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Global Food Wastage – Causes and impact on natural resources


Glossary over Global Food Wastage – Causes and impact on natural resources


Biodiversity is a contraction of biological diversity. Biodiversity reflects the number, variety and variability of living organisms.

It includes diversity within species (genetic diversity), between species (species diversity), and between ecosystems (ecosystem diversity). (Source: GreenFacts)



The conversion of forested land to non-forested land as a direct result of human activities. (Source: Forest Carbon Accounting Definitions  )


Degradation of ecosystems

A persistent reduction in the capacity to provide ecosystem services. (Source: MA  Glossary )



The variety and relative abundance of different entities in a sample. (Source: MA  Glossary )

Dryland systems

Dryland systems are ecosystems characterised by a lack of water. They include cultivated lands, scrublands, shrublands, grasslands, savannas, semi-deserts and true deserts.

The lack of water constrains the production of crops, forage, wood, and other ecosystem services.

Four dryland subtypes are widely recognized: dry sub-humid, semiarid, arid, and hyperarid, showing an increasing level of aridity or moisture deficit. (Source: GreenFacts based on Millennium Ecosystem Assessment  Glossary )



The complex system of plant, animal, fungal, and microorganism communities and their associated non-living environment interacting as an ecological unit.

Ecosystems have no fixed boundaries; instead their parameters are set to the scientific, management, or policy question being examined. Depending upon the purpose of analysis, a single lake, a watershed, or an entire region could be considered an ecosystem. (Source: US EPA Glossary of Climate Change Terms   )

Fish stock

The population or [total mass] of a fishery resource. Such stocks are usually identified by their location. They can be, but are not always, genetically discrete from other stocks. (Source: MA  Glossary )


Food & Agriculture Organization

"The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Serving both developed and developing countries, FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and debate policy. FAO is also a source of knowledge and information. We help developing countries and countries in transition modernize and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices and ensure good nutrition for all. Since our founding in 1945, we have focused special attention on developing rural areas, home to 70 percent of the world's poor and hungry people. FAO's activities comprise four main areas:

  • Putting information within reach
  • Sharing policy expertise.
  • Providing a meeting place for nations.
  • Bringing knowledge to the field. "
Food web

The interconnected food chains (feeding relationships) in an ecosystem. Plants, herbivores, and carnivores all form parts of the food web. (Source: GreenFacts)



The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) defines “forest” as a portion of land bigger than half a hectare (5 000m2) with trees higher than 5 meters and a tree canopy cover of more than 10 %, or with trees that will be able to meet these criteria.

It does not include land that is predominantly under agricultural or urban land use.



Water that is not salty, for instance water found in lakes, streams, and rivers, but not the ocean. Also used to refer to things living in or related to freshwater (e.g., "freshwater fish"). (Source: GreenFacts)


Global scale

The geographical realm encompassing all of Earth. (Source: MA  Glossary )

Greenhouse gas

Greenhouse gases are those gaseous constituents of the atmosphere, both natural and anthropogenic, that absorb and emit radiation at specific wavelengths within the spectrum of infrared radiation emitted by the Earth’s surface, the atmosphere and clouds.

This property causes the greenhouse effect.

Water vapour (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), methane (CH4), and ozone (O3) are the primary greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere. Moreover there are a number of entirely human-made greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as the halocarbons and other chlorine and bromine containing substances, dealt with under the Montreal Protocol. Beside CO2, N2O and CH4, the Kyoto Protocol deals with the greenhouse gases sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and perfluorocarbons (PFCs). (Source: IPCC Glossary  )


Water beneath the Earth's surface in the spaces between soil particles and between rock surfaces. (Source: ATSDR Glossary of Terms  )


The location and environmental conditions in which a particular organism normally lives. (Source: MA  Glossary )

Land use

The human use of a piece of land for a certain purpose (such as irrigated agriculture or recreation). Influenced by, but not synonymous with, land cover. (Source: MA  Glossary )


An essential structural component of living cells, lipids are a class of oily organic compounds which are insoluble in water but soluble in fats and oils. The lipid class of molecules mainly consists of fats, oils and waxes. (Source: GreenFacts)


Production / Productivity

Production is the process of creating, growing, manufacturing, or improving goods and services. It also refers to the quantity produced.

In economics, productivity is used to measure the efficiency or rate of production. It is the amount of output (e.g. number of goods produced) per unit of input (e.g. labor, equipment, and capital).

In biology, productivity is a measure of the efficiency with which a biological system converts energy into growth. (Source: GreenFacts)


A large molecule composed of one or more chains of amino acids in a specific order, formed according to genetic information.



A group of organisms that differ from all other groups of organisms and that are capable of breeding and producing fertile offspring. This is the smallest unit of classification for plants and animals. (Source: OceanLink Glossary of Common Terms and Definitions in Marine Biology  )


The Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection

The Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP) is an advisory body, established in 1969, that advises the United Nations (UN) system on the scientific aspects of marine environmental protection.

At present GESAMP is jointly sponsored by nine UN organizations with responsibilities relating to the marine environment, and they utilize GESAMP as a mechanism for coordination and collaboration among them. GESAMP functions are to conduct and support marine environmental assessments, to undertake in-depth studies, analyses, and reviews of specific topics, and to identify emerging issues regarding the state of the marine environment. GESAMP itself today consists of 16 experts, drawn from a wide range of relevant disciplines, who act in an independent and individual capacity. Studies and assessments are usually carried out by dedicated working groups, most of whose members are not sitting members of GESAMP but part of the broader GESAMP network.


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Trophic level

A trophic level of an organism is its position in a food chain.

Levels are numbered according to how far particular organisms are along the chain from the primary producers [plants] at level 1, to herbivores (level 2), to predators (level 3), to carnivores or top carnivores (level 4 or 5).

Fish at higher trophic levels are typically of higher economic value. (Source: Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Figure 1.3. Decline in Trophic Level of Fisheries Catch Since 1950 )



Defined by Webster to be the quality of a thing according to which it is thought of as being more or less desirable, useful, estimable or important.

Using this definition the value of an ecosystem might be defined in terms of its beauty, its uniqueness, its irreplacability, its contribution to life support functions or commercial or recreational opportunities, or its role in supporting wildlife or reducing environmental or human health risks, or providing many other services that benefit humans. (Source: Ecosystem Valuation Definition of Terms  )


Vulnerability (in ecosystems)

Exposure to contingencies and stress, and the difficulty in coping with them. (Source: Millennium Ecosystem Assessment  Glossary )


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