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Climate change, agriculture and food security

 

Glossary over Climate change, agriculture and food security

Agroforestry

A system of land use in which harvestable trees or shrubs are grown among or around crops or on pastureland in order to increase production, generate short-term income, and benefit the environment (for example, by erosion control). (Source: Murray-Darling Basin Commission, The River Glossary  )

Aquaculture

Breeding and rearing of fish, shellfish, or plants in ponds, enclosures, or other forms of confinement in fresh or marine waters for the direct harvest of the product. (Source: MA   Glossary )

Atmosphere

The mass of air surrounding the Earth.

The atmosphere consists of nitrogen (78%), oxygen (21%), and traces of other gases such as argon, helium, carbon dioxide, and ozone.

The atmosphere plays an important role in the protection of life on Earth; it absorbs ultraviolet solar radiation and reduces temperature extremes between day and night. (Source: GreenFacts)

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Biodiversity

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)

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Carbon dioxide (CO2)

A colorless, odorless, non-combustible gas, present in low concentrations in the air we breathe (about three hundredths of one percent by volume).

Carbon dioxide is produced when any substance containing carbon is burned. It is also a product of breathing and fermentation. Plants absorb carbon dioxide through photosynthesis. (Source: The Pacific Forest Trust Glossary )

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Catalyst(s)

A catalyst is substance which increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself being used up in the reaction. (Source: Science@NASA NASA neurolab Glossary  )

Climate change

The long-term fluctuations in temperature, precipitation, wind, and all other aspects of the Earth's climate.

It is also defined by the United Nations Convention on Climate Change as “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” (Source: CoRIS glossary  )

Deforestation

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

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Ecosystem processes

The physical, chemical and biological actions or events that link organisms and their environment. (Source: GreenFacts)

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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 )

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Fishery

A particular kind of fishing activity, e.g., a trawl fishery or a particular species targeted, e.g., a cod fishery or salmon fishery. (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. "
Forest

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.

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Fossil fuel(s)

A general term for buried combustible geologic deposits of organic materials, formed from decayed plants and animals that have been converted to crude oil, coal, natural gas, or heavy oils by exposure to heat and pressure in the Earth's crust over hundreds of millions of years. (Source: US EPA Glossary of Climate Change terms  )

Genes

The functional and physical unit of heredity passed from parent to offspring. Genes are pieces of DNA, and most genes contain the information for making a specific protein. (Source: NHGRI Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms  )

Genetic diversity

The variety of different types of genes in a species or population. Genetic diversity is really a form of biodiversity. (Source: NOVA Glossary  )

Genetic material

Any material of plant, animal, microbial or other origin that carries genetic information and that passes it from one generation to the next.

The information contained controls reproduction, development, behaviour, etc. (Source: GreenFacts )

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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  )

Groundwater

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

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 )

Malnutrition

A state of bad nourishment.

Malnutrition refers both to undernutrition and overnutrition, as well as to conditions arising from dietary imbalances leading to diet-related noncommunicable diseases. (Source: Millennium Ecosystem Assessment  Glossary )

Mangrove

A general name for several species of halophyte (plant that grows in soils that have a high content of various salts) belonging to different families of plants (including trees, shrubs, a palm tree and a ground fern) occurring in intertidal zones of tropical and subtropical sheltered coastlines and exceeding one half meter in height.

The term is applied to both the individual and the ecosystem, the latter of which is termed mangal. (Source: CoRIS glossary  )

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Methane

Methane is a colorless, flammable, nontoxic gas with the chemical formula CH4.

This gas is formed naturally by the decomposition of organic matter. Wetlands, livestock and energy are the main sources of methane emissions to the atmosphere, where it acts as a greenhouse gas.

Methane is also a major component of natural gas. It is mainly extracted from geological deposits for fuel and industrial uses (Source: GreenFacts )

Nitrous oxide

Nitrous oxide is a colourless non-flammable gas with the chemical formula N2O.

This gas is naturally emitted by bacteria. The livestock sector and industry are the main anthropogenic sources of nitrous oxide emissions.

When released into the atmosphere it acts as a powerful greenhouse gas. (Source: GreenFacts)

Organic arsenic compounds

Arsenic compounds containing carbon. They are mainly found in sea-living organisms, although some of these compounds have also been found in species living on land. (Source: GreenFacts)

Poverty

The pronounced deprivation of well-being.

Income poverty refers to a particular formulation expressed solely in terms of per capita or household income. (Source: Millennium Ecosystem Assessment  Glossary )

Resilience

Refers to the amount of disturbance or stress that an ecosystem can absorb and still remain capable of returning to its pre- disturbance state. (Source: GreenFacts, based on Millennium Ecosystem Assessment  Glossary )

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Species

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  )

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Squid

Soft-bodied saltwater mollusk with two long tentacles for catching food, eight or more shorter arms, and a streamlined body adapted for swimming quickly through open water.

Squids are cephalopods. They are related to octopuses and cuttlefishes. They may emit a cloud of inky material from their ink sac when in danger.

Squid is a popular seafood meal, especially in East Asia and in the Mediterranean area.

Examples of squid varieties include short-finned or Illex squid and long-finned or Loligo squid. (Source: GreenFacts )

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Stakeholder

Individuals or groups that are affected by a decision and have an interest in its outcome. (Source: TDM Encyclopedia Glossary   )

Sustainability

A characteristic or state whereby the needs of the present and local population can be met without compromising the ability of future generations or populations in other locations to meet their needs.

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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.

GESAMP's UN sponsors: IMO, FAO, UNESCO-IOC, WMO, IAEA, UN, UNEP, UNIDO, UNDP.GESAMP

Source: (Source: www.gesamp.org/about  )

Vulnerability (in health science)

The likelihood of being unusually severely affected by a substance either as a result of susceptibility to the effects of these substances or as a result of a greater than average [exposure]. (Source: WHO Europe  Answers to follow-up questions from CAFE )


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