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Glossary

The following terms are common to the Landscape Measures approach. Knowing what they mean is important for understanding the process of multifunctional landscape assessment and for using the tools that help to implement the process.  We welcome suggstions for additional entries.

Adaptive collaborative management (ACM): ACM is a value-adding approach whereby people who have ‘interests’ in a landscape agree to act together to plan, observe and learn from the implementation of their plans. ACM is characterized by conscious efforts among such groups to communicate, collaborate, negotiate and seek out opportunities to learn collectively about the impacts of their actions (adapted from CIFOR).

Agrobiodiversity: All crops and livestock and their wild relatives, and all interacting species of pollinators, symbionts, pests, parasites, predators and competitors (Wood and Lenné (1999). Agrobiodiversity performs functions and delivers services that sustain agriculture and the resources upon which agriculture depends, encompasses the variety and variability of living organisms that contribute to food and agriculture in the broadest sense, and includes many habitats and species outside of farming systems that benefit agriculture and enhance ecosystem functions (Jackson et al. 2005).

Agroecosystem: A biological and natural resource system managed by humans for the primary purpose of producing food as well as other socially valuable nonfood goods and environmental services (Wood et al, 2001).

Biodiversity: Short for biological diversity, the variety of life on Earth and the natural patterns it forms (CBD 2000), including all species or organisms and the biological processes of which they are a part (predator-prey, plant succession, etc.)

Biodiversity offsets: Conservation actions designed to compensate for the unavoidable impact on biodiversity caused by infrastructure projects, to ensure “no net loss” and preferably a net gain in biodiversity.

Corridor:
A landscape feature that is long and relatively narrow and either connects two or more patches or interrupts or dissects the matrix. Roads, streambanks, hedgerows and ribbons of natural habitat are all examples of corridors. Corridors increase the flow of individuals between resource patches or suitable habitat, and contribute to the infrastructure of animals, plants and people.

Criteria:
Dimensions of a goal. In the LM framework, a criterion is a sub-goal that is a component of a broader goal. It identifies conditions to strive for in bringing about the broader goal.

Ecoagriculture: A vision for managing land and natural resources to meet three goals simultaneously:  (a) providing agricultural products and services on a sustainable basis, (b) supporting viable livelihoods for local people, and (c) conserving a full complement of native biodiversity and ecosystem services. Ecoagriculture takes a landscape scale view of land use and its consequences.

Ecoagricultural landscape: A mosaic of natural, semi-natural, and managed lands within an agricultural matrix occurring in an area of importance for conservation and for rural development.

Ecological resilience:  The capacity of an ecosystem to tolerate disturbance without collapsing into a qualitatively different state that is controlled by a different set of processes. A resilient ecosystem can withstand shocks and rebuild itself when necessary.

Ecosystem: A dynamic complex of plant, animal (including human), and microorganism communities interacting with their physical environment (including soil, water, climate, and atmosphere) as a functional unit (Biggs et al. 2004; MA 2005).

Ecosystem composition: The species that comprise the ecosystem. It refers to the inventory of species in the system, rather than their relative abundance.

Ecosystem function: Refers to the biological processes that occur in an ecosystem, such as plant-pollinator interactions, predator-prey relationships, etc. Many of these “functions” would be defined by humans as ecosystem services.

Ecosystem health: The existence and maintenance of processes such as primary production, nutrient retention and cycling, nitrogen fixing, soil stabilizing and water purification (Callicott and Mumford, 1997). An ecosystem is healthy if it continues to provide at least a substantial portion of ecosystem services that are possible for that site.

Ecosystem integrity: A concept that refers to the composition of the ecosystem. Ecosystem integrity is likely to be preserved if all or most of the species and biological processes that were present historically still remain there.

Ecosystem services: Ecological processes and functions that sustain and improve human life (Daily 1997), including provisioning services, or species that provide us with food, timber, medicines, and other useful products; regulating services such as flood control and climate stabilization; supporting services such as pollination, soil formation, and water purification; and cultural services, which are aesthetic or recreational assets that provide both intangible benefits and tangible ones such as ecotourist attractions (Kremen and Ostfeld 2005).

Ecosystem structure: Refers to the physical configurations of the ecosystem such as decomposing logs on the ground, vegetation layers from ground to canopy, pit and mound topography, and others.

Environmental income:  The income generated from ecosystem goods and services—including income from natural systems such as forests, grasslands, lakes, and marine waters as well as agricultural income — the output of agroecosystems.  It is a major constituent of the household incomes of the rural poor (WRI, 2005).

Flagship species: A species that has high visibility — one with charisma that will generate public support for conservation. Often synonymous with “charismatic mega-vertebrates”. Usually the large showy species.

Habitat fragmentation: The partial loss of wildlife habitat in a landscape such that only fragments remain, separated by less useful land cover, often agricultural. It is sometimes referred to as “habitat shredding”.

Goal: A condition that you wish to achieve. Goals reflect values. Achieving goal for landscape performance usually requires change in the way that things are done (practice/behavior).  

Indicator: An object or phenomenon that can be counted or measured, which enables claims to be made that change is occurring regarding progress toward a goal. In the LM framework, indicators are measured to reveal how well criteria (sub-goals) for landscape performance are being met. It is equally viable to create indicators of the broader goal, directly.

Institutions: The governance structures, markets, social capital, cultural norms and human capacities that enable an integrated, multifunctional (ecoagricultural) landscape to be realized.

Integrative indicator:  Integrates information about two or more goals for your landscape.  As such they are likely to be cost-effective to measure.

Keystone species: A species that is biologically important and perhaps essential in an ecosystem for the ecosystem to function normally; its biological effect is greater than its biomass or numerical abundance would suggest.

Landscape: A territory that is characterized by a particular configuration of topography, vegetation, land use, and settlement pattern that delimits some coherence of natural, historical, and cultural processes and activities. For landscape performance assessment, a landscape is best delineated functionally, within the context of particular issues or goals.

Land cover/land use: The physical presence of vegetation, soils and/or built-up areas in a landscape. Land use adds an intentional human value to land cover. Both are commonly used metrics in landscape analysis.

Leverage indicator:  Measure characteristics that are likely to have the greatest effect on the system as a whole.  If the leverage points in a system change significant change throughout the system can be anticipated.  They provide strategic information for moving stakeholders toward their goals for the landscape. 

Livelihood: The capabilities, assets and activities which are required for a means of living. A livelihood is sustainable (or secure) which can cope with and recovers from shocks and stress, and maintains or enhances its capabilities and assets both now and in future, while not undermining the natural resource base.

Livelihood resilience:  Social systems that can absorb the impact of sudden shocks (possibly while undergoing processes of fundamental transformative change) without large losses in overall productivity or changes in the distribution of resources and access to resources by individuals within the system.

Matrix: The dominant land use type or ecosystem in any given landscape.

Measure: A unit that enables one to count or value the status of an indicator. Measurement units may be “number of”, “percent of”, “quality of”, “frequency of” “ratio of” and others.

Means of measure: Methods of evaluating indicators through the collection of quantitative or qualitative data. Examples of means of measure include wildlife censusing techniques, land pattern analysis, soil pH testing, and farmer interviews.

Mosaic: The variegated pattern of different land uses and habitat types across a landscape, which can be represented as patches, corridors and matrix.

Multifunctional(ity): A principle hallmark of landscape; from a cultural perspective landscape hosts multiple human activities such as farming, settlement and recreation and from an environmental perspective landscape sustains multiple climatic, hydrologic, edaphic and ecological processes. With respect to both of these planners and managers aspire to assure productivity, diversity, stability and integrity (Selman, 2006).

Multi-stakeholder processes: Processes which aim to bring together all major stakeholders in a particular area or issue to communicate, to learn and to make decisions. MSPs are based on democratic principles of transparency and participation, and aim to develop partnerships and strengthened networks between stakeholders.

Performance indicators: A metric used to quantify features or phenomena in the landscape that provide meaningful information about the status of important landscape functions. Also referred to as outcome indicators (measures), or status indicators (measures).

Patch: A discrete land use, vegetation type or other landscape element that is distinct from the surrounding matrix.

Population: Individuals that belong to the same species, and are found at the same time in the same place. It is at the population level that demographic parameters are measured, and it is populations that evolve over time.

Resilience:  The capacity to reorganize after disturbance. The concept applies to ecological systems, to human-social systems and to socio-ecological systems. (See ecological, livelihood resilience.)

Scenarios: Carefully constructed stories about the future, which include descriptions, events, actors (people), and mechanisms. They are descriptive models or representations about possible alternative paths that a social-ecological system might take.

Social learning: Reflects the idea that shared learning of interdependent stakeholders is a key mechanism for arriving at more desirable solutions to complex problems. Sometimes referred to as the ‘third way of getting things done’ in rural resource management (in contrast to technical and economic approaches) that is based on interactive problem solving, conflict management, shared cognition, concerted action and the like (Leeuwis and Pyburn, 2002).

Species richness: The number of species within a defined taxa in a defined area. For example, the species richness of birds in Tompkins County, NY is about 400 during the summer.

Synergy: The mutually advantageous coming together of two phenomenon where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. In biologically-based interactions commonly referred to as a symbiotic relationship.

Theory of change: The building blocks required to bring about a given long-term goal or desired outcome. Graphically depicted around a pathway of change, each outcome in the pathway is tied to an intervention, revealing the often complex web of activity required to bring about change.  

Tradeoff: Losing one quality or aspect of something in return for gaining another quality or aspect. A tradeoff involves a sacrifice that must be made to obtain a desired good or outcome.

Umbrella species: A species with a large home range which encompasses the ranges of many other species. By conserving an umbrella species it is anticipated that many other species would be protected as well.