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Nature Recovery Glossary of Terms

Nature Recovery Glossary of Terms

Biodiversity: Biological diversity means the variability among living organisms from all sources including inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are a part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems.

Biodiversity describes the whole range of different varieties of living things and systems on this earth. Biodiversity can be found everywhere – it includes animal species, plant species, genes, ecosystems and landscapes.

Biodiversity Net Gain: Is defined as ‘development that leaves biodiversity in a measurably better state than before’. As a mandatory requirement of planning permission, developments will need to provide a net gain for biodiversity of at least 10%. This will be calculated using a Government metric based on existing habitat loss. Net gain may be delivered onsite or, where unfeasible, provided at another site.

Ecosystem: An ecosystem is a community of living organisms in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment, interacting as a system. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows
An ecosystem includes all of the living things (plants, animals, and organisms) in a given area that interact with each other, as well as the non-living environments (weather, earth, sun, soil, climate, atmosphere) that surround the living things.

Ecosystem Services: The flows of services and benefits from natural capital stocks/assets to benefit people/ society. For example, food, fuel, clear air, clean water and opportunities for recreation, but also benefits such as climate regulation, pollination and flood defense. The benefits that people and society get from the natural world.

Environment: The surroundings or conditions in which a person, animal, or plant lives or operates/ the natural world, as a whole or in a particular geographical area, especially as affected by human activity.

Environmental Net Gain: having an overall positive impact on the natural environment. It is an approach for improving the condition of, and ecosystems services that flow from, our natural assets in the context of development or other project.

For nature:  Land dedicated for nature to flourish as a primary use, protecting, managing, connecting and enlarging our core wildlife sites and priority habitats.

Green (& Blue) Infrastructure: Is the network of multifunctional green spaces, landscapes and features, both urban and rural, which can deliver multiple benefits for the economy, wildlife and communities.

Habitats: The natural home or environment of an animal, plant, or other organism / The natural environment in which an animal or plant usually lives.

Landscape: An area, as perceived by people, whose character is the result of the action and interaction of natural and/or human factors.

These can be:

  • natural, rural, urban and peri-urban areas;
  • land, inland water and marine areas
  • landscapes that might be considered outstanding as well as everyday or degraded landscapes

An area, as perceived by people, whose character is the result of the action and interaction of natural and/or human factors’

These can be:

  • natural, rural, urban and peri-urban areas;
  • land, inland water and marine areas
  • landscapes that might be considered outstanding as well as everyday or degraded landscapes

Landscape Character: The distinct, recognisable and consistent pattern of elements in the landscape that makes it different form another (better or worse)

Landscape-scale: A project or programme of work that delivers outcomes or activities across a large area and is based on a sound understanding of the character anmd function of that landscape. This also takes into account the natural and cultural elements of the landscape both old and new.

Natural Capital: The elements of nature that produce value (directly and indirectly) to people. Assets include habitats, rivers, soils, land, minerals, atmosphere, oceans. There is also an intrinsic value to nature or biodiversity.

Natural capital includes certain stocks of the elements of nature that have value to society, such as forests, fisheries, rivers, biodiversity, land and minerals. Natural capital includes both the living and non-living aspects of ecosystems. Stocks of natural capital provide flows of environmental or ‘ecosystem’ services over time.

These services, often in combination with other forms of capital (human, produced and social) produce a wide range of benefits. These include use values that involve interaction with the resource and which can have a market value (minerals, timber, freshwater) or non-market value (such as outdoor recreation, landscape amenity).

They also include non-use values, such as the value people place on the existence of particular habitats or species.

Natural processes: A process existing in or produced by nature (rather than by the intent of human beings) that shape our environment eg weathering, erosion, flooding, deposition etc.

Nature friendly: Incorporating features and practices that increase opportunities for wildlife alongside established land uses.

Nature Recovery Network – NRN: A Nature Recovery Network is a joined up network of marine, coastal and terrestrial habitats where nature and people can thrive.  The network allows wildlife movement from place to place and provides places to live, feed and breed which enables the natural world to adapt to change.

More than just a map, it is an active, adaptive spatial plan that identifies the best opportunities to deliver nature’s recovery.

It’s about all nature! Not just key habitats and species and will build on what has gone before. It is also about nature-based solutions for achieving net zero and realizing other ecosystem service benefits. Nature as the solution not a barrier.

Government’s vision is for a single national network which will be created locally through Local Nature Recovery Strategies:

  • Local Nature Recovery Strategies – LNRS: are the strategies at a local level which will define the priorities and the opportunities – or “Nature Planning”. The Environment Bill/Act will set out where and how LNR networks will be created and provide a blueprint for the application of other emerging mechanisms such as BNG, CCs etc.. It is likely that local level public bodies such as local authorities will prepare these strategies who will be designated as “Responsible Authorities” by the SoS.

Net Zero with Nature, Carbon Offsetting:  Developments, organisations, businesses or individuals looking to offset their carbon emissions through nature projects, for example, through tree planting projects.

Nutrient offsetting:  Development proposals that are required to offset their additional nutrients (nitrates or Phosphates) to address Natural England guidance on Nitrate Neutrality to address requirements of the habitats regulations. (for example, for the Solent)

There are 3 main types of offsetting site:

  1. Land taken out of agricultural use and managed as grassland e.g. wildflower meadow.
  2. Land taken out of agricultural use to create woodland.
  3. Wetland created to filter nitrates.

Resilience: Able to absorb, resist or recover from disturbances or damage from both natural influences and human activities (including climate change).

Species Biology: A group of closely related organisms that are very similar to each other and are usually capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. The species is the fundamental category of taxonomic classification, ranking below a genus or subgenus.


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