Glossary (Version 8.4)

Degradation of the health of land and water resources through human actions in ways that threaten ability of these resources to maintain their environmental functions. Degradation includes salinity, accelerated soil erosion, soil fertility decline, soil acidification, spread of weeds, loss of biodiversity and habitats, and water pollution.

Individual surface features of the earth identified by their shape, for example, dunes, plateaus, canyons, beaches, plains, hills, rivers and valleys.

A visible appearance of an area, created by a combination of geological, geomorphological, biological and cultural layers that have evolved over time, and as perceived, portrayed and valued by people. A geomorphic landscape is the landscape without the biological and cultural layers.

A system of rules that a particular country or community recognises as regulating the actions of its members and which it may enforce by an imposition of penalties and sanctions.

An approach to political arrangements that takes the view that the ideal political system should combine majority rule by the people with the protection of the political, legal and social rights of individuals and minority groups.

The solid portion or crust and upper mantle of the earth, also called the geosphere, which is distinguished from atmosphere and hydrosphere.

An assessment of what a place is like to live in, using particular criteria, for example, environmental quality, crime and safety, education and health provision, access to shops and services, recreational facilities and cultural activities.

An area around a student’s home or school that can be explored in a few hours. The local level of scale refers to all areas of similar size.