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.

Displaying 151 - 200 of 279
Term Definition
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.

Shames, S., Scherr, S.J., and Friedman, R. 2013. Defining Integrated Landscape Management for Policy Makers. Washington, DC: EcoAgriculture Partners
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.

Reid, R. S., Galvin, K. A., and Kruska 2008
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).

Diaz et al. 2015. “The IPBES Conceptual Framework — Connecting Nature and People.” Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 14: 1–16. doi:10.1016/j.cosust.2014.11.002
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.
Key Biodiversity Areas

Sites contributing significantly to the global persistence of biodiversity. They represent the most important sites for biodiversity worldwide, and are identified nationally using globally standardised criteria and thresholds.

IUCN 2016. A Global Standard for the Identification of Key Biodiversity Areas, Version 1.0. First edition. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN
Knowledge systems

A body of propositions that are adhered to, whether formally or informally, and are routinely used to claim truth. They are organized structures and dynamic processes (a) generating and representing content, components, classes, or types of knowledge, that are (b) domain-specific or characterized by domain-relevant features as defined by the user or consumer, (c) reinforced by a set of logical relationships that connect the content of knowledge to its value (utility), (d) enhanced by a set of iterative processes that enable the evolution, revision, adaptation, and advances, and (e) subject to criteria of relevance, reliability, and quality.

Land degradation

Refers to the many processes that drive the decline or loss in biodiversity, ecosystem functions or their benefits to people and includes the degradation of all terrestrial ecosystems.

Decision IPBES-3/1, annex VIII
Land sharing

A situation where low-yield farming enables biodiversity to be maintained within agricultural landscapes.

Land sparing

Land sparing, also called "land separation" involves restoring or creating non-farmland habitat in agricultural landscapes at the expense of field-level agricultural production - for example, woodland, natural grassland, wetland, and meadow on arable land. This approach does not necessarily imply high-yield farming of the non restored, remaining agricultural land. See also "Conservation agriculture".

Rey Benayas & Bullock, 2012
Land use

The human use of a specific area for a certain purpose (such as residential; agriculture; recreation; industrial, etc.). Influenced by, but not synonymous with, land cover. Land use change refers to a change in the use or management of land by humans, which may lead to a change in land cover.

Land use change

See "Land use".


An area of land that contains a mosaic of ecosystems, including human-dominated ecosystems.

Landscape composition

The abundances of patch types represented within a landscape. Composition is not spatially explicit because it refers only to the variety and abundance of patch types, but not their placement or location (dispersion) in the landscape.

Landscape configuration

The distribution, size and abundances of patch types represented within a landscape. Configuration is spatially explicit because it refers not only to the variety and abundance of patch types, but also to their placement or location (dispersion) in the landscape.

Landscape planning

An activity concerned with reconciling competing land uses while protecting natural processes and significant cultural and natural resources.


The dissolution and movement of dissolved substances by water.

Level of resolution

Degree of detail captured in an analysis. A high level of resolution implies a highly detailed analysis, usually associated with finer spatial and temporal scales. A low level of resolution implies a less detailed analysis, usually associated with coarser spatial and temporal scales.

Diaz et al. 2015. “The IPBES Conceptual Framework — Connecting Nature and People.” Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 14: 1–16. doi:10.1016/j.cosust.2014.11.002
Living in harmony with nature

Within the context of the IPBES Conceptual Framework – a perspective on good quality of life based on the interdependence that exists among human beings, other living species and elements of nature. It implies that we should live peacefully alongside all other organisms even though we may need to exploit other organisms to some degree.

Diaz et al. 2015. “The IPBES Conceptual Framework — Connecting Nature and People.” Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 14: 1–16. doi:10.1016/j.cosust.2014.11.002
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.

See Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005), available at

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").

Diaz et al. 2015. “The IPBES Conceptual Framework — Connecting Nature and People.” Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 14: 1–16. doi:10.1016/j.cosust.2014.11.002
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.

Native species

Indigenous species of animals or plants that naturally occur in a given region or ecosystem.

Naturalized species

A species that, once it is introduced outside its native distributional range, establishes self-sustaining populations.


In the context of IPBES, refers to the natural world with an emphasis on its living components. Within the context of western science, it includes categories such as biodiversity, ecosystems (both structure and functioning), evolution, the biosphere, humankind’s shared evolutionary heritage, and biocultural diversity. Within the context of other knowledge systems, it includes categories such as Mother Earth and systems of life, and it is often viewed as inextricably linked to humans, not as a separate entity (see "Mother Earth").

Nature's contributions to people

Nature's contributions to people (NCP) are all the contributions, both positive and negative, of living nature (i.e. diversity of organisms, ecosystems, and their associated ecological and evolutionary processes) to the quality of life for people. Beneficial contributions from nature include such things as food provision, water purification, flood control, and artistic inspiration, whereas detrimental contributions include disease transmission and predation that damages people or their assets. Many NCP may be perceived as benefits or detriments depending on the cultural, temporal or spatial context.

Díaz, Sandra, Unai Pascual, Marie Stenseke, Berta Martín-Lópezet al. 2018. “Assessing Nature’s Contributions to People.” Science (New York, N.Y.) 359 (6373). American Association for the Advancement of Science: 270–72. doi:10.1126/science.aap8826.
Non-anthropocentric value

See "values".

Non-Indigenous Species or Non-native species or Alien species

See “invasive alien species”.

Non-instrumental value

See "values".

Ocean acidification

See "acidification".

Organic agriculture

Any system that emphasises the use of techniques such as crop rotation, compost or manure application, and biological pest control in preference to synthetic inputs. Most certified organic farming schemes prohibit all genetically modified organisms and almost all synthetic inputs. Its origins are in a holistic management system that avoids off-farm inputs, but some organic agriculture now uses relatively high levels of off-farm inputs.


Overexploitation means harvesting species from the wild at rates faster than natural populations can recover. Includes overfishing, and overgrazing.

Participatory governance

A variant or subset of governance which puts emphasis on democratic engagement, in particular through deliberative practices.

Participatory scenario development (and planning)

Approaches characterised by more interactive, and inclusive, involvement of stakeholders in the formulation and evaluation of scenarios. Aimed at improving the transparency and relevance of decision making, by incorporating demands and information of each stakeholder, and negotiating outcomes between stakeholders.

Particulate matter

A mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets (dust, dirt, soot, or smoke).


Wetlands which accumulate organic plant matter in situ because waterlogging prevents aerobic decomposition and the much slower rate of the resulting anaerobic decay is exceeded by the rate of accumulation.

Joosten and Clark, 2002