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Glossary


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


S

Salinisation

 

Increase in the amount of salts or dissolved solids in the water or the process by which salts accumulate in soils, to the detriment of cultivated plants.

 
Salinity

 

The measurement of salt in soil or water.

 
Savanna

 

The tropical grassland biome.

 
Scrub

 

Degraded forest lands having canopy density less than 10%.

 
Sediment

 

Solid material that originates mostly from disintegrated rocks and is transported by, suspended in or deposited from water.

 
Socio-economic environment

 

The part of the environment that is linked to human activities (e.g. social, economic, cultural and political processes). Themes that form part of the socio-economic environment are: the economy, health, education, safety and security, and environmental governance.

 
Soil acidification

 

A naturally occurring process in humid climates that has long been the subject of research, whose findings suggest that acid precipitation affects the productivity of terrestrial plants. The process is summarized as follows: as soil becomes more acidic basic cations (such as Ca2+, Mg2+) in the soil are exchanged by hydrogen ions or solubilized metals. The basic cations, 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 populations of soil micro-organisms, which, in turn, slows decomposition of plant residues and cycling of essential plant. nutrients

 
Soil erosion

 

The loss of soil through the washing, wearing and falling away of the soil.

 
Soil moisture

 

Water stored in or at the land surface and available for evapotranspiration. .

 
Solid waste

 

Any solid, semi solid, liquid or contained gaseous materials discarded from industrial, commercial mining or agricultural operations and from community activities. Solid waste includes garbage, construction debris, commercial refuse, sludge from water supply or waste treatment plants or air pollution control facilities and other discarded materials.

 
Species

 

An interbreeding group of organisms that is reproductively isolated from all other organisms, although there are many partial exceptions to this rule in particular taxa. Operationally, the term species is a generally agreed fundamental taxonomic unit, based on morphological or genetic similarity that once described and accepted is associated with a unique scientific name.

 
Species diversity

 

Biodiversity at the species level, often combining aspects of species richness, their relative abundance and their dissimilarity.

 
Species richness

 

The number of species present in a community.

 
Stakeholders

 

People and organisations that are involved or interested in an area or an issue, e.g. residents, councillors, business people, trade unions.

 
Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)

 

The administrative or regulatory process of evaluating the environmental impacts of a policy, plan or programme and its alternatives.

 
Sub-alpine

 

The biogeographic zone below the tree line and above the montane zone that is characterised by the presence of coniferous forest and trees.

 
Surface water

 

Water above the ground surface in lakes, dams, rivers and pans.

 
Sustainability

 

Being able to meet the needs of present and future generations by the responsible use of resources.

 
Sustainable agriculture

 

Environmentally friendly methods of farming that allow the production of crops or livestock without damage to the farm as an ecosystem, including effects on soil, water supplies, biodiversity or other surrounding natural resources.

 
Sustainable development

 

Development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

 
Sustainable tourism

 

A form of tourism that meets the needs of current tourists and host communities while protecting and enhancing tourism for the future by balancing economic and social needs with a respect for different cultures and the environment. See also ecotourism.