- 'Earth Summit', Rio de Janeiro
- Popularly known as the 'Earth Summit', the United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development (UNCED) held
on 3-14 June 1992, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, marked the twentieth anniversary of the
United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm, Sweden, in
1972. Virtually every country in the world was represented (178) and more
than 100 heads of state attended.
The participating world leaders signed five major instruments: The Rio Declaration (a statement
of principles); Agenda 21 (a framework for activity into the 21st century
addressing the combined issues of environment protections and fair and
equitable development for all, and includes the creation of a new Commission for
Sustainable Development); a Framework Convention on Climate Change; a Framework Convention on
Biological Diversity; and a Statement of Principles on Forests.
- ecological economics
- a branch of economics that takes account of ecological principles and examines economic values of
non-market ecological products and services.
- ecological or ecosystem resilience
- ecological resilience can be defined in two ways. The first is a measure
of the magnitude of disturbance that can be absorbed before the (eco)system
changes its structure by changing the variables and processes that control
behaviour. The second, a more traditional meaning, is as a measure of
resistance to disturbance and the speed of return to the equilibrium state
of an ecosystem. [GBA]
- ecological or ecosystem services
- ecological or ecosystem processes or functions which have value to
individuals or to society. [JVG]
- the scientific study of the interactions of living organisms and their environment.
- - a dynamic complex of plant, animal, fungal, and micro-organism
communities and their associated non-living environment interacting as a
functional unit; the organisms living in a given environment, such as a
tropical forest, a coral reef or a lake, and the physical part of the
environment that impinges on them. [GBA modified by JVG]
- a complex of organisms and their environment, interacting as a defined
ecological unit (natural or modified by human activity, e.g. agroecosystem),
irrespective of political boundaries. [FAO bis]
- a community of organisms in their physical environment.
- ecosystem diversity
- the diversity among biological communities and their physical settings,
characterised by differences in species composition, physical structure,
and function. It is the highest level of biological diversity.
- ecosystem rehabilitation
- the recovery of specific ecosystem services in a degraded ecosystem or
- ecosystem restoration
- the return of an ecosystem to its original community structure, natural
complement of species, and natural functions.
- travel undertaken to witness sites or regions of unique natural or
ecologic quality, or the provision of services to facilitate such travel.
- edge effect
- processes that characterize habitat fragmentation and the concomitant
creation of edges.
- El Niño event
- a regional or global oceanic-atmospheric perturbation whose
manifestations range from increased sea surface temperatures in the
tropical East Pacific to aberrant rainfall patterns.
- advanced germplasm in a breeding or crop improvement programme. [CUB]
- endangered breed
- a breed where the total number of breeding females is between 100 and
1,000 or the total number of breeding males is less than or equal to 20
and greater than five; or the overall population size is close to, but
slightly above 100 and increasing and the percentage of pure-bred females
is above 80 percent; or the overall population size is close to, but
slightly above 1,000 and decreasing and the percentage of pure-bred
females is below 80 percent. [FAO]
- endangered-maintained breed
- categories where critical or endangered breeds are being maintained by
an active public conservation programme or within a commercial or research
- native to and restricted to a specific geographic area.
- entry into force
- protocols and any amendments to them are not binding in international
law until they have been ratified by an agreed number of countries. In the
case of the CBD, ratification by 30 countries was needed for the treaty to
enter into force. The CBD entered into force for the first 30 Parties on
29 December 1993. It enters into force for other Parties 90 days after
each ratifies. [CUB]
- environmental impact assessment (EIA)
- process by which the consequences of proposed projects or programs are
evaluated as an integral part of planning the project, alternatives are
analysed, and the general public has ample opportunity to comment.
- a protein which catalyses the conversion of a substrate to a product.
Other than a few well-established enzymes such as papein and trypsin, most
enzyme names can be recognised by the suffix -ase, e.g. cellulase,
protease, etc. [CUB]
- referring to the top 200 meters of the ocean, seas and lakes.
- equilibrium theory
- theory that suggests that under natural circumstances, species addition
and loss are balanced, and furthermore, that displacement from the
equilibrium value results in changes in speciation or extinction rate that
tend to restore the system to its equilibrium state. [GBA]
- application of phytosanitary [and other] measures to eliminate a pest
from an area [FAO bis]
- perpetuation, for the foreseeable future of a pest, or a biological
agent, within an area after entry [FAO bis]
- an ecosystem in which a river or stream meets ocean waters; characterised by intermediate or variable salinity levels and often by high productivity.
- ethical values
- statements of ethical principle that inform the private and social
valuation of biological resources. [GBA]
- study of the way plants, animals and micro-organisms are used by humans.
- an organism whose DNA is enclosed in nuclear membranes. The vast
majority of species (plants, animals, protista,...) are eukaryotic. (Opp.:
- Europian Union
- as a regional economic integration organisation, the European Union can
be and is a Party to the Convention. However it does not have a separate
vote from its members.
Under the CBD process, the 15 members (1995) of the European Union meet in private
to agree on common positions for the negotiations. The country that holds the EU Presidency -a position that rotates every six months- then speaks
for the group as a whole. Individual member states are allowed to make
statements emphasising their specific points of view and priorities as
long as they are not contradictory with the EU common position.
- - nutrient enrichment, typically in the form of nitrates and phosphates,
often from human sources such as agriculture, sewage, and urban runoff.
- - process by which a lake, a river, part of a sea, etc. is enriched with
nitrates, phosphates and other nutrients which favour the growth of algae and
often kill other organisms by lack of oxygen. [JVG]
- measurement of the characteristics that are important for production and
adaptation, either of individual animals or of populations, most commonly
in the context of comparative evaluation of the traits of animals or of
- out of the original location. In conservation, often in a laboratory,
collection, botanical garden, zoo, or aquarium. (Opposite: in-situ)
- ex-situ conservation
- - the conservation of components of biological diversity outside their
natural habitats. [CBD]
- - keeping components of biodiversity alive away from their original
habitat or natural environment. [GBA]
- ex situ conservation of farm animal genetic diversity
- all conservation of genetic material in vivo, but out of the
environment in which it developed, and in vitro including, inter
alia, the cryoconservation of semen, oocytes, embryos, cells or
tissues. Note that ex situ conservation and ex situ preservation
are considered here to be synonymous. [FAO]
- exclusive economic zone
- that part of the marine realm seaward of territorial waters within which nations have exclusive fishing rights.
- existence value
- the value of knowing that a particular species, habitat or ecosystem
does and will continue to exist. It is independent of any use that the
valuer may make of the resource. [GBA]
- (1) not native to a given area; either intentionally transplanted from
another region or introduced accidentally.
(2) in plant breeding, it refers to plants types that are from outside a
breeding region or exhibit traits that are uncommon to the prevalent crop
plant type. [CUB]
- exotic species
- see: alien species.
- still living at the present time. (Opposite: extinct)
- external costs/externalities
- external costs/benefits exist when an activity by one person causes a
gain/loss of welfare to another person that is uncompensated within the
- no longer surviving. (Opposite: extant)
- extinct breed
- a breed where it is no longer possible to recreate the breed population.
Extinction is absolute when there are no breeding males (semen), breeding
females (oocytes), nor embryos remaining. [FAO]
- the death of any lineages of organisms. Extinction can be local, (when
it is known as extirpation) in which one population of a given species
vanishes while others survive elsewhere, or total, in which all its
populations vanish. [GBA]
- extractive reserve
- forest area for which use rights are granted by governments to residents
whose livelihoods customarily depend on extracting forest products from
the specified area.
- extreme environments
- environments characterised by extremes in growth conditions, including
temperature, salinity, pH, and water availability, among others. [CUB]
- a micro-organism whose optimum growth is under extreme conditions of
temperature, etc. [CUB]
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(Convention on Biological Diversity)
© Belgian Clearing-House Mechanism, 2001.
On the Internet since 7 October 1996.