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The IPBES core glossary provides a standard definition for important terms of broad applicability to IPBES outputs. This core glossary does not replace the assessment-specific glossaries, but is complementary to them. It was developed by a glossary committee established for this purpose.

Impact assessment

A formal, evidence-based procedure that assesses the economic, social, and environmental effects of public policy or of any human activity.

Important Bird & Biodiversity Areas

A Key Biodiversity Area identified using an internationally agreed set of criteria as being globally important for bird populations.


A quantitative or qualitative factor or variable that provides a simple, measurable and quantifiable characteristic or attribute responding in a known and communicable way to a changing environmental condition, to a changing ecological process or function, or to a changing element of biodiversity.

Indigenous and local knowledge systems

Indigenous and local knowledge systems are social and ecological knowledge practices and beliefs pertaining to the relationship of living beings, including people, with one another and with their environments. Such knowledge can provide information, methods, theory and practice for sustainable ecosystem management.

Indigenous peoples and local communities

Indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) are, typically, ethnic groups who are descended from and identify with the original inhabitants of a given region, in contrast to groups that have settled, occupied or colonized the area more recently. IPBES does not intend to create or develop new definitions of what constitutes “indigenous peoples and local communities".

Indirect driver

See "driver".

Institutional failure

These are often catalogued as (i) law and policy failures (e.g., perverse subsidies), (ii) market failures (externalities in the use of public goods and services), (iii) organizational failure (e.g., lack of transparency and political legitimacy in decision making) and (iv) informal institutional failures (e.g., break of collective action norms due to erosion of trust.


Encompasses all formal and informal interactions among stakeholders and social structures that determine how decisions are taken and implemented, how power is exercised, and how responsibilities are distributed.

Instrumental value

See "values".

Integrated assessment models

See "models".

Integrated landscape management

Refers to long-term collaboration among different groups of land managers and stakeholders to achieve the multiple objectives required from the landscape.

Integrated pest management

Also known as Integrated Pest Control, it is a broadly-based approach that integrates various practices for economic control of pests (q.v.). Integrated pest management aims to suppress pest populations below the economic injury level (i.e., to below the level that the costs of further control outweigh the benefits derived). It involves careful consideration of all available pest control techniques and then integration of appropriate measures to discourage development of pest populations while keeping pesticides and other interventions to economically justifiable levels with minimal risks to human health and the environment. Integrated pest management emphasizes the growth of a healthy crop with the least possible disruption to agroecosystems and encourages natural pest control mechanisms.

Integrated valuation

See "values".

Intensive grazing lands

Those that are managed intensively for livestock production with few other uses of the land and cover approximately 9% of global grazing lands.

Intervention scenarios

See "scenarios".

Intrinsic value

See "values".

Invasive alien species

Species whose introduction and/or spread by human action outside their natural distribution threatens biological diversity, food security, and human health and well-being. “Alien” refers to the species’ having been introduced outside its natural distribution (“exotic”, “non-native” and “non-indigenous” are synonyms for “alien”). “Invasive” means “tending to expand into and modify ecosystems to which it has been introduced”. Thus, a species may be alien without being invasive, or, in the case of a species native to a region, it may increase and become invasive, without actually being an alien species.

Invasive species

See "Invasive alien species".

IPBES Conceptual Framework

The Platform’s conceptual framework has been designed to build shared understanding across disciplines, knowledge systems and stakeholders of the interplay between biodiversity and ecosystem drivers, and of the role they play in building a good quality of life through nature’s contributions to people (see diagram below).

IUCN Habitats Classification Scheme

Classification Schemes (formerly referred to as Authority Files) are a set of standard terms developed for documenting taxa on the IUCN Red List in order to ensure global uniformity when describing the habitat in which a taxon occurs, the threats to a taxon, what conservation actions are in place or are needed, and whether or not the taxon is utilized.

IUCN protected area category

IUCN protected area management categories classify protected areas according to their management objectives.