Glossary

FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

A-B

Abundance
The degree and frequency of a species population, often indicative of the success it is experiencing in the wild.

Achieving Condition (Habitat Target)
To maintain or improve condition within the existing resource. Aim: to maintain the condition (where it is good), and improve the condition (where it is poor) of existing BAP habitat resource, compared to the baseline i.e. the amount of the resource in good condition at the plan publication or currently, whichever is greater. The target value is the sum of the area that is already considered to be in favourable condition and the area proposed to be in favourable condition following appropriate conservation action. (source UKBAP)

Amenity grassland
Grassland that improves the quality of an area by contributing to the physical or material comfort of users (as places to picnic, walk, engage in leisure pursuits etc), and which increases the attractiveness or value of its geographic location.

Arboricultural
The planting and care of woody plants, especially trees.

Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
There are 41 AONBs in England and Wales (36 wholly in England, 4 wholly in Wales and 1 which straddles the border). Created by the legislation of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act of 1949, AONBs represent 18% of the finest countryside in England and Wales. The care of AONB is the responsibility of the local authorities, organisations, community groups and individuals who live and work within them or who value them. An AONB is designated for the high quality of its flora, fauna, historical and cultural associations, or scenic views. The Countryside and Rights of Way Act, 2000 added further regulation and protection to AONBs.

Attrition
A rubbing away or wearing down by friction.

Baseline
A measurement, calculation, or location used as a basis for comparison in science.

Basin
A region drained by a single river system.

Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, 1979
The Bern Convention - was adopted on September 1979 in Bern (Switzerland) and came into force on 1 June 1982. It now has 45, including the European Community, Monaco and four African States. The Convention aims to conserve wild flora and fauna and their natural habitats; to promote co-operation between states; and to give particular emphasis to endangered and vulnerable species, including endangered and vulnerable migratory species.

Biodiversity
The diversity, or variety, of plants, animals and other living things in a particular area or region. It encompasses habitat diversity, species diversity and genetic diversity. Biodiversity is of value in its own right and has social and economic value for human society.

Biodiversity Action Plan
A plan that sets objectives and actions for the conservation of biodiversity, with measurable targets.

Bioremediation
The use of biological agents, such as bacteria or plants, to remove or neutralise contaminants, as in polluted soil or water.

Birds Directive
See Natura 2000

Bonn Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, 1979
The objective of the Bonn Convention is the conservation of migratory species worldwide, which is based on the recognition that wild animals require protection because of their importance from a wide range of viewpoints; environmental, ecological, genetic, scientific, aesthetic, recreational, cultural, educational, social and economic. The Bonn Convention's objective is to develop international co-operation with a view to the conservation of migratory species of wild animals.

Brownfield
Any land or premises which has previously been used or developed and is not currently in full use, although it may be partially occupied or utilised. The land may also be vacant, derelict or contaminated. This excludes parks, recreation grounds, allotments and land where the remains of previous use have blended into the landscape, or have been overtaken by nature conservation value or amenity use and cannot be regarded as requiring redevelopment.

Source: Definitions taken from Connecting with London's Nature, The Mayor's Biodiversity Strategy 2002; and Lincoln, R. J et. Al (1982). A dictionary of ecology, evolution and systematics. Cambridge University Press.

C-E

Census
An official, usually periodic enumeration of a population, often including the collection of related demographic information.

Channelisation
Creation of a trench, furrow or groove through which water flows (eroded by the water or man-made) which becomes the new bed of a stream or river.

Colonisation
Successful invasion of a new habitat by a species, the occupation of bare ground by soil by seedlings or sporelings.

Colony
A group of the same kind of animals, plants, or one-celled organisms living or growing together.

Conservation
Protection, management and promotion for the benefit of wild species and habitats, as well as the human communities that use and enjoy them.

Conservation (Natural Habitats &c.) Regulations, 1994
The Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994 transpose the Habitats Directive into domestic legislation. They apply to England, Wales and Scotland and their territorial seas up to 12 nautical miles from baseline. Northern Ireland has its own Regulations with the same coverage of territorial sea.

Coppice
To cut back (as young timber) so as to produce shoots from stools or roots.

Countryside and Rights of Way Act, 2000 (CRoW)
The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (also known as CRoW) amended the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981. It created a new statutory right of access to open country and registered common land, modernised the rights of way system, gave greater protection to Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), provided better management arrangements for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), and strengthened wildlife enforcement legislation.

Countryside Stewardship Scheme
A Government funded agri-environment scheme that focused on promoting environmental awareness and good practice with farmers. As of 2005, this scheme is now replaced by the Environmental Stewardship.

Create (Kent BAP target definition)
The term is given to an area of UK BAP priority habitat to be established where it is not currently present and where no significant remnants of that BAP habitat exist. This leads to an expansion of the extent of the BAP habitat. For example, the conversion of agricultural land to BAP habitat, the planting of grassland with trees to link existing fragments of woodland or the removal of established woodland and subsequent planting for conversion to heathland.
Note: 1) The area of habitat successfully created in one time period (e.g. 2004-2010) then requires maintaining in the subsequent time period (between 2011-2020 or 2020-2026). 2) Create figures are based on an educated guess of the potential for habitat restoration. 3) Targets set to create habitat are independent of previous or subsequent targeting periods (Source KBP2004).

Deciduous
Shedding or losing foliage at the end of the growing season.

Distribution
The geographical range of a taxon or group; the pattern or arrangement of the members of a population or group.

Dredging
The removal of material from the bottom of a water body.

Ecosystem
A community of organisms and their physical environment interacting as an ecological unit.

Enhance (Old Kent BAP target definition)
The term given to an area of UK BAP priority habitat meeting the BAP criteria for qualifying as the habitat type however work is still required to bring this habitat into a management regime (SSSI/County Wildlife Site/non-designated site/other) whereby objectives set to improve quality and/or extent can be met. For example, the process of identifying habitats suitable for management, defining and introducing management objectives and setting these up so that the quality and/or extent can be improved, i.e. developing and introducing management objectives for the removal of scrub from calcareous grassland (Source KBP2004).

Environmental Stewardship
Is split into Entry Level Scheme (ELS), with whole farm payments per hectare and for which most farms should be eligible, and a revised Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS) as a 'top tier' for actions above the ELS, such as management of species-rich grassland. This new version of the CSS will be called the Higher Level Scheme (HLS). Farms will be able to enter the ELS without participation in the HLS, but not vice versa.

Erosion
Weathering away, the removal of land surface by water, ice, wind or other agents.

Eutrophication
Over enrichment of a water body with nutrients, resulting in excessive growth of organisms and reduction in oxygen.

Expansion of Habitat (Habitat Target)
To increase the extent of the resource. The aim is to extablish BAP habitat on land where it is not present and where no significant relicts of BAP habitats currently exist. (Source UKBAP)

Source: Definitions taken from Connecting with London's Nature, The Mayor's Biodiversity Strategy 2002; and Lincoln, R. J et. Al (1982). A dictionary of ecology, evolution and systematics. Cambridge University Press.

F-M

Fauna
Animal life.

Feral
Used to describe a plant or animal that has reverted to the wild from a state of cultivation or domestication.

Flagship species
A species perceived favourably by the public for reasons of aesthetics or other value, used to promote and publicise nature conservation.

Flood defence realignment
A strategy for coping with encroaching waters, particularly in reference to coastal areas affected by sea level rise, whereby waters are permitted to reposition often through the reclamation of previously drained land.

Flora
Plant life.

Green corridors
Green corridors are relatively continuous areas of open space leading through the built environment, which may link sites to each other and to the Green Belt or Metropolitan Open Land. They often consist of railway embankments and cuttings, roadside verges, canals, parks and playing fields and rivers. They may allow animals and plants to be found further into the built-up area than would otherwise be the case.

Habitats
The area or environment where an organism or ecological community normally lives or occurs.

Habitats Directive
See Natura 2000.

Hibernation
The torpid or resting state in which some animals pass the winter, cessation from or slowing of activity during the winter, especially slowing of metabolism in some animals.

Invertebrate
An animal, such as an insect or mollusc that lacks a backbone or spinal column.

Larvae
The newly hatched, wingless, often worm-like form of many insects before metamorphosis.

Linear reedbeds
Reedbeds that are narrow and elongated with nearly parallel margins, often the surviving remnants of previously more widespread habitat.

Local Nature Reserves (LNR)
Nature reserves designated by local authorities under the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act.

Local Wildlife Sites
Sites chosen to represent the best wildlife habitats in the county, may also referred to as Sites of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCIs).

Maintain Extent (Habitat Target)
No reduction in the area of the habitat that qualifies as the BAP type, based on estimate at the time of plan publication, or the current estimate, whichever greater. Maintain entails securing the ecological function of the habitat, and this may involve some change of the habitat distribution over time (e.g. a dynamic coast, or due to climate change). Hence for certain habitats a maintenance target can be met without every occurance of the habitat being retained provided there is no net loss and its overall integrity is sustained. (source UKBAP)

Marginal habitats
Habitats located at, or constituting, a margin, border or edge.

Marginal plant
A plant species that occurs on the edge of habitat or community.

Metamorphosis
A stage in the life cycle of certain animals during which time larva transforms into an adult. Examples are the changes from a tadpole to a frog, or from a caterpillar to a butterfly.

Mitigation
Any process or activity designed to avoid, reduce or remedy adverse environmental impacts likely to be caused by a development project. Mitigating factors are taken into account as a benefit on balance to offset against any perceived or demonstrable harmful impact.

Monitoring
To keep track systematically with a view to collect information: monitor the bear population of a national park. To test or sample, especially on a regular or ongoing basis.

Source: Definitions taken from Connecting with London's Nature, The Mayor's Biodiversity Strategy 2002; and Lincoln, R. J et. Al (1982). A dictionary of ecology, evolution and systematics. Cambridge University Press.

N-R

National Nature Reserves
Nature reserves designated by English Nature under the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act.

Native
Originating, growing, or produced in a certain place or region; indigenous.

Natura 2000
Natura 2000 is the European Union-wide network of nature conservation sites established under the 1992 Council Directive on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (92/43/EEC) -'The EC Habitats Directive'. Natura 2000 comprises Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) designated under that Directive, and Special Protection Areas (SPAs) classified under the 1979 Council Directive on the conservation of wild birds (79/409/EEC) -'The EC Wild Birds Directive'. Designation of SACs and SPAs is the responsibility of each member state.

Nutrient enrichment
See eutrophication.

Ornithologist
A branch of zoology; someone who studies birds.

Over-abstraction
With reference to rivers and streams, the act of abstracting or withdrawing water for agricultural and commercial use to a point which negatively affects natural water levels.

Parasitic
An organism that grows, feeds, and is sheltered on or in a different organism while contributing nothing to their survival.

Pesticide
A chemical used to kill pests, especially insects.

Pioneer species
The first species or community to colonise a barren or disturbed area, thereby commencing a new ecological succession.

Plant communities
A group of plants living and interacting with one another in a specific region under relatively similar environmental conditions.

Precautionary principle
Where significant environmental damage may occur, but the knowledge on the matter is incomplete, decisions made and measures implemented should err on the site of caution.

Protected species
Certain plant and animal species are protected to various degrees in law, particularly the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended).

Ramsar Convention / Ramsar site
The Convention on Wetlands, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971, is an intergovernmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international co-operation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. There are presently 138 Contracting Parties to the Convention, with 1369 wetland sites, totalling 119.6 million hectares, designated for inclusion in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance

Range
The geographic region in which a plant or animal normally lives or grows.

Reintroduction
To introduce again a species that has become extinct within its former range.

Relict
An organism or species of an earlier time surviving in an environment that has undergone considerable change.

Restore (Kent BAP target definition)
The term given to a UK BAP priority habitat requiring management in order to improve an area of relict BAP habitat (that currently does not meet the criteria for qualifying as that habitat type) so that the condition and species composition leads to it meeting the BAP definition.

For example, the development of management objectives to re-establish heathland by removing scrub or bracken from an area with remnant heath, the improvement of species composition and hydrology of former raised bogs that have been significantly altered by peat workings or agriculture, or the removal of non-native trees followed by the planting of native trees in woodlands. Notes: The area of habitat successfully enhanced or restored in one time period (e.g. 2004-2010) then requires maintaining in the subsequent time period (between 2011-2020 or 2020-2026). 2) The target is not to achieve the successful enhancement and restoration of the total area quoted in the first two time periods. 3) The total habitat successfully enhanced and restored to a position where it can be maintained only includes a proportion of the original target. The remaining Priority Habitat is carried forward and remains the focus of enhancement in the following time-period. 4) Targets are defined in recognition of the fact that the process of establishing management objectives is ongoing spanning three time periods up to 2026 (Source KBP2004).

Riparian habitat
Habitat located on the banks of a river or stream.

Rodenticides
Substances used to destroy or inhibit the action of rats, mice, or other rodents.

Run-off / urban run-off
The build up and run-off of water occurring at ground surface level at times when rainfall cannot be absorbed by the soil, as particularly occurs in urban areas where the ground is covered by concrete and other non-permeable materials.

Source: Definitions taken from Connecting with London's Nature, The Mayor's Biodiversity Strategy 2002; and Lincoln, R. J et. Al (1982). A dictionary of ecology, evolution and systematics. Cambridge University Press.

S-Z

Salinity
The saltiness or content of salt in a solution.

Scrub
A community of trees and shrub species colonising open ground, particularly grassland.

Sedentary
Remaining or living in one area; not migratory.

Sites of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI)
Sites chosen to represent the best wildlife habitats in the county, more commonly referred to as Local Wildlife Sites.

Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
Sites of Special Scientific Interest can be either of biological or geological (or mixed) interest, notified by English Nature under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). More information on Kent's SSSIs can be found on English Nature's website.

Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)
Sites of European importance for habitats and species other than wild birds, designated under the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations, 1992 in the UK.

Special Protection Areas (SPA)
Sites of European importance for wild birds designated under the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c) Regulations, 1992 in the UK.

Sustainable urban Drainage (SUDS) systems
SUDs are concerned primarily with the drainage of rainwater from developed or urbanised areas, often involving the concept of rainwater re-use. SUDS focuses the decisions about drainage on the environment and people. When drainage systems take account of water quantity, water quality and amenity, then it is SUDS.

Sustainable Development
Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It is often summed up by the phrases 'think globally act locally' and 'don't cheat your children'.

Tidal tributaries
A stream that flows into a larger stream or other body of water during tide.

Translocation
The removal of things from one place to another; substitution of one thing for another.

Local Development Frameworks
Statutory plans produced by each District Authority which integrate strategic and local planning responsibilities through policies and proposals for development and use of land in their area.

Wetland
Lowland areas, such as marshes and swamps that are saturated with moisture.

Wild Mammals (protection) Act 1996
An Act to make provision for the protection of wild mammals from certain cruel acts, and for connected purposes.

Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981
The principle mechanism for the legislative protection of wildlife in Great Britain. Part I gives protection to listed flora and fauna; Part II deals with the protection of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Part III deals with Public Rights of Way.

Source: Definitions taken from Connecting with London's Nature, The Mayor's Biodiversity Strategy 2002; and Lincoln, R. J et. Al (1982). A dictionary of ecology, evolution and systematics. Cambridge University Press.