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Environment Terminology


Abiotic components

Abiotic components are the inorganic and non-living parts of the world. The abiotic part consists of soil, water, air, and light energy etc.

Acid rain

Acid rain is the rainfall that has been acidified. It is formed when oxides of sulphur and nitrogen react with the moisture in the atmosphere.


Is a state of animal dormancy, characterized by inactivity and a lowered metabolic rate that is entered in response to high temperatures and arid conditions? It takes place during times of heat and dryness, the hot dry season, which is often but not necessarily the summer months. Invertebrate and vertebrate animals are known to enter this state to avoid damage from high temperatures and the risk of desiccation. Both terrestrial and aquatic animals undergo aestivation.


Is the establishment of a forest or stand of trees in an area where there was no forest


The desert regions of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab, and Trans-Himalayan regions are in scarce of vegetation.


The term agriculture is derived from two Latin words ager or agri meaning soil and culture meaning cultivation.


Is an integrated approach of using the interactive benefits from combining trees and shrubs with crops and livestock. It combines agricultural and forestry technologies to create more diverse, productive, profitable, healthy, and sustainable land-use systems.

Air environment

Determination of impact zone (through a screening model) and developing a monitoring network


The green non-differentiated plants (non - differentiated into organs like root, stem, and leaf.) Possessing chlorophyll are known as Algae. They usually grow in water or in moist situations.

Algal bloom

Is a rapid increase or accumulation in the population of algae in an aquatic system. Algal blooms may occur in freshwater as well as marine environments.

Aphotic zone

The lower layers of the aquatic ecosystems, where light penetration and plant growth are restricted forms the aphotic zone.

Aquatic organisms

The aquatic organisms are classified on the basis of their zone of occurrence and their ability to cross these zones.


Workers working in the asbestos industry are caught by serious lung disease called as asbestosis.


The earth’s atmosphere is responsible for creating conditions suitable for the existence of a healthy biosphere on this planet.


Non-chlorophyllous micro-organisms which lead saprophytic or parasitic existence. Many of them are pathogenic; Saprophytic bacteria are rather beneficial.

Bali meet

Bali Meet was the meeting of 190 countries that are party to a UN treaty on climate change held in December 2007.


The benthic organisms are those found living in the bottom of the water mass.

Bio energy

“Bioenergy is renewable energy derived from biological sources, to be used for heat, electricity, or vehicle fuel. Biofuels derived from plant materials is among the most rapidly growing renewable energy technologies.”


It refers to how pollutants enter a food chain


Bioassay is a test in which organisms are used to detect the presence or the effects of any other physical factor, chemical factor, or any other type of ecological disturbance.


Is a cryogenic storage facility used to archive biological samples for use in research and experiments


Is the capacity of an area to provide resources and absorb wastes. When the area’s ecological footprint exceeds its biocapacity, unsustainability occurs

Biochemical oxygen demand

B.O.D. is the amount of dissolved oxygen needed by aerobic biological organisms in a body of water to break down organic material present in a given water sample at certain temperature over a specific time period.


Biodiversity is defined as ‘the variability among living organisms from all sources, including terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are a part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems’


Bio-fertilizers are the preparations containing live or latent cells of efficient strains of nitrogen fixing, phosphate solubilizing or cellulolytic micro-organisms used for application to seed or composting areas with the objective of increasing the numbers of such micro-organisms and accelerating those microbial processes which augment the availability of nutrients that can be easily assimilated by plants.


Is the extraction of specific metals from their ores through the use of living organisms. This is much cleaner than the traditional heap leaching using cyanide. Bioleaching is one of several applications within bio hydrometallurgy and several methods are used to recover copper, zinc, lead, arsenic, antimony, nickel, molybdenum, gold, silver, and cobalt.

Bio link zones

Are a land use category developed for biodiversity conservation and landscape adaptation under changing climates

Biological pump

Is the sum of a suite of biologically mediated processes that transport carbon from the surface euphotic zone to the ocean’s interior?


Is the amount of living or organic matter present in an organism. Biomass pyramids show how much biomass is present in the organisms at each tropic level, while productivity pyramids show the production or turnover in biomass.


Biomass is a renewable energy resource derived from the carbonaceous waste of various human and natural activities.


Is the theft of genetic materials especially plants and other biological materials by the patent process? Biopiracy is a situation where indigenous knowledge of nature, originating with indigenous people, is exploited for commercial gain without permission from and with no compensation to the indigenous people themselves.


Is an umbrella term describing the discovery of new and useful biological samples and mechanisms, typically in less-developed countries, either with or without the help of indigenous knowledge, and with or without compensation? In this way, bioprospecting includes biopiracy and also includes the search for previously unknown compounds in organisms that have never been used in traditional medicine


It is a narrow layer around the surface of the earth. If we visualise the earth to be the size of an apple the biosphere would be as thick as its skin.


Is terrorism involving the intentional release or dissemination of biological agents. These agents are (bacteria, viruses, or toxins), and may be in a naturally occurring or a human-modified form.

Biotic components

Biotic components include living organisms comprising plants, animals and microbes and are classified according to their functional attributes into producers and consumers.

Bio web

Is the connotation for a network of web-enabled biological devices (e.g. Trees, plants, and flowers) which extends an internet of things to the Internet of Living Things of natural sensory devices? The bio web devices give insights to real-time ecological data and feedback to changes in the environment

Bird’s migration

Migration refers to the regular, recurrent and cyclical seasonal movement of birds from one place to other. The distance of migration ranged from short distance to thousands of kilometers.

Black carbon

Black carbon (BC) is a solid particle or aerosol, (though not a gas) contributes to warming of the atmosphere.

Bone meal

Bones from slaughter houses, carcasses of all animals and from meat industry constitute bone meal, which is the oldest phosphatic fertilizer used.

Brackish water

Is water that has more salinity than fresh water, but not as much as seawater. It may result from mixing of seawater with fresh water.

Brackish water ecosystems

These water bodies have salt content in between 5 to 35 ppt. E.g. Estuaries, salt marshes, mangrove swamps and forests.

Brown carbon

Brown carbon is a ubiquitous and unidentified component of organic aerosol which has recently come into the forefront of atmospheric research.


The plant body is differentiated into a small stem and simple leaves, but true roots are absent.

Calcicole or Calciphyte

Is a plant that does not tolerate acidic soil.


Is a plant that does not tolerate alkaline soil.

Carbon diet

Refers to reducing the impact on climate change by reducing greenhouse gas (principally CO2) production, without lowering their standard of living with or without compensation. In this way, bioprospecting includes biopiracy and also includes the search for previously unknown compounds in organisms that have never been used in traditional medicine.

Carbon dioxide (CO2)

It is the principle greenhouse gas emitted as a result of human activities such as the burning of coal, oil, and natural gases.

Carbon footprint

Is a measurement of all greenhouse gases we individually produce and has units of tonnes (or kg) of carbon dioxide equivalent? A carbon footprint is made up of the sum of two parts, the primary footprint and the secondary footprint.

Carbon trading

Carbon trading is the name given to the exchange of emission permits. This exchange may take place within the economy or may take the form of international transaction.

Carrying capacity

Of a biological species in an environment is the maximum population size of the species that the environment can sustain indefinitely, given the food, habitat, water and other necessities available in the environment


Are organisms that obtain energy by the oxidation of electron donors in their environments

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC)

These are gases that are released mainly from air-conditioning systems and refrigeration.


Co-generation is producing two forms of energy from one fuel. One of the forms of energy must always be heat and the other may be electricity or mechanical energy


Is a term often used to refer to animals that do not use their metabolism to maintain body temperature? Examples: reptiles, insects, arachnids, amphibians and fish


If we look around our self, we will notice that population of plants and animals seldom occur by themselves. The reason for this is quite obvious


Composting is a biological process in which micro-organisms, mainly fungi and bacteria, decompose degradable organic waste into humus like substance in the presence of oxygen.

Conservation biology

Is the scientific study of the nature and status of Earth’s biodiversity with the aim of protecting species, their habitats, and ecosystems from excessive rates of extinction


Consumers are incapable of producing their own food (photosynthesis).

Coral reefs

Coral is actually a living animal. Coral has a symbiotic relationship (each gives something to the other and gets something back in return) with ‘zooxanthellae’ microscopic algae which live on coral [i.e. Instead of living on the sea floor, the algae lives up on the coral which is closer to the ocean surface and so that the algae gets adequate light].

Cropping pattern

The cropping pattern used on a farm and its interactions with farm resources, other farm enterprises, and available technology which determine their makeup.


Is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a non-forest use.


Indiscriminate felling of trees as a result of urbanization, industrialization, mining operations, and use of wood for domestic and other purposes, have caused heavy depletion of forests.


It is the removal of excess soluble salts by leaching from horizons or soil profile (that contained enough soluble salts to impair the plant growth) by ponding water and improving the drainage conditions by installing artificial drainage network.

Desert ecosystem

Deserts are formed in regions with less than 25 cm of annual rainfall, or sometimes in hot regions where there is more rainfall, but unevenly distributed in the annual cycle.


It is the destruction of biological potential of the land which can ultimately lead to desert like conditions


Are heterotrophs that obtain nutrients by consuming detritus (decomposing organic matter). By doing so, they contribute to decomposition and the nutrient cycles. They should be distinguished from other decomposers, such as many species of bacteria, fungi and protists, unable to ingest discrete lumps of matter, instead live by absorbing and metabolising on a molecular scale. However, the terms detritivore and decomposer are often used interchangeably

Discarded materials

It includes concrete, asphalt, rungs, leather, cans, plastics, glass, discarded food, paper and carcasses.

Drip irrigation

Drip irrigation is also called trickle irrigation and involves dripping water onto the soil at very low rates from a system of small diameter plastic pipes fitted with outlets called emitters

Dry alpine scrub

Dry alpines are found from about 3000 metres to about 4900 metres. Dwarf plants predominate, mainly the black juniper, the drooping juniper, honeysuckle, and willow.

Earth hour

Is a global event organized by WWF and is held on the last Saturday of March annually, asking households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights and other electrical appliances for one hour to raise awareness towards the need to take action on climate change.

Ecological footprint

Is a measure of human demand on the Earth’s ecosystems. It is a standardized measure of demand for natural capital that may be contrasted with the planet’s ecological capacity to regenerate

Ecological succession

Succession is a universal process of directional change in vegetation, on an ecological time scale


Ecology Oikos meaning home or place to live in and phlogos meaning study. Literally it is the study of the I I home of nature.


An ecosystem is defined as a structural and functional unit of biosphere consisting of community of living beings and the physical environment, both interacting and exchanging materials between them.


Ecotone is a zone of junction between two or more diverse ecosystems. For e.g. The mangrove forests represent an ecotone between marine and terrestrial ecosystem.


Are the smallest ecologically-distinct landscape features in a landscape mapping and classification system. As such, they represent relatively homogeneous, spatially-explicit landscape functional units that are useful for stratifying landscapes into ecologically distinct features for the measurement and mapping of landscape structure, function and change.


Delineate large areas of the Earth’s surface within which organisms have been evolving in relative isolation over long periods of time, separated from one another by geographic features, such as oceans, broad deserts, or high mountain ranges, that constitute barriers to migration


The breaking down of sensitive tissue of lungs due to air pollution and smoke of cigarette is called as Emphysema. Once this disease happens, the lungs cannot expand and contract properly


Is an organism that lives inside rock, coral, animal shells, or in the pores between mineral grains of a rock.


Energy from the sun is essential for maintenance of life. In the case of plants, the sun directly supplies the necessary energy. Since animals cannot use solar energy directly, they obtain it indirectly by eating plants or animals or both.

Energy flow

Energy is the basic force responsible for all metabolic activities. The flow of energy from producer to top consumers is called energy flow which is unidirectional.


Pathogen induced bleaching is different from other sorts of bleaching. Most coral diseases cause patchy or whole colony death and sloughing of soft tissues, resulting in a white skeleton (not to be confused with bleached corals).

Estuary ecosystem

Estuaries are located where river meets the sea. Estuaries are water bodies where the flow of freshwater from river mixes with salt water transported, by tide, from the ocean

Eutrophic lake

Is a lake has high primary productivity due to excessive nutrients and is subject to algal blooms resulting in poor water quality. The bottom waters of such bodies are commonly deficient in oxygen, ranging from hypoxic to anoxic.


Greek word – Eutrophia means adequate & healthy nutrition.


Is the end of an organism or of a group of organisms (taxon), normally a species.


It is home to some of India’s most magnificent grasslands and sanctuary for the Great Indian Bustard.

Fire corals

They are more closely related to jellyfish than corals. On contact, one usually feels a burning sensation similar to a sting from a jellyfish.

Fish meal

Fish manure or meal is processed by drying non-edible fish, carcasses of fish and wastes from fish industry. It contains 4.0-10.0 % nitrogen, 3.0-9.0 % P and 0.3 to 1.5 % K. Fishmeal is quick acting organic manure and is suitable for application to all crops on all soils.


The proper desert plants may be divided into two main groups. I) depending directly upon on rain and ii) those depending on the presence of subterranean water.

Fluorinated gases

They are emitted through a variety of industrial processes such as aluminium and semiconductor manufacturing & Substitution for Ozone-Depleting Substances.


It occurs in nature as fluoride, in air, soil and water. Fluorisis is a common problem in several states of the country due to intake of high fluoride content water.

Fly ash

Ash is produced whenever combustion of solid material takes place.

Food chain

Organisms in the ecosystem are related to each other through feeding mechanism or trophic levels, i.e. One organism becomes food for the other.

Food web

A food chain represents only one part of the food or energy flow through an ecosystem and implies a simple, isolated relationship, which seldom occurs in the ecosystems.

Forest cover

Is the presence of trees on lands more than one hectare in area with a tree canopy of more than 10 percent, irrespective of ownership and legal status

Forest ecosystem

The forest ecosystem includes a complex assemblage of different kinds of biotic communities. Optimum conditions such as temperature and ground moisture are responsible for the establishment of forest communities.

Fresh water ecosystem

The salt content of fresh bodies is very low, always less than 5 ppt (parts per thousand). E.g lakes, ponds, pools, springs, streams, and rivers

Fuel cells

Fuel cells are electrochemical devices that convert the chemical energy of a fuel directly and very efficiently into electricity (DC) and heat, thus doing away with combustion.


Non-green non differentiated plants characterised by total absence of chlorophyll are called Fungi.

Gene banks

Help preserve genetic material; be it plant or animal. In plants, this could be by freezing cuts from the plant, or stocking the seeds. In animals, this is the freezing of sperm and eggs in zoological freezers until further need.

Gene pool

Is the complete set of unique alleles in a species or population

Genetic erosion

Is a process whereby an already limited gene pool of an endangered species of plant or animal diminishes even more when individuals from the surviving population die off without getting a chance to meet and breed with others in their endangered low population.


Geo-engineering primarily aims at modifying and cooling Earth’s environment, defeating the environmental damage and ensuing climate changes to make the planet more inhabitable. Geoengineering, at this point, is still only a theoretical Concept


It is a process of soil formation resulting in the development of a glei (or gley horizon) in the lower part of the soil profile above the parent material due to poor drainage condition (lack of oxygen) and where waterlogged conditions prevail.

Global hectare

Is a measurement of biocapacity of the entire earth - one global hectare is a measurement of the average biocapacity of all hectare measurements of any biologically productive areas on the planet?

Global warming

Global warming causes flowers to bloom earlier or later than usual. When pollinators come out of hibernation, the flowers that provide the food they need to start to start the season has already bloomed.

Grassland ecosystem

The grasslands are found where rainfall is about 25-75 cm per year, not enough to support a forest, but more than that of a true desert.

Green building

Green building is the essence of which would be to address all the pollution related issues of a building in an integrated and scientific manner.

Green economy

Green economy focuses specifically on the fundamental changes that are required to ensure that economic systems are made more sustainable.

Greenhouse gases

Greenhouse gases means those gaseous constituents of the atmosphere, both natural and anthropogenic, that absorbs and re-emit infrared radiation.

Green manuring

It is a practice of ploughing in the green plant grown in the field or adding green plants from outside and incorporating them into the soil for improving the physical structure as well as fertility of the soil.

Greenhouse debt

Or carbon debt is the measure to which an individual person, incorporated association, business enterprise, government instrumentality or geographic community exceeds its permitted greenhouse footprint and contributes greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming and climate change

Greenhouse effect

The greenhouse effect is a naturally occurring phenomenon that blankets the earth lower atmosphere and warms it, maintaining the temperature suitable for living things to survive.


Gymnosperms (gymnos=naked, sperma=seed) are the naked-seeded plants.

Habitat conservation

Is a land management practice that seeks to conserve, protect and restore, habitat areas for wild plants and animals, especially conservation reliant species, and prevent their extinction, fragmentation or reduction in range

Habitat destruction

The process in which natural habitat is rendered functionally unable to support the species present. In this process, the organisms which previously used the site are displaced or destroyed, reducing biodiversity

Habitat fragmentation

Is the emergence of discontinuities (fragmentation) in an organism’s preferred environment (habitat), causing population fragmentation


Are organisms that obtain energy by the oxidation of electron donors in their environments


Is a state of inactivity and metabolic depression in animals, characterized by lower body temperature, slower breathing, and lower metabolic rate. Hibernating animals conserve food, especially during winter when food supplies are limited, tapping energy reserves, body fat, at a slow rate. It is the animal’s slowed metabolic rate which leads to a reduction in body temperature and not the other way around.

Holocene extinction

Refers to the extinction of species during the present Holocene epoch (since around 10,000 BC)


Is the practice of pursuing any living thing, usually wildlife, for food, recreation, or trade. In present-day use, the term refers to lawful hunting, as distinguished from poaching, which is the killing, trapping or capture of the hunted species contrary to applicable law.

Hydro power

Hydraulic power can be captured when water flows downward from a higher level to a lower level which is then used to turn the turbine, thereby converting the kinetic energy of water into mechanical energy to drive the generator.

Industrial wastes

Industrial waste includes chemicals such as mercury, lead, copper, zinc, cadmium, cynides, thiocynates, chromates, acids, alkalies, organic substances etc.


Growing two or more crops simultaneously with distinct row arrangement on the same field at the same time.

Iodine - 131

Iodine - 131 produced by nuclear tests is passed to vegetation and then appears in milk of the cattle that consume the contaminated vegetation and is passed to humans. Iodine-131 causes serious damage to thyroid gland, especially among children

Lake ecology

Any - body of standing water, generally large enough in area and depth, irrespective of its hydrology, ecology, and other characteristics is generally known as lake.


The term laterite is derived from the word later meaning brick or tile and was originally applied to a group of high clay Indian soils found in Malabar hills of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra


It is present in petrol, diesel, lead batteries, paints, hair dye products, etc. Lead affects children in particular.


A lichen is a peculiar combination of an alga and a fungus– the two live deriving mutual benefit.


Are micro-organisms that can live within the pore interstices of sedimentary and even igneous rocks to depths of several kilometres’.


Is an organism that uses an inorganic substrate to obtain reducing equivalents for use in biosynthesis or energy conservation via aerobic or anaerobic respiration


Mangroves are the characteristic littoral plant formation of tropical and subtropical sheltered coastlines.

Marine ecosystems

The water bodies containing salt concentration equal to or above that of sea water (i.e., 35 ppt or above). E.g shallow seas and open ocean

Marine pollution

Oceans are the ultimate sink of all natural and manmade pollutants. Rivers discharge their pollutants into the sea


Meloxicam is a second generation NSAID and rated better than Diclofenac for the treatment of livestock, with reduced risk of side effects, and is also approved for human use in more than 70 countries.


This is the most common and most toxic in water bodies. It occurs in water as monomethyl mercury. Most industrial effluents have mercury. Methyl mercury vapours cause fatal poisoning.

Mesotrophic lakes

Is a lake with an intermediate level of productivity, greater than oligotrophic lakes, but less than eutrophic lakes. These lakes are commonly clear water lakes and ponds with beds of submerged aquatic plants and medium levels of nutrients

Metal pollution

Bees absorbing metal pollution from flowers that absorbed it from the soil that absorbed it from modern machines and vehicles


Is a local atmospheric zone where the climate differs from the surrounding area. The term may refer to areas as small as a few square feet or as large as many square miles.


Is a microorganism that can use a mix of different sources of energy and carbon.

Moist Alpine scrub

Moist alpines are found all along the Himalayas and on the higher hills near the Myanmar border. It has a low scrub, dense evergreen forest, consisting mainly of rhododendron and birch.

Montreux record

Montreux Record is the principal tool under the Ramsar Convention, is a register of wetland sites on the List of Wetlands of International Importance

Mor soil

Is on the other hand characterised by smaller soil animals, the buildup of a litter layer on top and decomposition mainly led by fungi

Mull soil

Is one characterised by large soil animals (especially plentiful earthworms), incorporation of organic matter through the topsoil and active bacterial decomposition.


Is a form of bioremediation in which fungi are used to decontaminate the area.

Nagoya protocol

The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (ABS) to the Convention on Biological Diversity is a supplementary agreement to the Convention on Biological Diversity.


Is the study of the toxicity of nanomaterials. Because of quantum size effects and large surface area to volume ratio, nanomaterials have unique properties compared with their larger counterparts.

Neknampur lake

The Neknampur Lake, Hyderabad is the largest floating treatment wetland in the country. Floating treatment wetland works on the basis of hydroponics technique.


This group contains animals which are swimmers.


Neonicotinoids are a new class of insecticides chemically related to nicotine. The name literally means “new nicotine-like insecticides”. Like nicotine, the neonicotinoids act on certain kinds of receptors in the nerve synapse.


These are unattached organisms which live at the air water interface such as floating plants, etc.


A niche is the unique functional role or place of a species in an ecosystem. It is a description of all the biological, physical and chemical factors that a species needs to survive, stay healthy and reproduce.

Noise environment

Monitoring the present status of noise levels within the impact zone, and prediction of future noise levels resulting from the proposed project and related activities including increase in vehicular movement

Noise pollution

Noise pollution is an unpleasant noise created by people or machines that can be annoying, distracting, intrusive, and/or physically painful. • Noise pollution comes from sourc

Ocean acidification

Ocean acidification is the change in ocean chemistry - lowering of ocean ph(i.e. Increase in concentration of hydrogen ions) driven by the uptake of carbon compounds by the ocean from the atmosphere.

Ocean de-oxygenation

Is a term that has been suggested to describe the expansion of oxygen minimum zones in the world’s oceans as a consequence of anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide. Oceanographers and others have discussed what phrase best describes the phenomenon to non-specialists.

Oil spill

Is a release of a liquid petroleum hydrocarbon into the environment due to human activity, and is a form of pollution. The term often refers to marine oil spills, where oil is released into the ocean or coastal waters

Oligotrophic lake

Is a lake with low primary productivity, the result of low nutrient content. These lakes have low algal production, and consequently, often have very clear waters, with high drinking-water quality.

Organic farming

Organic farming is a production system where all kinds of agricultural products are produced organically, including grains, meat, dairy, eggs, fibers such as cotton, flowers, and processed food products


Is an organism that obtains hydrogen or electrons from organic substrates


It occurs naturally in the upper layers of the atmosphere.


These are organisms which remain attached to stems and leaves of rooted plants or substances emerging above the bottom mud such as sessile algae and their associated group of animals.


Bill Mollison, an Australian ecologist, and one of his students, David Holmgren, coined the word “permaculture” in 1978. It is a contraction of “permanent agriculture” or “permanent culture.”


Pesticides are chemicals that include insecticides, fungicides, algicides, rodenticides, weedicides sprayed in order to improve productivity of agriculture, forestry and horticulture

Photic zone

Or Euphotic zone is the depth of the water in a lake or ocean that is exposed to sufficient sunlight for photosynthesis to occur.

Photic zone

It is the upper layer of the aquatic ecosystems, up to which light penetrates and within which photosynthetic activity is confined


Are the organisms (usually plants) that carry out photosynthesis to acquire energy. They use the energy from sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and water into organic materials to be utilized in cellular functions such as biosynthesis and respiration.


Derived from the Greek words phyto (plant) and plankton (made to wander or drift), phytoplankton are microscopic plant organisms that live in aquatic environments, both salty and fresh.


Phytoremediation is use of plants to remove contaminants from soil and water.


This group includes both microscopic plants like algae (phytoplankton) and animals like crustaceans and protozoans (zooplankton) found in all aquatic ecosystems, except certain swift moving waters.


The term ‘plankton’ refers to the group of organisms which float in the surface waters of the rivers, lakes and oceans.

Plastic waste

Plastics are considered to be one of the wonderful inventions of 20th Century. They are widely used as packing and carry bags because of cost and convenience.


Refers to the practice of using plastic materials in agricultural applications. The plastic materials themselves are often and broadly referred to as “ag plastics.” Plasticulture ag plastics include soil fumigation film, irrigation drip tape/tubing, nursery pots and silage bags, but the term is most often used to describe all kinds of plastic plant/soil coverings. Such coverings range from plastic mulch film, row coverings, high and low tunnels, to plastic greenhouses.


The coal miners are frequently caught by the black lung disease, which is also called as Pneumoconiosis


Is the illegal taking of wild plants or animals contrary to local and international conservation and wildlife management laws. Violations of hunting laws and regulations are normally punishable by law and, collectively, such violations are known as poaching.


It is a process of soil formation resulting in the formation of Podzols and Podzolic soils.


Pollutants are the materials or factors, which cause adverse effect on the natural quality of any component of the environment


Population is a group of organisms usually of the same species, occupying a defined area during a specific time.


Or production refers to the rate of generation of biomass in an ecosystem.


The pteridophytes have well-differentiated plant bodies, consisting of roots, stems and leaves. Moreover, they possess vascular bundles


It is a process of combustion in absence of oxygen or the material burnt under controlled atmosphere of oxygen. It is an alternative to incineration.

Radioactive pollution

Radioactivity is a phenomenon of spontaneous emission of proton (a-particles), electrons (ß-particles) and gamma rays (short wave electromagnetic waves) due to disintegration of atomic nuclei of some elements

Radioactive wastes

Radioactive elements from mining and nuclear power plants, find their way into water and then into the soil


Water is essential for all living beings. Majority of bio¬ chemical reactions take place in an aqueous medium


Is the restocking of existing forests and woodlands which have been depleted


It gives an indication of biological damage. It is an estimate of the amount of radiation of any type which produces the same biological injury in man as that resulting from the absorption of a given amount of X-ray radiation or gamma radiation.


It is the process of accumulation of salts, such as sulphates and chlorides of calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium, in soils in the form of a salty (salic) horizon.


Seaweeds are (thalloid plants) macroscopic algae, which mean they have no differentiation of true tissues such as roots, stems and leaves.

Sedimentary cycle

Phosphorus, calcium and magnesium circulate by means of the sedimentary cycle


It is caused due to the deposit of silica in the lungs of workers working in silica industries or at the sand blasting sites

Social forestry

The National Commission on Agriculture, Government of India, first used the term ‘social forestry’ in 1976.


Soils are a thin layer on top of most of Earth’s land surface. This thin layer is a basic natural resource and deeply affects every other part of the ecosystem.

Soil pollution

Soil is a thin layer of organic and inorganic materials that covers the Earth’s rocky surface. Soil pollution is defined as the ‘addition of substances to the soil, which adversely affect physical, chemical and biological properties of soil and reduces its productivity.’

Solid waste

Solid waste means any garbage, refuse, sludge from a wastewater treatment plant, or air pollution control facility and other discarded materials including solid, liquid, semi-solid, or contained gaseous material, resulting from industrial, commercial, mining and agricultural operations, and from community activities

Sprinkler irrigation

In the sprinkler method of irrigation, water is sprayed into the air and allowed to fall on the ground surface somewhat resembling rainfall

Standing crop

Is the quantity or total weight or energy content of the organisms which are in a particular location at a particular time.


The stress of shipping bees back and forth across the country, increasingly common in commercial beekeeping, may be amplifying the stress on the insects and leaving them more vulnerable to CCD


Land is covered by soil and a wide variety of microbes, protozoa, fungi and small animals (invertebrates) thrive in it.

Sulphur dioxide (SO2)

It is a gas produced from burning coal, mainly in thermal power plants.


Temperature is a critical factor of the environment which greatly influences survival of organisms


“A terrace is an embankment or ridge of earth constructed across a slope to control runoff and minimize soil erosion”

The carbon cycle

Carbon is a minor constituent of the atmosphere as compared to oxygen and nitrogen. However, without carbon dioxide life could not exist, because it is vital for the production of carbohydrates through photosynthesis by plants

The nitrogen cycle

Nitrogen is an essential constituent of protein and is a basic building block of all living tissue. It constitutes nearly 16% by weight of all the proteins.

The primary footprint

Is a measure of our direct emissions of CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels including domestic energy consumption and transportation (e.g. Car and plane). We have direct control of these.

The secondary footprint

Is a measure of the indirect CO2 emissions from the whole lifecycle of products we use - those associated with their manufacture and eventual breakdown. To put it very simply – the more we buy the more emissions will be caused on our behalf.

Thermal pollution

The main sources are the thermal and nuclear power plants. The power plants use water as coolant and release hot waters to the original source.

Thermal pollution

Thermal pollution is the rise or fall in the temperature of a natural aquatic environment caused by human influence. This has become an increasing and the most current pollution, owing to the increasing call of globalization everywhere.

Tidal energy

Energy can be extracted from tides by creating a reservoir or basin behind a barrage and then passing tidal waters through turbines in the barrage to generate electricity


Tillage is the mechanical manipulation of soil with tools and implements for obtaining conditions ideal for seed germination, seedling establishment and growth of crops.


Some algal blooms when die or eaten, release neuro & hepatotoxins which can kill aquatic organism & pose threat to humans. (e.g) Shellfish poisoning.

Toxicology effects

Eco-toxicology is “a study of the effects of released pollutants on the environment and on the biota that inhabit it

Tree cover

Comprises the tree patches outside forest area and exclusive of forest cover that has less than a minimum map-able area of one hectare.


Tundra means a “barren land” since they are found where environmental conditions are very severe. There are two types of tundra- arctic and alpine

Underground water pollution

In India at many places, the ground water is threatened with contamination due to seepage from industrial and municipal wastes and effluents, sewage channels and agricultural runoff


Is a term to describe animal species which have a relatively higher blood temperature, and maintain thermal homeostasis primarily through internal metabolic processes. Examples: Mammals and birds.

Water cycle (hydrologic)

The hydrologic cycle is the continuous circulation of water in the Earth-atmosphere system which is driven by solar energy

Water environment

Study of existing ground and surface water resources with respect to quantity and quality within the impact zone of the proposed project

Water pollution

‘Addition of certain substances to the water such as organic, inorganic, biological, radiological, heat, which degrades the quality of water so that it becomes unfit for use’.

Watershed management

A watershed is an area of land and water bounded by a drainage divide within which the surface runoff collects and flows out of the watershed through a single outlet into a lager river (or) lake.

Wave energy

Waves result from the interaction of the wind with the surface of the sea and represent a transfer of energy from the wind to the sea.


Weeds are unwanted and undesirable plant that interfere with utilization of land and water resources and thus adversely affect crop production and human welfare

Wild crafting

Is the practice of harvesting plants from their natural, or “wild” habitat, for food or medicinal purposes. It applies to uncultivated plants wherever they may be found, and is not necessarily limited to wilderness areas. Ethical considerations are often involved, such as protecting endangered species.


Includes all non-domesticated plants, animals and other organisms. Domesticating wild plant and animal species for human benefit has occurred many times all over the planet, and has a major impact on the environment, both positive and negative.

Wildlife corridor

Or Green corridor is an area of habitat connecting wildlife populations separated by human activities (such as roads, development, or logging). This allows an exchange of individuals between populations, which may help prevent the negative effects of inbreeding and reduced genetic diversity (via genetic drift) that often occur within isolated populations.

Wind energy

Wind energy is the kinetic energy associated with the movement of atmospheric air. Wind turbines transform the energy in the wind into mechanical power, further converting to electric power to generate electricity

Wind farm

A wind farm is a group of wind turbines in the same location used for production of electricity. A wind farm can be located onshore and offshore.


Zooxanthellae loss occurs during exposure of coral to elevated concentrations of various chemical contaminants, such as Cu, herbicides and oil.


Is a plant succession which is limited by water availability. It includes the different stages in a xerarch succession. Xerarch succession of ecological communities originated in extremely dry situation such as sand deserts, sand dunes, salt deserts, rock deserts etc

Zero-emissions vehicle

Or ZEV, is a vehicle that emits no tailpipe pollutants from the onboard source of power.


Zoo is an establishment, whether stationary or mobile, where captive animals are kept for exhibition to the public and includes a circus and rescue centers but does not include an establishment of a licensed dealer in captive animals - CZA .


Zooplankton play vital role in food web of the food chain, nutrient recycling, and in transfer of organic matter from primary producers to secondary consumers like fishes.