbage or other organic substances. In most cases PAHs occur as a mixture of several compounds, not as a single chemical. Several PAHs are produced commercially to be used in the industrial organic synthesis. Once released into the aquatic environment, degradation by micro-organisms is often slow, leading to their accumulation in exposed sediments, soils, aquatic and terrestrial plants, fish and invertebrates. In terms of human health, prolonged exposure to PAHs can have a deleterious effect, and individuals exposed to mixtures of PAHs,
polyvinyl chloride - A plastic that is used for many purposes. Various additives, such as plasticisers, lead and cadmium are added to polyvinyl chloride (PVC) to make it usable. Almost every stage of this PVC life-cycle can create pollution problems, for example, environmental contamination with mercury, chlorinated solvents and dioxins. In terms of health, PVC dust can damage the lungs of workers.
population density - The number of people relative to the space occupied by them.
population equivalent - One population equivalent (p.e.) means the organic biodegradable load having a five-day biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5) of 60 g of oxygen per day.
post-consumer materials - Materials that a consumer has finished using, which the consumer may sell, give away, or discard as wastes.
poultry - This includes domestic animals: broilers, laying hens, turkeys, ducks, geese and other poultry, e.g. quails, pheasants, guinea-fowl, pigeons, ostriches.
power generation - The act or process of transforming other forms of energy into electric energy.
practical salinity units
precaution - Action taken to anticipate, identify and reduce the impact of 'surprises' (unknown impacts and therefore unknown probabilities).
precautionary approach - A decision to take action, based on the possibility of significant environmental damage, even before there is conclusive, scientific evidence, that the damage will occur.
precautionary prevention - Action taken to reduce potential hazards.
precautionary principle - (1) Principle adopted by the UN Conference on thr Environment and Development (1992) that in order to protect the environment, a precautionary approach should be widely applied, meaning that where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage to the environment, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation. (2) The precautionary principle permits a lower level of proof of harm to be used in policy-making whenever the consequences of waiting for higher levels of proof may be very costly and/or irreversible.
predicted environmental concentration - This is the estimated concentration of a chemical in an environmental compartment calculated from available information on its properties, its use and discharge patterns, and the quantities involved.
predicted no-effect concentration - An ecotoxicological measure for multiple species systems. It can be defined as the concentration below which a specified percentage of species in an ecosystem are expected to be protected.
preliminary treatment (of wastewater) - (1) Removal of large solids, oils, fat and other material from sewage so as to protect wastewater treatment facilities engaged in further treatment. (2) The first stage of wastewater treatment which removes debris, sand, grit and fine particles.
pressure - In the EEA indicator system, pressure indicators describe developments in release of substances (emissions), physical and biological agents, the use of resources and the use of land. The pressures exerted by society are transported and transformed in a variety of natural processes to manifest themselves in changes in environmental conditions.
prevention - Action taken to reduce known risks.
prevention of packaging waste - Means the reduction of the quantity and of the harmfulness for the environment of:- materials and substances contained in packaging and packaging waste,- packaging and packaging waste at production process level and at the marketing, distribution, utilization and elimination stages, in particular by developing 'clean` products and technology.
prevention principle - This principle allows action to be taken to protect the environment at an early stage. It is now not only a question of repairing damages after they have occurred, but to prevent those damages occurring at all. This principle is not as far-reaching as the precautionary principle. It means in short terms: it is better to prevent than repair.
price signal - A message sent to customers in the form of a price charged for a commodity; usually indicates a message intended to produce a particular result.
primary energy - Energy embodied in natural resources (e.g. coal, crude oil, sunlight, uranium) that has not undergone any anthropogenic conversion or transformation.
primary particle matter
primary particles - Particulate matter originated from direct air emissions.
primary production - Fixation of inorganic carbon by organisms able to utilise inorganic sources of carbon as starting materials in the formation of organic compound by living organisms by the use of sunlight.
primary treatment - (1) Removal of floating solids and suspended solids, both fine and coarse, from raw sewage. (2) Primary treatment means treatment of urban wastewater by a physical and/or chemical process involving settlement of suspended solids, or other processes in which the BOD5 of the incoming wastewater is reduced by at least 20 % before discharge and the total suspended solids of the incoming wastewater are reduced by at least 50 %.
principle of proximity - Principle established in the EC Framework Directive on waste. The principle of proximity implies that waste should generally be managed as near as possible to its place of production, mainly because transporting waste has a significant environmental impact.
principle of self-sufficiency - Principle established in the EC Framework Directive on waste. The principle of self-sufficiency requires that most waste should be treated or disposed of within the region in which it is produced.
priority conservation area
product tax - A product tax may be levied on the units of harmful substance contained in products: for instance, a carbon tax is based on the carbon content of each particular fossil fuel. The product tax may also be levied per unit of the product, if the objective is to reduce usage of the product generally.
projection - A projection is a potential future evolution of a quality or set of quantities, often computed with the aid of a model.
propellant - A gas with a high vapour pressure used to force formulations out of aerosol spray cans. Among the gases used are butanes, propanes and dinitrogen oxide.
protected area - A geographically defined area which is designated or regulated and managed to achieve specific conservation objectives.
protected landscape - Natural or man-made areas which have been reserved for conservation, scientific, educational and/or recreational purposes.
protected species - Threatened, vulnerable or endangered species which are protected from extinction by preventive measures.
proxy indicator - Proxy data: data used to study a situation, phenomenon or condition for which no direct information - such as instrumental measurements - is available.
public transport - The act or the means of conveying people in mass as opposed to conveyance in private vehicles.
public water supply - Water supply by water works.
purchasing power parity
Q
qualitative scenario - Qualitative scenarios describe possible futures in the form of words or visual symbols rather than numerical estimates. They can take the shape of diagrams, phrases or outlines, but more commonly they are made up of narrative texts, i.e. so-called 'storylines'.
quality of life - Quality of life is largely a matter of individual preference and perception and overlaps the concept of social wellbeing. Generally the emphasis is on the amount and distribution of public goods, such as health care and well-fare services, protection against crime, regulation of pollution, preservation of fine landscapes and historic townscapes.
quantitative scenarios - Quantitative scenarios can provide needed numerical information in the form of tables and graphs. Thus quantitative scenarios are usually based upon models or simulations, which have the advantage of providing transparent and comprehensive sets of assumptions in the form of model equations, model inputs and coefficients.
quantitative status - An expression of the degree to which a body of groundwater is affected by direct and indirect abstractions.
R
Ramsar Convention - The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971, is an intergovernmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
Ramsar list - At the time of joining the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar Convention), each contracting party undertakes to designate at least one site for inclusion in the list of wetlands of international importance (the 'Ramsar list'). The inclusion of a site in the Ramsar list confers upon it the prestige of international recognition and obliges the government to take all steps necessary to ensure the maintenance of the ecological character of the site. At any time, contracting parties may designate additional wetlands for the list or extend the boundaries of those already included. They select wetlands within their territories on the basis of their international significance in terms of ecology, botany, zoology, limnology or hydrology, as measured by reference to the convention's criteria for identifying wetlands of international importance.
Ramsar site - Wetlands designated by the contracting parties of the Ramsar Convention for inclusion in the list of wetlands of international importance because they meet one or more of the Ramsar criteria.
Rapid Alert System for non-food consumer products
Rapid Alert Systems for Food and Feed
Regional Air Pollution Information and Simulation model
Regional Environmental Action Programme for Central Asia
Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia
Regional Environmental Reconstruction Programme
Rio+10 Conference - World Summit on Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg (South Africa) in August 2002, ten years after the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Rio Conference).
RoHS directive - The purpose of Directive 2002/95/EC on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment is to approximate the laws of the Member States on the restrictions of the use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment and to contribute to the protection of human health and the environmentally sound recovery and disposal of waste electrical and electronic equipment.
Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution
radiation exposure - The act or state of being subjected to energy flows strong enough to ionize atoms thereby posing a threat to human health or the environment.
radiation flux - The way any form of radiation (ultraviolet, visible, infrared) from the sun is absorbed scattered or returned around the earth and can be expressed as some radiation arrival rate per the unit of area of the surface. The radiation flux can be the total amount of radiation that the earth and its atmosphere absorb, convert into heat and re-emit.
radiative forcing - A simple measure of the importance of a potential climate change mechanism. Radiative forcing is the perturbation to the energy balance of the earth-atmosphere system following, for example, a change in the concentration of carbon dioxide or a change in the output of the sun; the climate system responds to the radiative forcing so as to re-establish the energy balance. A positive radiative forcing tends to warm the surface and a negative radiative forcing tends to cool the surface.
radioactive contamination - The contamination of any material, surface, environment or person by radioactive substances. In the specific case of the human body, this radioactive contamination includes both external skin contamination and internal contamination irrespective of method of intake.
radioactive waste - Radioactive waste means any material which contains or is contaminated by radio-nuclides and for which no use is foreseen.
radioactivity - Spontaneous emission of radiation, normally alpha or beta particles often accompanied by gamma rays, from the nucleus of an (unstable) isotope.
radioelement - An element that is naturally radioactive.
radionuklide - A nuclide that exhibits radioactivity.
railway - A permanent track composed of a line of parallel metal rails fixed to sleepers, for transport of passengers and goods in trains.
railway network - Railway network means the entire railway infrastructure owned and/or managed by an infrastructure manager.
rare species - Species which have a restricted (world) range.
raw water - Natural water that is untreated.
receiving waters - A river, ocean, stream, or other watercourse into which wastewater or treated effluent is discharged.
recreational land - Land used for purposes of recreation, for example, sports fields, gymnasiums, playgrounds, public parks and green areas, public beaches and swimming pools and camping sites.
recycling - (1) A resource recovery method involving the collection and treatment of a waste product for use as raw material in the manufacture of the same or a similar product. (2) the EU waste strategy distinguishes between: reuse meant as a material reuse without any structural changes in materials; recycling meant as a material recycling, only, and with a reference to structural changes in products; and recovery meant as an energy recovery only.
red list - 1) A publication listing the conservation status of different taxa in a given geographic area (e.g. region, country, world). 2) The series of publications produced by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). They provide an inventory on the threat to rare plants and animal species. Information includes status, geographical distribution, population size, habitat and breeding rate. The books also contain the conservation measures, if any, that have been taken to protect the species. There are five categories of rarity status: endangered species; vulnerable organisms, which are those unlikely to adapt to major environmental effects; rare organisms, which are those at risk because there are few of them in the world, such as plants which only grow on mountain peaks or on islands; out of danger species, which were formerly in the above categories, but have had the threat removed because of conservation actions; and indeterminate species, which are the plants and animals probably at risk, although not enough is known about them to assess their status.
reforestation - (1) Planting of forests on lands that have previously contained forests but that have been converted to some other use. (2) The reestablishment of forest cover either naturally (by natural seeding, coppice, or root suckers) or artificially (by direct seeding or planting).
refrigeration management plan
regional activity centre
regional priority goals
regional services - Regional services mean transport services operated to meet the transport needs of a region.
registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals
regularly or recently cultivated agricultural, horticultural and domestic habitats - One of the main habitat types in the EUNIS habitats classification. They are habitats maintained solely by frequent tilling or arising from recent abandonment of previously tilled ground such as arable land and gardens. Includes tilled ground subject to inundation. Excludes shrub orchards, tree nurseries and tree-crop plantations.
regulatory instrument - A category of environmental policy instruments whereby public authorities mandate the environmental performance to be achieved or the technologies to be used.
rehabilitation - The return of a degraded ecosystem to an undegraded condition but which may also be different from its original condition.
reintroduction - Reintroduction of exterminated species in an area; it is bound to fail if the chosen animal became extinct in the area too long ago and if the area itself has undergone too many changes. Reintroduction needs years of careful planning - the approval of local population, technical conditions of the release, feeding system, protection and breeding control - and even then some unexpected problems may arise.
remediation - Cleanup or other methods used to remove or contain a toxic spill or hazardous materials from a site.
remote sensing - The gathering of information from an object or surface without direct contact.
renewable energy source - Energy sources that do not rely on fuels of which there are only finite stocks. The most widely used renewable source is hydroelectric power; other renewable sources are biomass energy, solar energy, tidal energy, wave energy, and wind energy.
reporting obligations database - Database holding information on EEA member countries' different obligations to international and EU organisations with regard to environmental reporting that follows from both international and EU legislation and other international and EU cooperation.
reporting on environmental conventions - The objective of the project is to map the international environmental conventions signed and ratified by the European Commission and assist the European Environment Agency to streamline the reporting systems implemented in them.
reporting on environmental policies and measures. - The project focuses on developing guidance and new frameworks to help countries provide information on policy effectiveness where required under EU legislation
reproduction (biological) - Any of various processes, either sexual or asexual, by which an animal or plant produces one or more individuals similar to itself.
research and development
research laboratory of nature protection
reserve - Any area of land or water that has been set aside for a special purpose, often to prevent or reduce harm to its wildlife and ecosystems.
reservoir - A component of the climate system that has the capacity to store, to accumulate, or to release a substance of concern (e.g., carbon, a greenhouse gas, or precursor). Oceans, soils, and forests are examples of reservoirs of carbon. The term also means an artificial or natural storage place for water, such as a lake, pond, or aquifer, from which the water may be withdrawn for such purposes as irrigation or water supply.
residential area - Area that has only private houses, not offices and factories.
residues of plant protection products - One or more substances present in or on plants or products of plant origin, edible animal products or elsewhere in the environment and resulting from the use of a plant protection product, including their metabolites and products resulting from their degradation or reaction.
resistance - The ability of an organism to live in the presence of environmental stress, pathogens or pests. Natural resistance of crops can be increased through breeding to reduce use of pesticides and irrigation. However, resistance acquired by weeds and insects can be a problem.
resource depletion - For renewable resources, the part of the harvest, logging, catch and so forth above the sustainable level of the resource stock; for non-renewable resources, the quantity of resources extracted.
respiratory disease - Respiratory disease is an acute or chronic illness affecting the respiratory system; includes acute respiratory infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases.
respiratory system - The system consisting of the airways (nose, mouth, throat, bronchi) the lungs and the respiratory muscles that pump the air into and out of the body. See also lung function.
response - In the EEA indicator system, response indicators refer to responses by groups (and individuals) in society, as well as government attempts to prevent, compensate, ameliorate or adapt to changes in the state of the environment. Some societal responses may be regarded as negative driving forces, since they aim at redirecting prevailing trends in consumption and production patterns. Other responses aim at raising the efficiency of products and processes, through stimulating the development and penetration of clean technologies.
restoration - Measures taken to return a site to pre-violation conditions.
reuse - Material reuse without any structural changes in materials.
riparian - Riverine. Pertaining to a river bank.
risk - Expected losses (of lives, persons injured, property damaged and economic activity disrupted) due to a particular hazard for a given area and reference period. Based on mathematical calculations, risk is the product of hazard and vulnerability.
risk analysis - Method of evaluating the probability of the adverse effects of a substance, industrial process, technology or natural process.
risk assessment - The procedure in which the risks posed by inherent hazards involved in processes or situations are estimated either quantitatively or qualitatively.
risk characterisation - Integration of evidence, reasoning, and conclusions collected in hazard identification, dose-response assessment, and exposure assessment and the estimation of the probability, including attendant uncertainties, of occurrence of an adverse effect if an agent is administered, taken, or absorbed by a particular organism or population. It is the last step of risk assessment.
risk communication - Interactive exchange of information about risks among risk assessors, managers, news media, interested groups, and the general public.
risk evaluation - Establishment of a qualitative or quantitative relationship between risks and benefits, involving the complex process of determining the significance of the identified hazards and estimated risks to those organisms or people concerned with or affected by them. It is the first step in risk management.
risk management - Process of evaluating alternative regulatory and non-regulatory responses to risk and selecting among them. The selection process necessarily requires the consideration of legal, economic and social factors.
risk monitoring - Process of following up the decisions and actions within risk management in order to ascertain that risk containment or reduction with respect to a particular hazard is assured.
river basin - The area of land from which all surface run-off flows through a sequence of streams, rivers and, possibly, lakes into the sea at a single river mouth, estuary or delta.
river basin district - The area of land and sea, made up of one or more neighbouring river basins together with their associated groundwaters and coastal waters, which is identified under Article 3(1) (of the water framework directive) as the main unit for management of river basins.
river station - An established location along a river designated for observing and measuring properties of the river.
road motor vehicle - A road vehicle fitted with an engine whence it derives its sole means of propulsion, which is normally used for carrying persons or goods or for drawing, on the road, vehicles used for the carriage of persons or goods.
road safety - Any measure, technique or design intended to reduce the risk of harm posed by moving vehicles along a constructed land route.
road traffic - Circulation of motor vehicles and people on the road network.
run-off - Portion of rainfall, melted snow or irrigation water that flows across the ground's surface and is eventually returned to streams. Run-off can pick up pollutants from air or land and carry them to receiving waters.
rural area - Geographical area where the population density of humans is low and the main economic activity is agriculture, forestry, or hunting.
rural development - Rural development is closely linked to the common agricultural policy and measures to support employment. Rural development has become the second pillar of the agricultural policy. With its links to agricultural activities and conversion, it is concerned in particular with: a) modernisation of farms, b) safety and quality of food products, c) fair and stable incomes for farmers, d) environmental challenges, e) supplementary or alternative job-creating activities, in a bid to halt the drift from the country and to strengthen the economic and social fabric of rural areas, f) improvement of living and working conditions, and promotion of equal opportunities.
rural tourism - The activities of a person travelling and staying in rural areas (without mass tourism) other than those of their usual environment for less than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes (excluding the exercise of an activity remunerated from within the placed visited).
S
SIDS initial assessment meeting
SOMO35 - for ozone, the sum of means over 35 ppb (daily maximum 8-hour)
SPOT - Satellite Pour l'Observation de la Terre (SPOT).SPOT - the Satellite Earth Observation System was designed in France, and developed with the participation of Sweden and Belgium. The system comprises a series of spacecrafts plus ground facilities for satellite control and programming, image production and distribution.The SPOT satellites capture panchromatic and multispectral imagery in resolutions ranging from 2.5m to 20m. The satellites are fitted with two independent imaging instruments, containing detector arrays that operate using a 'Push Broom' technique. This results in high geometric accuracy across the full 60km wide swath. Each instrument is also fitted with a steerable mirror that allows it to image areas up to 27 degrees east or west off the vertical, which increases the revisit capability and provides stereo imagery for digital elevation modelling. Importantly, the SPOT satellites can be programmed to target client specific areas of interest. History: SPOT 1 was launched on 22 February 1986 with 10m panchromatic and 20m multispectral capability. The satellite was withdrawn from active service on 31 December 1990. SPOT 2 was launched on 22 January 1990 and is still operational. SPOT 3 was launched on 26 September 1993. An incident occurred on 14 November 1997 and after 4 years in orbit the satellite stopped functioning. SPOT 4 was launched on 24 March 1998 and includes an extra Short Wave Infrared band and a (low resolution) vegetation instrument. SPOT 5 was launched on 4 May 2002 with 2.5m, 5m and 10m capability, as well as along-track stereoscopic sensors. System continuity will be assured by a constellation of new-generation minisatellites known as Pleiades.
STAR database - Sustainability targets and reference (STAR) database. An inventory of current environmental policy targets and sustainability reference values (SRVs) which apply in the EEA member countries.
Science, Children, Awareness, EU Legislation and Continuous Evaluation
Scientific Committee - The EEA Management Board appoints a Scientific Committee (SC), that assists the Management Board and the Executive Director on any scientific matter concerning the EEA's activity. The SC consists of up to 20 members appointed for four years.
Sea Around Us Project
Semi-natural forest - A stand which is composed predominantly of native trees and shrub species which have not been planted. Also, a forest which has developed gradually or accidentally, as its location or site quality was not suited for intensive exploitation or production-oriented management (e.g. in mountainous regions). This kind of reconstruction of the natural forest cover can be or has been achieved by using various silvicultural practices, e.g., natural regeneration or selective thinning and in some cases also planting.
Serbian Energy Efficiency Agency
Seveso II Directive - Council Directive 96/82/EEC on the control of major-accident hazards involving dangerous substances. This directive is aimed at the prevention of major accidents which involve dangerous substances, and the limitation of their consequences for man and the environment, with a view to ensuring high levels of protection throughout the Community in a consistent and effective manner.
Seveso Plants Information Retrieval System - Developed by the Major Accident Hazards Bureau of the Joint Research Centre, the 'Seveso plants information retrieval system' (SPIRS) allows easy visualisation of important hazard and risk related information from such plants and estimation of their hazard and risk potential. The main objective of SPIRS is to support the Member States in their risk management related decision making processes by giving an insight into the geographical component of risk from Seveso plants. This is done by providing a map of all Seveso plants in the EU as well as a flexible tool to rank the hazard/risk potential of such plants.
Seveso plant - The Seveso II Directive aims to ensure high levels of protection against accidents involving dangerous substances. Operators of establishments where certain quantities of dangerous substances are present (called Seveso plants or Seveso installations) are requested to notify the competent authorities and to establish and implement a major implement prevention policy.
Sewage sludge directive - The purpose of this Directive is to regulate the use of sewage sludge in agriculture in such a way as to prevent harmful effects on soil, vegetation, animals and man, thereby encouraging the correct use of such sewage sludge.
Shared Environmental Information System for Europe
Silesia - Southern part of Poland and neighbouring small parts of Germany and the Czech Republic
Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Sciences
Sixth environment action programme - The sixth environment action programme of the European Community (Environment 2010: our future, our choice) provides the environmental component of the Community's forthcoming strategy for sustainable development for the period 2001-2010.
Social and Spatial Inequalities Research
Solvents Directive - Directive 1999/13/EC on the limitation of emissions of volatile organic compounds due to the use of organic solvents in certain activities and installations. Its purpose is to prevent or reduce the direct and indirect effects of emissions of volatile organic compounds into the environment, mainly into air, and the potential risks to human health.
South-eastern Europe
Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia
State of Environment
State of the Environment Report - Russian Federation
State of the environment report - According to Aarhus Convention the state of the environment report represents comprehensive publication (in printed or electronic forms), which provides information about the state of elements of the environment, such as air and atmosphere, water, soil, land, landscape and natural sites, biological diversity and its components, including genetically modified organisms, and the interaction among these elements; about the factors, such as substances, energy, noise and radiation, and activities or measures, including administrative measures, environmental agreements, policies, legislation, plans and programmes, affecting or likely to affect the elements of the environment, and cost-benefit and other economic analyses and assumptions used in environmental decision-making and the information about the state of human health and safety, conditions of human life, cultural sites and built structures, in as much as they are or may be affected by the state of the elements of the environment or, through these elements, by the factors, activities or measures referred above.
Statistical Office of the European Communities
Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management
Streamlining European Biodiversity Indicators
Supporting tourism enterprises for eco-labelling and environmental management
Sustainable Tourism - Eliminating Poverty
safety data sheets
saline water - Water with a salt concentration greater than 18 ppt.
salinity - The degree of dissolved salts in water measured by weight in parts per thousand.
saltwater intrusion - Process by which an aquifer is overpumped creating a flow imbalance within an area that results in salt water encroaching into fresh-water supply.
sanitation - The application of measures and techniques aimed at ensuring and improving general hygiene in the community, including the collection, evacuation and disposal of liquid and solid wastes, as well as measures for creating favourable environmental conditions for health and disease prevention.
scenario - A plausible description of how the future may develop, based on a coherent and internally consistent set of assumptions about key relationships and driving forces (e.g. rate of technology changes, prices). Note that scenarios are neither predictions nor forecast.
scoping - A procedure for attempting to ensure that an environmental assessment focuses on the key environmental issues associated with a project, omitting irrelevant material.
scrap vehicle - Car which is delivered for breaking up or otherwise discarded.
screening - A process used to determine whether a project requires an environmental assessment and what type and level of assessment would be necessary.
screening information data set
scrubber - An air pollution device that uses a spray of water or reactant to reduce or remove pollution from air pollution sources.
sea dumping - Any deliberate disposal at sea of wastes or other matter from vessels, aircraft, platforms or other man-made structures at sea, and any deliberate disposal at sea of vessels, aircraft, platforms or other man-made structures at sea.
sea grass bed - Benthic community, usually on shallow, sandy or muddy bottoms of sea, dominated by grass-like marine plants.
sea level rise - An increase in the mean level of the ocean. Eustatic sea level rise is a change in global average sea level brought about by an alteration to the volume of the world ocean. Relative sea level rise occurs where there is a net increase in the level of the ocean relative to local land movements. Climate modelers largely concentrate on estimating eustatic sea level change. Impact researchers focus on relative sea level change.
sea surface temperature
sea-viewing wide field-of-view sensor
sealing - Luting, making watertight, waterproofing.
seaweed - Marine algae, saltwater dwelling, simple organisms that fall into the rather outdated, general category of 'plants'. Most of them are red (6 000 species), brown (2 000 species) or green (1 200 species) and most are attached by holdfasts, which have an anchorage function.
secondary forest - Natural forest growth after some major disturbance (e.g. logging, serious fire, or insect attack).
secondary particles - Particulate matter originated from atmospheric reactions between sulphur and nitrogen oxides, and ammonia and organic compounds.
secondary productivity - The rate at which primary (plant and organisms) material is synthesised into animal tissue per unit area in a given time period.
secondary treatment - Similar to biological waste water treatment. Processes which employ aerobic or anaerobic microorganism and result in decanted effluents and separated sludge containing microbial mass together with pollutants. Biological treatment processes are also used in combination and/or in conjunction with mechanical and advanced unit operations. 2)
sectoral indicator - Sectoral indicators show links between the activities of societal sectors (transport, energy, forestry, etc.) and the environment. As well a sector's absolute burden on the environment and the development in its eco-efficiency, sectoral indicators deal with a sector's development in size and character and its specific responses to environmental problems. Sectoral indicators can be used to describe progress made in individual sectors, but they also serve to compare sectors.
security of supply - Energy security or security of supply can be defined as the availability of energy at all times in various forms, in sufficient quantities, and at reasonable and/or affordable prices.
sedimentation - Deposition of material of varying size, both mineral and organic, away from its site of origin by the action of water, wind, gravity or ice.
seismic activity - The phenomenon of Earth movements.
sensitive area - (1) Areas of a country where special measures may be given to protect the natural habitats which present a high level of vulnerability. (2) Member States has to identify water bodies as sensitive areas in accordance with the criteria of the urban wastewater treatment directive (eutrophication, high concentration of nitrates in surface waters intended for abstraction of drinking water, areas where further treatment is necessary to fulfil other directives). In sensitive areas and catchment of sensitive areas Member States have to ensure the provision of more advanced treatment.
separate collection - The collection of individual components of solid waste from any source, usually separated into different collection containers, in order to recover, reuse or recycle the material or to facilitate its collection and disposal.
septic tank - Underground tank receiving wastewater directly from the home. Organic sewage/waste is decomposed by bacteria and settles down in the tank; effluents flow out of the tank into the ground; and the sludge is periodically pumped out.
sewage - Wastewater produced by residential and commercial establishments and discharged into sewers.
sewage lagoon - Shallow pond, usually human-made, where sunlight, bacteria and oxygen interact to help purify wastewater. The term is synonymous with sewage oxidation pond and stabilisation pond.
sewage sludge - The accumulated settled solids separated from various types of water either moist or mixed with liquid component as a result of natural or artificial processes.
sewage sludge treatment - Process to render sludge fit to meet applicable environmental standards, land-use regulations or other quality norms for recycling or reuse.
sewer - Channel or conduit that carries wastewater, sewage and storm water from their source to a treatment plant or receiving stream. A sanitary sewer conveys household and commercial wastes, a storm sewer transports rain run-off and a combined sewer is used for both purposes.
sewerage network - System of collectors, pipelines, conduits and pumps to conduct wastewater from the point of generation to the place of disposal or treatment.
shrub - A vegetation type where the dominant woody elements are shrubs which grow to a height of more than 50 cm and less than 5 metres on maturity. The height limits for trees and shrubs should be interpreted with flexibility.
site of Community importance - Site of Community importance means a site which, in the biogeographical region or regions to which it belongs, contributes significantly to the maintenance or restoration at a favourable conservation status of a natural habitat type in Annex I or of a species in Annex II and may also contribute significantly to the coherence of Natura 2000 referred to in Article 3, and/or contributes significantly to the maintenance of biological diversity within the biogeographic region or regions concerned. For animal species ranging over wide areas, sites of Community importance shall correspond to the places within the natural range of such species which present the physical or biological factors essential to their life and reproduction.
site protection - Precautionary actions, procedures or installations undertaken to prevent or reduce harm to the environmental integrity of a physical area or location.
sites of community interest
sleep disturbance - Sleep disturbance is self-reported noise-induced sleep disturbance and increase of noise induced awakenings during the habitual sleeping time. Sleep disturbance is seen as a health effect on its own, but may cause also after effects like mood changes, fatigue (and therewith related accidents) and other impaired functions.
sludge - 1) A semifluid mass of sediment resulting from treatment of water, sewage and/or other wastes. 2) A soft, soupy, or muddy bottom deposit, such as found on tideland or at the bottom of a water body.
sludge digestion - Final biochemical reduction stage in sewage treatment in which organic matter is broken down and stabilised by bacteria and other micro-organisms.
smog warning - Action, device or announcement that serves to give caution or notice to the level of air pollutants typically associated with oxidants in a given area.
social cost - The full cost including external cost imposed on society by a given activity.
social indicator - Social indicators are set of indicators that measure progress towards the policy objectives designed for promoting employment, combating poverty, improving living and working conditions, combating exclusion, developing human resources, etc. Social indicators are also part of Sustainable development indicators as well as the Lisbon strategy. Regarding the Lisbon strategy the role of social indicators is ' to describe the present situation and main challenges for poverty and social exclusion policies in the EU, provide a launched for strengthening policies and programmes across the EU - covering the key aspects of monetary poverty, such as level, persistence, depth, changes through time, as well as the key breakdowns by gender, age, household types and occupation, the multidimensional aspect of poverty in the areas of employment, housing, health and education - areas to which Member States have devoted a particular attention in their National Action Plans against poverty and social exclusion'.
software for fishery statistics
soil - Soil is a three-dimensional body performing a wide range of socio-economic and ecological functions. It is a complex media formed by a porous matrix, in which air, water and biota occur together with the fluxes of substances and fluids between these elements. Alteration of soil processes leads to changes in the functioning of ecosystems, and many environmental problems which become apparent in other media actually originate within the soil.
soil acidification - A naturally occurring process in humid climates that has long been the subject of research, whose findings suggest acid precipitation on the productivity of terrestrial plants is summarised as follows: as soil becomes more acidic the basic cations (Ca, Mg) on the soil exchange are replaced by hydrogen ions or solubilized metals. The basic cation, now in solution, can be leached through the soil. As time progresses the soil becomes less fertile and more acidic. Resultant decreases in soil pH cause reduced, less-active population of soil microorganisms, which in turn slow decomposition of plant residues and cycling of essential plant nutrients.
soil compaction - An increase in bulk density (mass per unit volume) and a decrease in soil porosity resulting from applied loads, vibration or pressure. More compacted soils (or other materials) can support greater loads (load-bearing capacity). Bulk density can be increased by controlling the moisture content, compaction forces and treatment procedures, as well as by manipulating the type of material being compacted.
soil conservation - Management of soil to prevent or reduce soil erosion and depletion by wind and water. Preservation of soil against deterioration and loss by using it within its capabilities; application of conservation practices needed for its protection and improvement.
soil erosion - Soil erosion consists in the removal of soil material by water or wind. It is a natural phenomenon but it can be accelerated by human activities.
soil fertility - The status of a soil with respect to the amount and availability to plants of elements necessary for plant growth.
soil formation - The combination of natural processes by which soils are formed. It is also known as pedogenesis. The most important soil-forming factors are parent material, terrain, climate, aspect, vegetation cover, microorganisms in the soil and the age of the land surface. Some pedologists would add to this list the influence of human activities. All the factors exhibit varying degrees of interrelationship and some are more important than others, with climate often being singled out as the most important.
soil leaching - The removal of water or any soluble constituents from the soil. Leaching often occurs with soil constituents such as nitrate fertilisers with the result that nitrates end up in potable waters.
soil organic carbon - Carbon residue retained by the soil in humus form. It improves soil structure and fertility.
soil pollution - Modifications of soil features or, more generally, of its chemical and biological balance, caused by the discharge of polluting substances.
soil porosity - The volume of water that can be held in a soil. Also refers to the ratio of the volume of voids to the total volume of the soil.
soil salinisation - The accumulation of soluble mineral salts near the surface of soil, usually caused by the capillary flow of water from saline ground water. Where the rate of surface evaporation is high, irrigation can exacerbate the problem by moistening the soil and causing water to be drawn from deeper levels as water evaporates from the surface. The evaporation of pure water leaves the salts behind, allowing them to accumulate, and they can reach concentrations that are toxic to plants, thus sterilising the land.
soil sealing - Soil sealing refers to changing the nature of the soil such that it behaves as an impermeable medium (for example, compaction by agricultural machinery). Soil sealing is also used to describe the covering or sealing of the soil surface by impervious materials by, for example, concrete, metal, glass, tarmac and plastic.
soil texture - 1) Refers to the relative proportions of the various size groups (sand, silt and clay) of the individual soil grains in a mass of soil. 2) Classification of soil by the proportion and graduations of the three size groups of soil grains, i.e., sand, silt and clay, present in the soil.
solar collector - Device which converts the energy from light into electricity. The collector system contains a concentrator and a receiver. The concentrator redirects and focuses sunlight on the receiver by using mirrors or lenses, and the receiver absorbs solar radiation and converts it to heat.
solar energy - The energy transmitted from the sun in the form of electromagnetic radiation. The most successful examples of energy extraction from the sun are so far solar cells used in satellites and solar collectors used to heat water.
solid waste - Discarded solid materials. Includes agricultural waste, mining waste, industrial waste and municipal waste.
sorption - The action of soaking up or attracting substances; process used in many pollution control systems.
source principle - The environmental damage should preferably be prevented at the source, rather than by using the 'end-of-pipe technology'. This principle also implies a preference for emission standards rather than environmental quality standards, especially to deal with water and air pollution.
special area of conservation - Site designated according to the habitats directive. Special area of conservation means a site of Community importance designated by the Member States through a statutory, administrative and/or contractual act where the necessary conservation measures are applied for the maintenance or restoration, at a favourable conservation status, of the natural habitats and/or the populations of the species for which the site is designated.
special areas of conservation
special protection area - Area classified under Article 4 of the birds directive (Council Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979 on the conservation of wild birds).
special protection areas
special sensor microwave/imager
specialist species - A species that uses a relatively small proportion (in extreme cases only one) of the available resources types.
species diversity - The number and variety of species found in a given area in a region.
species richness - The number of species within a region. (A term commonly used as a measure of species diversity, but technically only one aspect of diversity.)
spectral - The electromagnetic spectrum extends from electric power at the long-wavelength end to gamma radiation at the short-wavelength end, covering wavelengths from thousands of kilometres down to fractions of the size of an atom. The spectra of radiation absorbed and emitted by matter is used to obtain information about matter. This kind of information is also used in remote sensing from satellites. Onboard scanners are equiped with sensors which digitally record images in separate spectral channels. Data from such spectral images are valuable in several environment analyses. Following are the main spectra bands from minimum to maximum wavelength.? = Gamma raysHX = Hard X-raysSX = Soft X-RaysEUV = Extreme ultravioletNUV = Near ultravioletVisible lightNIR = Near infraredMIR = Moderate infraredFIR = Far infraredRadio waves:EHF = Extremely high frequency (Microwaves)SHF = Super high frequency (Microwaves)UHF = Ultrahigh frequencyVHF = Very high frequencyHF = High frequencyMF = Medium frequencyLF = Low frequencyVLF = Very low frequencyVF = Voice frequencyELF = Extremely low frequency
spent nuclear fuel - Fuel is withdrawn from a nuclear reactor following irradiation and has undergone at least one year's decay since being used as a source of energy in a power reactor. Spent nuclear fuel (SNF) has not been chemically separated from its constituent elements by reprocessing. SNF includes the special nuclear material, by-product material, source material, and other radioactive materials associated with fuel assemblies.
spillage - The uncontrolled discharge, leakage, dripping or running over of fluids or liquid substances.
sport utility vehicle
stakeholder - An institution, organisation, or group that has some interest in a particular sector or system.
standardised reporting directive - Directive 91/692/EEC. This directive provides for the harmonisation of sector reports on the implementation of 27 directives in the air, water and waste sectors. Member States have to produce sector reports every three years on these directive, based on a questionnaire format provided by the Commission. One exception is the bathing water directive (76/160/EEC) which has to be reported on to the Commission on an annual basis so as to provide the public with information at the earliest opportunity.
state indicator - Indicator for the condition of different environmental compartments and systems in physical (e.g. temperature), chemical (e.g. atmospheric CO2 concentrations) or biological (fish stocks) variables.
state of the environment - Condition of different environmental compartments and systems.
state of the environment reporting information system - The state of the environment reports information system (SERIS) is an Internet-based database of state-of-the-environment reports in European countries. The system provides an overview of state-of-the-environment (SoE) documents (paper reports, internet publications and policy-related products) by country and of key organisations involved in SoE reporting.
stationary source - A fixed-site producer of pollution, mainly power plants and other facilities using industrial combustion processes.
statistical frequency - In statistics, the frequency of an event is simply the number of times the event occurred in the experiment or the study. These frequencies are often graphically represented in histograms.
storm - An atmospheric disturbance involving perturbations of the prevailing pressure and wind fields on scales ranging from tornadoes to extratropical cyclones; also the associated weather and the like.
story-and-simulation approach - An approach to (environmental) scenario analysis that combines qualitative and quantitative information based on two main elements: a narrative (story) and results from model calculations (simulation). The narrative describes in story-form how relevant events, key driving forces and step-wise changes unfold in the future. The results from model calculations complement the storyline by presenting numerical estimates of environmental indicators.
storyline - A storyline is a narrative description of a scenario which highlights its main features, and the relationships between the scenario's driving forces and its main features.
strategic environmental assessment - A similar technique to environmental impact assessment (EIA) but normally applied to policies, plans, programmes and groups of projects. Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) provides the potential opportunity to avoid the preparation and implementation of inappropriate plants, programmes and projects and assists in the identification and evaluation of project alternatives and identification of cumulative effects. SEA comprises two main types: sectoral SEA (applied when many new projects fall within one sector) and regional SEA (applied when broad economic development is planned within one region).
strategic environmental assessment directive - Directive 2001/42/EC on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment. Its objective is to provide for a high level of protection of the environment and to contribute to the integration of environmental considerations into the preparation and adoption of plans and programmes with a view to promoting sustainable development, by ensuring that an environmental assessment is carried out of certain plans and programmes which are likely to have significant effects on the environment.
stratosphere - Highly stratified region of atmosphere above the troposphere extending from about 10 km (ranging from 9 km in high latitudes to 16 km in the tropics on average) to about 50 km.
stress - A stimulus or succession of stimuli of such magnitude as to tend to disrupt the homeostasis of the organism.
structural indicators - The Lisbon Strategy is a commitment to bring about economic, social and environmental renewal in the EU. In March 2000, the European Council in Lisbon set out a ten-year strategy to make the EU the world's most dynamic and competitive economy. The European Commission's annual Spring Report examines the Strategy in detail - on the basis of structural indicators. The Spring Report is the only document on the agenda of the Spring European Council, where EU Heads of State and Government assess the progress of the strategy and decide future priorities in order to realise the Lisbon targets.
substrate - 'Supporting surface' on which an organism grows. The substrate may simply provide structural support, or may provide water and nutrients. A substrate may be inorganic, such as rock or soil, or it may be organic, such as wood.
suburb - A residential district situated on the outskirts of a city or town.
suburbanisation - Migration from city centres to suburbs, often linked to the increase of business activities and decrease of population in the centres.
sufficiency index
sulphur dioxide - Heavy, pungent, colourless gas formed primarily by the combustion of fossil fuels. It is harmful to human beings and vegetation, and contributes to the acidity in precipitation.
sulphur hexafluoride
sulphur oxides
surface water - All waters on the surface of the Earth found in rivers, streams, ponds, lakes, marshes, wetlands, as ice and snow, and transitional, coastal and marine waters.
surface water status - General expression of the status of a body of surface water, determined by the poorer of its ecological status and its chemical status.
suspended solids - Solid particles suspended in water. They can be removed by filtration or settlement.
sustainable agriculture - The desired relationship between agriculture and environment can be captured by the term 'sustainable agriculture'. The 5th environmental action programme refers to sustainable development as 'development, which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs'. Sustainable agriculture entails the management of natural resources in a way, which ensures that the benefits are also available in the future. A broader understanding of sustainability extends to the protection of landscapes, habitats, and biodiversity, and to overall objectives such as the quality of drinking water and air.
sustainable consumption and production
sustainable developent indicators - Sustainable development indicators are indicators that measure progress made in sustainable growth and development. They can provide an early warning, sounding the alarm in time to prevent economic, social and environmental damage. They are also important tools to communicate ideas of sustainable development. Indicators for monitoring progress towards sustainable development are needed in order to assist decision-makers and policy-makers at all levels and to increase focus on sustainable development. Beyond the commonly used economic indicators of well-being, however, social, environmental and institutional indicators have to be taken into account as well to arrive at a broader, more complete picture of societal development. A core set of 58 indicators and methodology sheets are now available for all countries to use. This core set was adopted by the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) at its Third Session in April 1995.
sustainable development
sustainable development of Tourism
sustainable forest management - Sustainable management means the stewardship and use of forests and forest lands in such a way, and at a rate, that maintain their biodiversity, productivity, regeneration capacity, vitality and their potential to fulfil, now and in the future, relevant ecological, economic and social functions, at local, national, and global levels, and that does not cause damage to other ecosystems.
sustainable use - Use of the environment and its living resources at a rate that does not exceed its capacity for renewal in order to ensure its availability for future generations.
T
T&T - travel & tourism
TREMOVE - policy assessment model to study the effects of different transport and environment policies on the emissions of the transport sector
TWC - 3-way catalyst
Technology and Economic Assessment Panel
The Alfred Wegener Institute
The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency
Transport, Health and Environment Pan-European Programme
Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation - Since 1978, The Netherlands, Denmark and Germany have been working together on the protection and conservation of the Wadden Sea covering management, monitoring and research, as well as political matters. In 1982, a joint declaration on the protection of the Wadden Sea was agreed upon in which the countries declare their intention to coordinate their activities and measures for the protection of the Wadden Sea. In 1997, a trilateral Wadden Sea plan was adopted.
tailings waste - Any collection of liquid effluents or wastewater drained or separated out during the processing of crops or mineral ores.
target value
technological accident - An unexpected incident, failure or loss occurring through the application of practical or mechanical sciences to industry or commerce that poses potential harm to persons, property or the environment.
teratogen - A chemical, ionising agent, or virus that cause birth defects in organisms.
teratogenic - In the context of human health, structural developmental defects due to exposure to a chemical agent during formation of individual organs.
terrestrial area - Subdivisions of the continental surfaces distinguished from one another on the basis of the form, roughness, and surface composition of the land.
terrestrial ecosystem - The continental as distinct from the marine and atmospheric environments. It is the environment in which terrestrial organisms live.
terrestrial ecosystem monitoring sites - Terrestrial ecosystem monitoring sites (TEMS) is an international directory of sites (named T sites) and networks that carry out long-term terrestrial monitoring and research activities. The database provides information on the 'who, what and where' in long-term terrestrial monitoring that can be useful to both the scientific community and policy-makers.
terrestrial environment - The concept of terrestrial environment relates to the interaction between natural components of the geosphere and biosphere as well as to their interaction with social and economic factors, with special emphasis on the territory in which they are deeply rooted.
terrestrial environment information system - Terrestrial environment information system (TERRIS) is the geographical information system that contains the geo-referenced information available at the EEA, organised in an optimum and consistent way. TERRIS allows managing the relevant data for the calculation and maintenance of a core set of indicators related to land and soil issues.
tertiary treatment - The process which remove pollutants not adequately removed by secondary treatment, particularly nitrogen and phosphorus; accomplished by means of sand filters, microstraining, or other methods (referring to wastewater treatment). Similar to advanced waste water treatment.
thermal pollution - The excessive raising or lowering of water temperature above or below normal seasonal ranges in streams, lakes, or estuaries or oceans as the result of discharge of hot or cold effluents into such water.
thermal power plant - A power-generating plant which uses heat to produce energy. Such plants may burn fossil fuels or use nuclear energy to produce the necessary thermal energy.
threatened species - A species that is facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild in the immediate (critically endangered), near (endangered) or medium-term (vulnerable) future.
threshold - The dose or exposure level below which a significant adverse effect is not expected.
tidal energy - Mechanical power, which may be converted to electrical power, generated by the rise and fall of ocean tides. The possibilities of utilising tidal power have been studied for many generations, but the only feasible schemes devised so far are based on the use of one or more tidal basins, separated from the sea by dams (known as barrages), and of hydraulic turbines through which water passes on its way between the basins and the sea.
tidal marsh - Low, flat marshland traversed by channels and tidal hollows and subject to tidal inundation. Normally, the only vegetation present are salt-tolerant bushes and grasses.
tolerable daily intake - Estimate of the amount of a substance that can be ingested or absorbed over a specified period of time without appreciable health risk.
tolerance - Ability of an organism to endure unfavourable environmental conditions.
toll - Toll means payment of a specified amount for a vehicle travelling the distance between two points on the infrastructures, the amount shall be based on the distance travelled and the type of the vehicle.
toluene - Toluene is a clear, colourless liquid with a distinctive smell. Toluene occurs naturally in crude oil and in the tolu tree. It is also produced in the process of making gasoline and other fuels from crude oil and making coke from coal. Exposure to toluene occurs from breathing contaminated workplace air, in automobile exhaust, some consumer products paints, paint thinners, fingernail polish, lacquers, and adhesives. Toluene affects the nervous system.
tonne
tonne-kilometre - Unit of measure of goods transport which represents the transport of one tonne over one kilometre. The distance to be taken into consideration is the distance actually run.
tonnes of oil equivalent
top soil - The upper part of the soil profile that is relatively rich in humus, which is technically known as the A-horizon of the soil profile.
topology - Topology is a branch of geometry concerned with the study of topological spaces. (The term topology is also used for a set of open sets used to define topological spaces). Most of the GIS (Geography Information System) layers use simple topology: point, line, polygon and region. Objects of real world are simplified in map by these topological elements e.g. lakes by polygons, roads by lines, wells by points etc.
total allowable catch - The quantity of fish that can be taken from each stock each year. In the European Union, the figure is agreed by the Fisheries Council of Ministers each December for the following year. EU Member States are allocated a fixed proportion of the total allowable catch as their national quota.
total energy consumption
total material requirement - The total material requirement (TMR) expresses the total mass of primary materials extracted from nature to support human activities. TMR is a highly aggregated indicator for the material basis of an economy.
total primary energy supply
total suspended particles
tourism satellite accounts
toxic waste - Refuse posing a significant hazard to the environment or to human health when improperly handled; includes carcinogenic, mutagenic, teratogenic or phytotoxic wastes, or wastes harmful to aquatic species, or poisonous wastes.
toxicity - The degree of danger posed by a substance to animal or plant life.
trace elements - Elements that occur in very small quantities in living organisms. These elements include lead, silver, iron, zinc, nickel, cobalt and manganese. Some trace elements are essential for life processes, while others are detrimental. Even beneficial elements may be toxic at higher levels.
tradable permits - An economic policy instrument under which rights to discharge pollution or exploit resources can be exchanged through either a free or a controlled permit-market. Examples include individual transferable quotas in fisheries, tradable depletion rights to mineral concessions and marketable discharge permits for water-borne effluents.
traffic accident - An unexpected incident with potential for harm occurring through the movement or collision of vessels, vehicles or persons along a land, water and air.
traffic noise - Noise emitted by vehicles (heavy vehicles, cars and motorcycles, tyre/road interaction).
trans-European networks - Generic term for interconnected networks and services available on a pan-European basis.
transboundary movement of waste - Any movement of hazardous wastes or other wastes from an area under the national jurisdiction of one State to or through an area under the national jurisdiction of another State or to or through an area not under the national jurisdiction of any State, provided at least two States are involved in the movement.
transboundary pollution - Polluted air and water, or any other contaminated waste, that is generated in one country and transmitted to others.
transitional waters - Bodies of surface water in the vicinity of river mouths which are partly saline in character as a result of their proximity to coastal waters but which are substantially influenced by freshwater flows.
transport and environment reporting mechanism - The concept of an indicator-based transport and environment reporting mechanism (TERM) for the EU was initiated in early 1998. TERM is steered jointly by the European Commission and the EEA. The main output of TERM is a regular indicator-based report through which the effectiveness of transport and environment integration strategies is monitored.
transport planning - A programme of action to provide for present and future demands for movement of people and goods. Such a programme is preceded by a transport study and necessarily includes consideration of the various modes of transport.
transport policy - Comprehensive statements of the objectives and policies which a local transport authority intends to pursue; it includes an estimate of transport expenditure, a statement of transport objectives, etc.
treatment capacity - Waste treatment capacity for a waste recovery and disposal should be calculated as the total amount of waste allowed to be treated under facility permit/licence. Treatment capacity should be calculated for every disposal operation D1 - D11 and recovery operation R1 - R10 according to Annex II to Directive 75/442/EEC as amended by Commission Decision 96/350/EC. Total treatment capacity of waste facilities should be calculated as sum of capacities of waste disposal and waste recovery facilities.
trend - The general direction in which something tends to move. A general tendency or inclination.
tributyltin - A very toxic organic compound containing tin. It is used in antifouling paints on vessels and fixed marine structures.
trophic level - Position in the food chain, determined by the number of energy-transfer steps to that level.
tropical forest - The natural and semi-natural tropical or subtropical forest ecosystems, whether primary or secondary, whether closed or open forests, in both dry and humid areas. The areas concerned are those found within the tropics and subtropics delimited by the 30th northern and southern parallels.
troposphere - The lowest part of the atmosphere from the surface to about 10 km in altitude in mid-latitudes (ranging from 9 km in high latitudes to 16 km in the tropics on average) where clouds and 'weather' phenomena occur. In the troposphere, temperatures generally decrease with height.
tropospheric ozone forming potential
tropospheric ozone forming potentials
tumour - Any new and abnormal growth, specifically one in which cell multiplication is uncontrolled and progressive.
tundra - A zone between the perpetual snow and ice of Arctic regions and the tree line (boreal taiga), having a permanently frozen sub-soil and supporting low-growing vegetation such as lichens, mosses, dwarf shrubs and stunted trees.
turbidity - Hazy or cloudy condition of water due to the presence of suspended particles.
U
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
United Nations
United Nations Children's Fund
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
United Nations Environment Programme
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change - The convention was adopted on 9 May 1992, in New York, and signed at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro by more than 150 countries and the European Community. Its ultimate objective is the 'stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system'. It contains commitments for all parties. Under the convention, parties included in annex I aim to return greenhouse gas emissions not controlled by the Montreal Protocol to 1990 levels by the year 2000. The convention entered in force in March 1994.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations Statistics Division
United Nations World Tourism Organisation
United States dollar
United States of America
Urban initiative - One of the four Community initiatives which will operate in 2000-2006. Its work focuses on the economic and social regeneration of towns and urban areas in difficulty to promote sustainable urban development. Its funding for 2000-2006 will total EUR 700 million. The other three initiatives are Leader+ (rural development), Equal (equal opportunities) and Interreg (cross-border, transnational and interregional cooperation).
ultraviolet radiation - Radiation in the wavelength range between visible light and X-rays, divided into wavelength bands A, B, C. Much of the ultraviolet radiations in bands B and C are prevented from reaching the earth's surface by the ozone layer present in the atmosphere.
untreated wastewater - Wastewater discharged without any wastewater treatment.
uplands - The elevated, typically forested lands beyond the lowlands that border rivers and coasts.
upwelling - Upward movement of cool and nutrient-rich sub-surface waters towards the surface. There exist various types of upwelling. For fisheries, the most important type is the wind-induced coastal upwelling where the upward movement is a consequence of wind stress (along shore) and Eckman transport (offshore).
urban agglomeration - Comprises a city or town proper and the suburban fringe or thickly settled territory lying outside, but adjacent to, its boundaries. A single large urban agglomeration may comprise several cities or towns and their suburban fringes.
urban air pollution - Pollution that occurs in cities from the burning of fossil fuels, the emissions of industrial processes and other sources.
urban area - Geographic area with a high density of people over a limited area. Homes and other types of buildings tend to be close together.
urban communication platform - Initiated by the EEA and UNEP/GRID-Arendal, the project seeks to enable cities in Europe to use the European common indicators on urban sustainability as the basis for on-line state of the environment reports. The urban communication platform provides indicator-based information and data at city level.
urban noise - Noise emitted from various sources in an urban environment.
urban run-off - Storm water from city streets and adjacent domestic or commercial properties that contains litter, and organic and bacterial wastes.
urban sprawl - The physical pattern of low-density expansion of large urban areas under market conditions into the surrounding agricultural areas. Sprawl lies in advance of the principal lines of urban growth and implies little planning control of land subdivision. Development is patchy, scattered and strung out, with a tendency to discontinuity because it leap-frogs over some areas, leaving agricultural enclaves.
urban waste water treatment directive - Council Directive 91/271/EEC of 21 May 1991 concerning urban wastewater treatment. This directive concerns the collection, treatment and discharge of urban wastewater and the treatment and discharge of wastewater from certain industrial sectors.
urban wastewater - (1) The liquid wastes deriving from domestic, commercial and industrial activities of an urban settlement. (2) Urban wastewater means domestic wastewater or the mixture of domestic wastewater with industrial wastewater and/or run-off rain water.
urban water - Water destined for private and public use in a town.
urbanisation - Urbanisation is the increase in the proportion of people living in towns and cities. Urbanisation occurs because people move from rural areas (countryside) to urban areas (towns and cities). This usually occurs when a country is still developing.
user charge - Charge paid for a specific environmental service provided to the charge payer. Example: treating wastewater or disposing of waste.
user-pays principle - Variation of the polluter-pays principle that calls upon the user of a natural resource to bear the cost of running down natural capital.
utilised agriculture area - All the area of arable land, permanent meadow and pasture, and land developed to permanent crops and kitchen gardens.
V
value added tax
vegetation - 1) The plants of an area considered in general or as communities, but not taxonomically; the total plant cover in a particular area or on the Earth as a whole. 2) The total mass of plant life that occupies a given area.
vehicle-kilometre - Unit of measurement representing the movement of a vehicle over one kilometre. The distance to be considered is the distance actually run. It includes movements of empty vehicles. Units made up of a tractor and a semi-trailer or a lorry and a trailer are counted as one vehicle.
verification - The act of verifying or the state of being verified. A confirmation of truth or authority e.g. results of image processing of satellite data is verified by terrain recognoscation.
virtual library of environmental information - Just as a library contains a card catalogue and books, an electronic virtual library consists of an electronic catalogue and the information resources described in the catalogue. The information resources of the virtual library can be databases, maps and documents, available on the web or not, events, organisations, etc.
virus - Submicroscopic agents that infect plants, animals and bacteria, and are unable to reproduce outside the tissues of the host. A fully formed virus consists of nucleic acid(DNA or RNA) surrounded by a protein and lipid (fat)coat. The nucleic acid of the virus interferes with nucleicacid-synthesizing mechanism of the host cell, organizing it to produce more viral nucleic acid. Viruses cause many diseases (e.g., mosaic diseases of many cultivated plants, myxomatosis, foot and mouth disease, the common cold,influenza, measles, poliomyelitis). Many plant viruses are transmitted by insects, some by eelworms. Animal viruses are spread by contact, droplet infection or by insect vectors and some are spread by the exchange of body fluids.
vitrification - Formation of a glassy or noncrystalline material. Also a method of immobilizing waste that produces a glass-like solid that permanently captures the radioactive materials.
volatile organic compound (VOC) - Organic chemical compounds that under normal conditions are gaseous or can vaporise and enter the atmosphere. VOCs include such compounds as methane, benzene, xylene, propane and butane. Methane is primarily emitted from agriculture (from ruminants and cultivation), whereas non-methane VOCs (or NMVOCs) are mainly emitted from transportation, industrial processes and use of organic solvents. See also NMVOC.
volcanism - The processes by which magma and its associated gases rise into the crust and are extruded onto the Earth's surface and into the atmosphere.
voluntary agreement - A contract between the public administration and the industry in which the firm agrees to achieve a certain environmental objective and receives a subsidy to change its technology though R&D and innovation. The agreement is bilateral, between one firm and the administration, and requires a voluntary element on both sides.
vulnerability - The degree to which a systems is susceptible to, and unable to cope with, injury damage or harm.
W
WEEE directive - The purpose of Directive 2002/96/EC on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is, as a first priority, the prevention of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), and in addition, the reuse, recycling and other forms of recovery of such wastes so as to reduce the disposal of waste. It also seeks to improve the environmental performance of all operators involved in the life cycle of electrical and electronic equipment, e.g. producers, distributors and consumers and in particular those operators directly involved in the treatment of waste electrical and electronic equipment.
Waste incineration directive - The aim of Directive 94/67/EC on the incineration of hazardous waste is to provide for measures and procedures to prevent or, where that is not practicable, to reduce as fas as possible negative effects on the environment, in particular the pollution of air, soil, surface and groundwater, and the resulting risks to human health, from the incineration of hazardous waste and, to that end, to set up and maintain appropriate operating conditions and emission limit values for hazardous waste incineration plants within the Community.
Wastebase - An electronic database with information on waste, waste policies, planning, management and treatment in Europe. Wastebase provides inter-connecting electronic catalogues on different aspects of waste.
Waterbase - EEA water database. It contains water quality information for all kinds of water bodies. EEA is developing waterbase to help improve data comparability and provide the information relevant to the water framework directive.
West Antarctic ice sheet
Western and Central Europe
World Bank
World Business Council for Sustainable Development
World Coal Institute
World Conservation Monitoring Centre
World Glacier Monitoring Service
World Health Organization
World Heritage Convention - The Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (the World Heritage Convention) was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO in 1972. The large number of countries adhered to the convention, makes it one of the most universal international legal instruments for the protection of the cultural and natural heritage.
World Meteorological Organization
World Trade Organization
World Travel and Tourism Council
World Wildlife Fund for Nature
wait-and-see principle - A reactive method of dealing with the environment that places the burden of proof on those who would conserve. (Opposite: the precautionary principle).
warning - Dissemination of message signalling imminent hazard, which may include advice on protective measures.
waste - Materials that are not prime products (that is, products produced for the market) for which the generator has no further use in terms of his/her own purposes of production, transformation or consumption, and of which he/she wants to dispose. Wastes may be generated during the extraction of raw materials, the processing of raw materials into intermediate and final products, the consumption of final products, and other human activities. Residuals recycled or reused at the place of generation are excluded.
waste collection - The periodic or on-demand removal of solid waste from primary source locations using a collection vehicle and followed by the depositing of this waste at some central facility or disposal site.
waste disposal - Disposal means any of the applicable operations provided for in Annex IIA to Directive 91/156/EEC:D1 Tipping above or underground (e.g. landfill, etc.), D2 Land treatment (e.g. biodegradation of liquid or sludge discards in soils, etc.), D3 Deep injection (e.g. injection of pumpable discards into wells, salt domes or naturally occurring repositories, etc.), D4 Surface impoundment (e.g. placement of liquid or sludge discards into pits, ponds or lagoons, etc.), D5 Specially engineered landfill (e.g. placement into lined discrete cells which are capped and isolated from one another and the environment, etc.), D6 Release of solid waste into a water body except seas/oceans, D7 Release into seas/oceans including seabed insertion, D8 Biological treatment not specified elsewhere in this Annex which results in final compounds or mixtures which are disposed of by means of any of the operations in this Annex, D9 Physico-chemical treatment not specified elsewhere in this Annex which results in final compounds or mixtures which are disposed of by means of any of the operations in this Annex (e.g. evaporation, drying, calcination, etc.), D10 Incineration on land, D11 Incineration at sea, D12 Permanent storage (e.g. emplacement of containers in a mine, etc.), D13 Blending or mixture prior to submission to any of the operations in this Annex, D14 Repackaging prior to submission to any of the operations in this Annex, D15 Storage pending any of the operations in this Annex, excluding temporary storage, pending collection, on the site where it is produced.
waste disposal operations - Annex IIA of Directive 91/156/EEC amending Directive 75/442/EEC on waste, is intended to list disposal operations such as they occur in practice:D1 Tipping above or underground (e.g. landfill, etc.) D2 Land treatment (e.g. biodegradation of liquid or sludge discards in soils, etc.) D3 Deep injection (e.g. injection of pumpable discards into wells, salt domes or naturally occuring repositories, etc.) D4 Surface impoundment (e.g. placement of liquid or sludge discards into pits, ponds or lagoons, etc.) D5 Specially engineered landfill (e.g. placement into lined discrete cells which are capped and isolated from one another and the environment, etc.) D6 Release of solid waste into a water body except seas/oceans D7 Release into seas/oceans including seabed insertion D8 Biological treatment not specified elsewhere in this Annex which results in final compounds or mixtures which are disposed of by means of any of the operations in this Annex D9 Physico-chemical treatment not specified elsewhere in this Annex which results in final compounds or mixtures which are disposed of by means of any of the operations in this Annex (e.g. evaporation, drying, calcination, etc.) D10 Incineration on land D11 Incineration at sea D12 Permanent storage (e.g. emplacement of containers in a mine, etc.) D13 Blending or mixture prior to submission to any of the operations in this Annex D14 Repackaging prior to submission to any of the operations in this Annex D15 Storage pending any of the operations in this Annex, excluding temporary storage, pending collection, on the site where it is produced.
waste dumping - The disposal of solid wastes without environmental controls.
waste electrical and electronic equipment - Waste electrical and electronic equipment or 'WEEE' means electrical or electronic equipment which is waste within the meaning of Article 1(a) of Directive 75/442/EEC, including all components, sub-assemblies and consumables, which are part of the product at the time of discarding .Council Directive 75/442/EEC of 15 July 1975 on waste: 'waste' means any substance or object which the holder disposes of or is required to dispose of pursuant to the provisions of national law in force.
waste export - Transporting unwanted materials, including those leftover from a manufacturing processes, refuse, or trash to other countries or areas for the conduct of foreign trade.
waste generation - The weight or volume of materials and products that enter the waste stream before recycling, composting, landfilling or combustion takes place. Also can represent the amount of waste generated by a given source or category of sources.
waste management - The collection, transport, treatment and disposal of waste (including after-care of disposal sites).
waste minimisation - Measures and/or techniques that reduce the amount of wastes generated during any domestic, commercial and industrial process.
waste oil - Oil arising as a waste product of the use of oils in a wide range of industrial and commercial activities, such as engineering, power generation and vehicle maintenance and should be properly disposed of, or treated in order to be reused.
waste reclamation - Conversion of solid wastes into useful products, for example, composting organic waste to make soil conditioners, and separating aluminium and other metals for melting and recycling.
waste recovery - The process of obtaining materials or energy resources from waste.
waste recovery operation - The Annex IIB of Directive 91/156/EEC amending Directive 75/442/EEC on waste, is intended to list recovery operations as they are carried out in practice:R1 Solvent reclamation/regeneration R2 Recycling/reclamation of organic substances which are not used as solvents R3 Recycling/reclamation of metals and metal compounds R4 Recycling/reclamation of other inorganic materials R5 Regeneration of acids or bases R6 Recovery of components used for pollution abatement R7 Recovery of components from catalysts R8 Oil re-refining or other re-uses of oil R9 Use principally as a fuel or other means to generate energy R10 Spreading on land resulting in benefit to agriculture or ecological improvement, including composting and other biological transformation processes, except in the case of waste excluded under Article 2 (1) (b) (iii) R11 Use of wastes obtained from any of the operations numbered R1 - R10 R12 Exchange of wastes for submission to any of the operations numbered R1 - R11 R13 Storage of materials intended for submission to any operation in this Annex, excluding temporary storage, pending collection, on the site where it is produced.'
waste stream - The total flow of solid waste from homes, businesses, institutions and manufacturing plants that is recycled, burned, or disposed of in landfills, or segments thereof such as the 'residential waste stream' or the 'recyclable waste stream.'
waste treatment - The physical, thermal, chemical or biological processes, which change the characteristics of the waste in order to reduce its volume or hazardous nature, to facilitate its handling or to enhance recovery.
waste-to-energy scheme - Waste-to-energy scheme means incineration of waste with recovery of generated energy. Waste-to-energy schemes turn waste into steam or electricity to heat, cool, light and/or otherwise power homes and industry through the process of combustion. Just as coal, oil or natural gas is burned in boilers to generate electricity, waste is used as a fuel to generate power.
wastewater charge - Imposed fee, expense, or cost for the management of spent or used water that contains dissolved or suspended matter from a home, community farm, or industry.
wastewater treatment plant - (1) Plant where, through physical-chemical and biological processes, organic matter, bacteria, viruses and solids are removed from residential, commercial and industrial wastewaters before they are discharged in rivers, lakes and seas. (2) Installations to render wastewater, sludge, storm water or cooling water fit to meet applicable environmental standards or other quality norms for recycling or reuse.
water abstraction - Water removed from any sources, either permanently or temporarily. Mine water and drainage are included. Similar to water withdrawal.
water abstraction charge - Imposed fee, expense or cost for the abstraction of water. Water abstraction charges can take the form of nominal licence fee linked to an abstraction permit regime or they can vary depending on the quantity used.
water body - 1) Also 'waters'. Landscape features comprising any body of water, standing of flowing, including the water column, littoral zones and bed, such us the sea, lakes, river or stream, etc. 2) Any mass of water having definite hydrological, physical, chemical and biological characteristics and which can be employed for one or several purposes.
water column - The open-water environment, as distinct from the bed or shore, which may be inhabited by swimming marine or freshwater organisms.
water consumption - Water abstracted which is no longer available for use because it has evaporated, transpired, been incorporated into products and crops, consumed by man or livestock, ejected directly into sea, or otherwise removed from freshwater resources. Water losses during transport of water between the points or points of abstractions and point or points of use are excluded.
water cycle - The paths water takes through its various states - vapour, liquid, solid - as it moves throughout the ocean, atmosphere, groundwater, streams, etc.
water demand - Water demand is defined as the volume of water requested by users to satisfy their needs. In a simplified way it is often considered equal to water abstraction, although conceptually the two terms do not have the same meaning.
water demand management - Water demand management refers to the implementation of policies or measures which serve to control or influence the amount of water used.
water distribution system - The system of pipes supplying water to communities and industries.
water erosion - The breakdown of solid rock into smaller particles and its removal by water. As weathering, erosion is a natural geological process, but more rapid soil erosion results from poor land-use practices, leading to the loss of fertile topsoil and to the silting of dams, lakes, rivers and harbours. There are three classes of erosion by water: (a) splash erosion occurs when raindrops strike bare soil, causing it to splash, as mud, to flow into spaces in the soil and to turn the upper layer of soil into a structureless, compacted mass that dries with a hard, largely impermeable crust; (b) surface flow occurs when soil is removed with surface run-off during heavy rain; (c) channelised flow occurs when a flowing mixture of water and soil cuts a channel, which is then deepened by further scouring. A minor erosion channel is called a rill, a larger channel a gully.
water exploitation index - Annual total abstraction of fresh water divided by the long-term average freshwater resources.
water framework directive - Directive 2000/60/EC establishing a framework for the Community action in the field of water policy. It aims to secure the ecological, quantitative and qualitative functions of water. It requires that all impacts on water will have to be analysed and actions will have to be taken within river basin management plans.
water pollution - Presence in water of harmful and objectionable material - obtained from sewers, industrial wastes and rainwater run-off - in sufficient concentrations to make it unfit for use.
water pricing - Applying a monetary rate or value at which water can be bought or sold.
water quality - Physical, chemical, biological and organoleptic (taste-related) properties of water.
water resources - Distinction is made between renewable and non-renewable water resources. Non-renewable water resources are not replenished at all or for a very long time by nature. This includes the so-called fossil waters. Renewable water resources are rechargeable due to the hydrological cycle unless they are overexploited, comprising groundwater aquifers and surface water like rivers and lakes. Internal renewable water resources comprise the average annual flow of rivers and groundwater generated from endogenous precipitation.
water reuse - Treated wastewater can be indirectly reused when it is discharged into a watercourse, diluted and used again downstream. Direct reuse means the direct supply of treated effluent from the treatment plant to the user. It also can apply to the recharge of an aquifer.
water stress - Water stress occurs when the demand for water exceeds the available amount during a certain period or when poor quality restricts its use. Water stress causes deterioration of fresh water resources in terms of quantity (aquifer over-exploitation, dry rivers, etc.) and quality (eutrophication, organic matter pollution, saline intrusion, etc.).
water supply - Water supply refers to the share of water abstraction which is supplied to users (excluding losses in storage, conveyance and distribution).
water table - The top of the water surface in the saturated part of an aquifer.
water use - Three types of water use are distinguished: (a) withdrawal, where water is taken from a river, or surface or underground reservoir, and after use returned to a natural water body, e.g. water used for cooling in industrial processes. Such return flows are particularly important for downstream users in the case of water taken from rivers; (b) consumptive, which starts with withdrawal but in this case without any return, e.g. irrigation, steam escaping into the atmosphere, water contained in final products, i.e. it is no longer available directly for subsequent uses; (c) non-withdrawal, i.e. the in situ use of a water body for navigation (including the floating of logs by the lumber industry), fishing, recreation, effluent disposal and hydroelectric power generation.
waterborne disease - Disease that arises from infected water and is transmitted when the water is used for drinking or cooking (for example, cholera or typhoid).
waterlogged - Saturated, with the water table at or above ground level for at least half of the year.
watershed - The land area that drains into a stream; the watershed for a major river may encompass a number of smaller watersheds that ultimately combine at a common point.
watt hour
weed - Simply any plant growing where it is not wanted. In agriculture, used for a plant which has good colonising capability in a disturbed environment, and can usually compete with a cultivated species therein. Weeds are typically considered as unwanted, economically useless or pest species.
wetland - Areas that are inundated by surface or ground water with frequency sufficient to support a prevalence of vegetative or aquatic life that requires saturated or seasonally saturated soil conditions for growth or reproduction.
what if scenario - The term 'what if' is used to reflect potential effect under different assumptions.
wild relative - Plant or animal species that are taxonomically related to crop or livestock species and serve as potential sources for genes in breeding of new varieties of those crops or livestock.
wild species - Organisms captive or living in the wild that have not been subject to breeding to alter them from their native state.
wildlife - Animals and plants that grow independently of people, usually in natural conditions.
willingness to accept - The amount of compensation an individual is willing to take in exchange for giving up some good or service. This may be elicited from stated or revealed preference approaches.
willingness to pay - The amount an individual is willing to pay to acquire some good or service. This may be elicited from stated or revealed preference approaches.
wind - The motion of air relative to the earth's surface; usually means horizontal air motion, as distinguished from vertical motion.
wind energy - Energy extracted from wind, traditionally in a windmill, but increasingly by more complicated designs including turbines, usually to produce electricity but also for water pumping. The power available from wind is proportional to the area swept by the rotating place and the cube of the wind velocity, but less than half the available power can be recovered.
wind erosion - The breakdown of solid rock into smaller particles and its removal by wind. It may occur on any soil whose surface is dry, unprotected by vegetation (to bind it at root level and shelter the surface) and consists of light particles. The mechanisms include straightforward picking up of dust and soil particles by the airflow and the dislodging or abrasion of surface material by the impact of particles already airborne.
working group
world heritage site - The Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (the World Heritage Convention) was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO in 1972. It covers both cultural and natural heritage sites. 'Cultural heritage' is a monument, group of buildings or site of historical, aesthetic, archaeological, scientific, ethnological or anthropological value. 'Natural heritage' designates outstanding physical, biological, and geological features; habitats of threatened plants or animal species and areas of value on scientific or aesthetic grounds or from the point of view of conservation. More than 170 countries have adhered to the Convention.
Y
year
Z
zoning - The control of land use by only allowing land development in fixed areas or zones.
zoo - All permanent establishments where animals of wild species are kept for exhibition to the public for 7 or more days a year, with the exception of circuses, pet shops and establishments which Member States exempt from the requirements of this Directive on the grounds that they do not exhibit a significant number of animals or species to the public and that the exemption will not jeopardise the objectives of this Directive.
zoobenthos - Invertebrate animals that live in or on seabed habitats, including the intertidal zone.
zoology - The study of animals, including their classification, structure, physiology, and history.
zooplankton - Microscopic animals that float freely in the open water.
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