Glossary of terms related to the CBD

abiotic
non-living; devoid of life.
accession
a sample of a crop variety collected at a specific location and time; may be of any size. [GBA]
accident (accidental)
any incident involving a significant and unintended release of genetically modified microorganisms in the course of their contained use which could present an immediate or delayed hazard to human heath and the environment. [Council Directive 90/219/EEC on the contained use of genetically modified microorganisms]
accidental release
the unintentional discharge of a microbiological agent (i.e., microorganism or virus) or eukaryotic cell due to a failure in the containment system. [Proposed Action under the Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules (51 Federal Register 16958) National Institute of Health 55 FR 53258]
adaptation
a genetically determined characteristic that enhances the ability of an organism to cope with its environment.
adaptation traits
complex of traits related to reproduction and survival of the individual in a particular production environment. Adaptation traits contribute to individual fitness and to the evolution of animal genetic resources. By definition, these traits are also important to the ability of the animal genetic resource to be sustained in the production environment [FAO]
adaptive radiation
evolutionary diversification of species derived from a common ancestor into a variety of ecological roles.
Addis Ababa Principles and Guidelines
The Addis Ababa Principles and Guidelines for the Sustainable use of Biodiversity were adopted at COP-7 (CBD Decision VII/12). They consist of fourteen interdependent practical principles, operational guidelines and a few instruments for their implementation that govern the uses of components of biodiversity to ensure the sustainability of such uses. The principles provide a framework to assist Governments, resource managers, indigenous and local communities, the private sector and other stakeholders on how to ensure that their use of the components of biodiversity will not lead to the long-term decline of biological diversity. The Addis Ababa Principles and Guidelines are available on the website of the CBD at the following URL: http://www.biodiv.org/doc/publications/addis-gdl-en.pdf
adaptive zone
a particular type of environment requiring unique adaptations then allowing adaptive radiation to occur.
advanced informed agreement
advanced informed agreement refers to the principle that international exchange of transgenic plants and microorganisms that could adversely affect plants should not proceed without the informed agreement of, or contrary to the decision of, the competent authority in the recipient country. (See also prior informed consent.) [BSWG/2/5: FAO Draft International Code of Conduct for Plant Biotechnology as it Affects the Conservation and Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources]
Agenda 21 from the UN Conference on Environment and Development
Agenda 21 is the framework for activity into the 21st century addressing the combined issues of environment protections and fair and equitable development for all. Agenda 21 provides a specific framework for many aspects of the UNEP programme. The agenda comprises 40 chapters each addressing specific aspects of these issues. See also: UNCED Rio Earth Summit.
agricultural biodiversity
see: domestic biodiversity.
agrobiodiversity or agricultural biological diversity
that component of biodiversity that contributes to food and agriculture production. The term agrobiodiversity encompasses within-species, species and ecosystem diversity. [FAO]
agrobiotechnology
the research on and development of agricultural products such as crop varieties and crop protection products by modifying genes to confer desirable properties such as pest resistance or improved nutritional profiles. [CUB]
agroecology
the use of ecological concepts and principles to study, design, and manage agricultural systems. Agroecology seeks to evaluate the full effect of system inputs and outputs by integrating cultural and environmental factors into the analysis of food production systems and to use this knowledge to improve these systems, taking into account the needs of both the ecosystem as a whole and the people within it. [GBA]
agroforestry
a collective name for land-use systems and technologies where woody perennials (tree, shrubs, palms, bamboos, etc.) are deliberately used on the same land management unit as agricultural crops and/or animals, either in some form of spatial arrangement or temporal sequence. [GBA]
Akw: Kon guidelines
The Akw: Kon voluntary guidelines for the conduct of cultural, environmental and social impact assessments regarding developments proposed to take place on, or which are likely to impact on, sacred sites and on lands and waters traditionally occupied or used by indigenous and local communities were adopted at COP-7 (CBD Decision VII/16 F.) among a series of decisions pertaining to the programme of work on Article 8(j) and related provisions (respect, preservation and maintenance of knowledge, innovation and practices of indigenous and local communities). The Akw: Kon guidelines are available on the website of the CBD at the following URL http://www.biodiv.org/doc/publications/akwe-brochure-en.pdf

The Akw: Kon guidelines are named with a Mohawk term meaning "everything in creation", They provide a collaborative framework ensuring the full involvement of indigenous and local communities in the assessment of cultural, environmental and social impact of proposed developments on sacred sites and on lands and waters they have traditionally occupied. Moreover, guidance is provided on how to take into account traditional knowledge, innovations and practices as part of the impact-assessment processes and promote the use of appropriate technologies.
algal symbiont
see  zooxanthellae.
alien species
- a species that has been transported by human activities, intentional or accidental, into a region where it does not naturally occur. (Also known as an exotic, introduced, nonindigenous, or nonnative 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 known as an exotic or introduced species.) [GBA]
allele
- one of several alternatives of a gene.
- any of the different versions of a gene occupying a particular locus (place) on a chromosome.
- one of two or more forms of a gene arising by mutation and occupying the same relative position (locus) on homologous chromosomes. [CUB]
Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS)
the Alliance of Small Island States is a coalition of 42 (as of May 2000) low-lying and small island countries, most of which are members of the G-77, that are particularly vulnerable to sea-level rise. The AOSIS countries are united by the threat that climate change poses to their survival, and frequently adopt a common stance in negotiations.
allopatric
occupying different geographical ranges. (Opp.: sympatric.)
allopatric speciation
speciation through geographically separated populations.
anadromous
the annual migratory behavior of adult fish -such as salmon and lamprey- from the ocean into freshwater rivers and lakes in order to spawn.
animal genetic resources databank
a databank that contains inventories of farm animal genetic resources and their immediate wild relatives, including any information that helps to characterize these resources. [FAO]
animal genome (gene) bank
a planned and managed repository containing animal genetic resources. Repositories include the environment in which the genetic resource has developed, or is now normally found (in situ) or facilities elsewhere (ex situ - in vivo or in vitro). For in vitro, ex situ genome bank facilities, germplasm is stored in the form of one or more of the following: semen, ova, embryos and tissue samples. [FAO]
anoxia
the absence of oxygen in water and sediments.
antibiotic
an antimicrobial compound produced by living micro-organisms, used therapeutically or sometimes prophylactically in the control of infectious diseases. Over 4,000 antibiotics have been isolated, but only about 50 have achieved wide use. [CUB]
aquaculture
breeding and rearing fish, shellfish, etc., or growing plants for food in special ponds. [GBA]
aromatherapy
the therapeutic use of pure essential oils and other substances obtained from flowers, plants, and aromatic shrubs, through inhalation and application to the skin. Generally based on traditional practices from around the world. [CUB]
artificial insemination
a breeding technique, most commonly used in domestic animals and sometimes in captive breeding of wild animals, in which semen is introduced into the female reproductive tract by artificial means. [GBA]
artificial selection
selective breeding, carried out by humans, to produce a desired evolutionary response.
asexual reproduction
reproduction of a plant or animal without fusion of male and female gametes. It includes vegetative propagation, cell and tissue culture. [CUB]
assets
goods that provide a flow of services over time.
assay
a technique that measures a biological response; the determination of the activity or concentration of a chemical. (See bioassay.)  [CUB]
Ayurveda
a philosophy and healing system developed over thousands of years in India, in which patients are characterized by the elements of earth, water, fire, air, and ether. Employs botanical preparations, usually combinations of a number of herbs. [CUB]

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

Back to GLOSSARY title page (Convention on Biological Diversity)

Home > Glossary > A

Last updated  08-07-2005 .


Belgian Clearing-House Mechanism, 2001.
On the Internet since 7 October 1996.
Contact us

Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences