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Chloe with watering can

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Laws, Conventions and Designations

Abundance: The degree and frequency of a species population, often indicative of the success it is experiencing in the wild.

Amenity grassland: Grassland that improves the quality of an area by contributing to the physical or material comfort of users (as places to picnic, walk, engage in leisure pursuits etc), and which increases the attractiveness or value of its geographic location.

Arboricultural: Arboriculture is the planting and care of woody plants, especially trees.

Attrition: A rubbing away or wearing down by friction.

Baseline: A measurement, calculation, or location used as a basis for comparison in science.

Basin: A region drained by a single river system.

Biodiversity: The diversity, or variety, of plants, animals and other living things in a particular area or region. It encompasses habitat diversity, species diversity and genetic diversity. Biodiversity is of value in its own right and has social and economic value for human society.

Biodiversity Action Plan: A plan that sets objectives and actions for the conservation of biodiversity, with measurable targets, following the UK Biodiversity Action Plan

Bioremediation: The use of biological agents, such as bacteria or plants, to remove or neutralise contaminants, as in polluted soil or water.

Brownfield: Any land or premises which has previously been used or developed and is not currently in full use, although it may be partially occupied or utilised. The land may also be vacant, derelict or contaminated. This excludes parks, recreation grounds, allotments and land where the remains of previous use have blended into the landscape, or have been overtaken by nature conservation value or amenity use and cannot be regarded as requiring redevelopment.

Census: An official, usually periodic enumeration of a population, often including the collection of related demographic information.

Channelisation: Creation of a trench, furrow or groove through which water flows (eroded by the water or man-made) which becomes the new bed of a stream or river.

Colonisation: Successful invasion of a new habitat by a species; the occupation of bare ground by soil by seedlings or sporelings

Colony: A group of the same kind of animals, plants, or one-celled organisms living or growing together.

Conservation: Protection, management and promotion for the benefit of wild species and habitats, as well as the human communities that use and enjoy them.

Coppice: To cut back (as young timber) so as to produce shoots from stools or roots.

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Deciduous: Shedding or losing foliage at the end of the growing season: deciduous trees.

Distribution: The geographical range of a taxon or group; the pattern or arrangement of the members of a population or group

Dredging: Any of various machines equipped with scooping or suction devices and used to deepen harbours and waterways.

Ecosystem: A community of organisms and their physical environment interacting as an ecological unit

Erosion: Weathering away; the removal of land surface by water, ice, wind or other agents.

Eutrophication: Over enrichment of a water body with nutrients, resulting in excessive growth of organisms and reduction in oxygen.

Fauna: All the animal life in a particular region.

Feral: Used of a plant or animal that has reverted to the wild from a state of cultivation or domestication.

Flagship species: A species perceived favourably by the public for reasons of aesthetics or other value, used to promote and publicise habitat conservation.

Flood defence realignment: A strategy for coping with encroaching waters, particularly in reference to coastal areas affected by sea level rise, whereby waters are permitted to reposition often through the reclamation of previously drained land.

Flora: All the plant life in a particular region.

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Greater London: The geographical area encompassed by the 32 London boroughs and the City of London

Green corridors: Green corridors are relatively continuous areas of open space leading through the built environment, which may link sites to each other and to the Green Belt or Metropolitan Open Land. They often consist of railway embankments and cuttings, roadside verges, canals, parks and playing fields and rivers. They may allow animals and plants to be found further into the built-up area than would otherwise be the case and provide an extension to the habitats of the sites they join.

Habitats: The area or environment where an organism or ecological community normally lives or occurs: a fresh water habitat.

Heronry: A place where herons nest and breed.

The torpid or resting state in which some animals pass the winter; cessation from or slowing of activity during the winter; especially slowing of metabolism in some animals.

Invertebrate: An animal, such as an insect or mollusc that lacks a backbone or spinal column.

Larvae: The newly hatched, wingless, often wormlike form of many insects before metamorphosis.

Linear reedbeds: Reedbeds that are narrow and elongated with nearly parallel margins, often the surviving remnants of previously more widespread habitat.

Marginal habitats: Habitats located at, or constituting, a margin, border or edge.

Marginal plant: A plant species that occurs on the edge of habitat or community.

Mitigation: Any process or activity designed to avoid, reduce or remedy adverse environmental impacts likely to be caused by a development project. Mitigating factors are taken into account as a benefit on balance to offset against any perceived or demonstrable harmful impact

Monitoring: To keep track of systematically with a view to collecting information: monitor the bear population of a national park. To test or sample, especially on a regular or ongoing basis.

National Nature Reserves: Nature reserves designated by English Nature under the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act.

Native: Originating, growing, or produced in a certain place or region; indigenous.

Nutrient enrichment: See 'eutrophication'.

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Ornithologist: A branch of zoology; someone who studies birds.

Over-abstraction: With reference to rivers and streams, the act of abstracting or withdrawing water for agricultural and commercial use to a point which negatively affects natural water levels.

Parasitic: An organism that grows, feeds, and is sheltered on or in a different organism while contributing nothing to the survival of its host..

Pesticide: A chemical used to kill pests, especially insects.

Pioneer species: The first species or community to colonise a barren or disturbed area, thereby commencing a new ecological succession.

Plant communities: A group of plants living and interacting with one another in a specific region under relatively similar environmental conditions.

Precautionary principle: Where significant environmental damage may occur, but the knowledge on the matter is incomplete, decisions made and measures implemented should err on the site of caution.

Priority habitat: London's priority habitats, identified by the London Biodiversity Partnership, cover both areas defined particularly by their vegetation - as in Chalk grassland - and areas defined by their land use, such as Railway Linesides. There are 19 Priority Habitats and these aims to cover all of London's important wildlife areas.

Priority species: These are species that are chosen for priority action in biodiversity action planning, because they are under particu`lar threat or they are characteristic of a particular region, i.e. London. In London these have been listed in the first volume of the Partnership's London Biodiversity Action Plan.

Protected species: Certain plant and animal species are protected to various degrees in law, particularly the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended).

Range: The geographic region in which a plant or animal normally lives or grows.

Reintroduction: To introduce again a species which has become extinct within its former range.

Relict: An organism or species of an earlier time surviving in an environment that has undergone considerable change.

Riparian habitat: Habitat located on the banks of a river or stream.

Rodenticides: Substances used to destroy or inhibit the action of rats, mice, or other rodents.

Run-off/urban run-off: The build up of water occurring at ground surface level at times when rainfall cannot be absorbed by the soil, as particularly occurs in urban areas where the ground is covered by concrete and other non-permeable materials.

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Salinity: The saltiness or content of salt in a solution.

Scrub: A growth or tract of stunted vegetation.

Sedentary: Remaining or living in one area, as certain birds; not migratory.

Sustainable urban Drainage (SUDS) systems: Sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS) are concerned primarily with the drainage of rainwater from developed or urbanised areas, often involving the concept of rainwater re-use. SUDS is a concept that focuses decisions about drainage on the environment and people. When drainage systems take account of water quantity, water quality and amenity, then it is SUDS.

Sustainable Development: Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It is often summed up by the phrases 'think globally act locally' and 'don't cheat your children' .

Tidal tributaries: A stream that flows into a larger stream or other body of water during tide.

Translocation: The removal of things from one place to another; substitution of one thing for another.
Unitary Development Plan: Statutory plans produced by each borough which integrate strategic and local planning responsibilities through policies and proposals for development and use of land in their area. Now superseded by Local Development Plans.

Wet woodlands: Woodland occurring on poorly drained or seasonally wet soils, usually with alder, birch and willows as the predominant tree species, but sometimes including ash, oak, pine and beech on drier riparian areas. It is found on floodplains, as successional habitat on fens, mires and bogs, along streams and hillside flushes, and in peaty hollows.

Wetland: Lowland areas, such as marshes and swamps, that are saturated with moisture, the natural habitat of much wildlife.

Source: Definitions taken from Connecting with London's Nature, The Mayor'sBiodiversity Strategy 2002 ; and Lincoln, R. J et. Al (1982). A dictionary of ecology, evolution and systematics. Cambridge University Press.

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Laws, Conventions and Designations

Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB): There are 41 AONBs in England and Wales (36 wholly in England, 4 wholly in Wales and 1 which straddles the border). Created by the legislation of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act of 1949, AONBs represent 18% of the finest countryside in England and Wales. The care of AONB is the responsibility of the local authorities, organisations, community groups and individuals who live and work within them or who value them. An AONB is designated for the high quality of its flora, fauna, historical and cultural associations, or scenic views. The Countryside and Rights of Way Act, 2000 added further regulation and protection to AONBs.

Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, 1979: The Bern Convention - was adopted on September 1979 in Bern (Switzerland) and came into force on 1 June 1982. It now has 45, including the European Community, Monaco and four African States. The Convention aims to conserve wild flora and fauna and their natural habitats; to promote co-operation between states; and to give particular emphasis to endangered and vulnerable species, including endangered and vulnerable migratory species.

Birds Directive: See 'Natura 2000'

Bonn Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, 1979: The objective of the Bonn Convention is the conservation of migratory species worldwide, which is based on the recognition that wild animals require protection because of their importance from a wide range of viewpoints; environmental, ecological, genetic, scientific, aesthetic, recreational, cultural, educational, social and economic. The Bonn Convention's objective is to develop international co-operation with a view to the conservation of migratory species of wild animals.

Conservation (Natural Habitats &c.) Regulations, 1994: The Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994 transpose the Habitats Directive into domestic legislation. They apply to England, Wales and Scotland and their territorial seas up to 12 nautical miles from baseline. Northern Ireland has its own Regulations with the same coverage of territorial sea.

Countryside and Rights of Way Act, 2000 (CRoW): The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (also known as CRoW) amended the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981. It created a new statutory right of access to open country and registered common land, modernised the rights of way system, gave greater protection to Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), provided better management arrangements for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), and strengthened wildlife enforcement legislation. This scheme is due to be replaced by the Environmental Stewardship from 2005.

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Countryside Stewardship Scheme: A Government funded agri-environment scheme focusing on promoting environmental awareness and good practice with farmers.

Habitats Directive: See 'Natura 2000'.

Local Nature Reserves (LNR): Nature reserves designated by local authorities under the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act.

Natura 2000: Natura 2000 is the European Union-wide network of nature conservation sites established under the 1992 Council Directive on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (92/43/EEC) -'The EC Habitats Directive'. Natura 2000 comprises Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) designated under that Directive, and Special Protection Areas (SPAs) classified under the 1979 Council Directive on the conservation of wild birds (79/409/EEC) -'The EC Wild Birds Directive'. Designation of SACs and SPAs is the responsibility of each member state.

Ramsar Convention/ Ramsar site: The Convention on Wetlands, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971, is an intergovernmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international co-operation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. There are presently 138 Contracting Parties to the Convention, with 1369 wetland sites, totalling 119.6 million hectares, designated for inclusion in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance

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Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC): A series of sites identified originally by the Greater London Council, and then by the London Ecology Unit, London boroughs and Greater London Authority, chosen to represent the best wildlife habitats and emphasising the value of access for people. Sites are classified into Sites of Metropolitan Importance, Borough and Local Importance for Nature Conservation.

Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI): Sites of Special Scientific Interest can be either of biological or geological (or mixed) interest, notified by English Nature under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). More information about London's 36 SSSIs can be found on English Nature's website. All the London area is included within Sites of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation.

Special Areas of Conservation (SAC): Sites of European importance for habitats and species other than wild birds, designated under the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1992 in the UK. All the London area is included within Sites of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation.

Special Protection Areas (SPA): Sites of European importance for wild birds designated under the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c) Regulations, 1992 in the UK. All the London areas are included within Sites of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation.

Wild Mammals (protection) Act,1996: An Act to make provision for the protection of wild mammals from certain cruel acts, and for connected purposes.

Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981: TheThe Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 is the principle mechanism for the legislative protection of wildlife in Great Britain. Part I gives protection to listed flora and fauna; Part II deals with the protection of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Part III deals with Public Rights of Way.

Source: Definitions taken from Connecting with London's Nature, The Mayor'sBiodiversity Strategy 2002 ; and Lincoln, R. J et. Al (1982). A dictionary of ecology, evolution and systematics. Cambridge University Press.

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