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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.

Mainstreaming biodiversity

Mainstreaming, in the context of biodiversity, means integrating actions or policies related to biodiversity into broader development processes or policies such as those aimed at poverty reduction, or tackling climate change.


Group of trees and shrubs that live in the coastal intertidal zone. Mangrove forests only grow at tropical and subtropical latitudes near the equator because they cannot withstand freezing temperatures.


A quantitative statistical analysis of several separate but similar experiments or studies in order to test the pooled data for statistical significance.

Millennium Ecosystem Assessment

The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment is a major assessment of the human impact on the environment published in 2005.


In the context of IPBES, an intervention to reduce negative or unsustainable uses of biodiversity and ecosystems.


Qualitative or quantitative representations of key components of a system and of relationships between these components. Benchmarking (of models) is the process of systematically comparing sets of model predictions against measured data in order to evaluate model performance. Validation (of models) typically refers to checking model outputs for consistency with observations. However, since models cannot be validated in the formal sense of the term (i.e. proven to be true), some scientists prefer to use the words "benchmarking" or “evaluation".

  • A dynamic model is a model that describes changes through time of a specific process.
  • A process-based model (also known as “mechanistic model”) is a model in which relationships are described in terms of explicitly stated processes or mechanisms based on established scientific understanding, and model parameters therefore have clear ecological interpretation, defined beforehand.
  • Hybrid models are models that combine correlative and process-based modelling approaches.
  • A correlative model (also known as “statistical model”) is a model in which available empirical data are used to estimate values for parameters that do not have predefined ecological meaning, and for which processes are implicit rather than explicit.
  • Integrated assessment models are interdisciplinary models that aim to describe the complex relationships between environmental, social, and economic drivers that determine current and future state of the ecosystem and the effects of global change, in order to derive policy-relevant insights. One of the essential characteristics of integrated assessments is the simultaneous consideration of the multiple dimensions of environmental problems.

Monitoring is the repeated observation of a system in order to detect signs of change.


The agricultural practice of producing or growing a single crop, plant, or livestock species, variety, or breed in a field or farming system at a time.

Mother Earth

An expression used in a number of countries and regions to refer to the planet Earth and the entity that sustains all living things found in nature with which humans have an indivisible, interdependent physical and spiritual relationship (see "nature").

Multidisciplinary Expert Panel

The IPBES Multidiscplinary Expert Panel is a subsidiary body established by the IPBES Plenary which oversees the scientific and technical functions ofthe Platform, a key role being to select experts to carry out assessments.