Glossary

Annuals Plants that usually germinate, flower, and die in a year or season
Biodiversity The variety of life on Earth and the natural patterns it forms. This diversity is often understood in terms of the wide variety of plants, animals, and micro-organisms.
Biomass Biological material derived from living, or recently living organisms. In the context of biomass for energy this is often used to mean plant based material, but biomass can equally apply to both animal and vegetable derived material.
Calamarian grassland Metal rich, typical of lead mining areas
Calcerous grassland Alkaline grasslands
Carbon sequestration A geo-engineering technique for the long-term storage of carbon dioxide or other forms of carbon, for the mitigation of global warming.
Contamination The presence of a constituent in another chemical or mixture, often at the trace level.
Ecosystem Complex of living organisms, their physical environment, and all their inter-relationships in a particular unit of space.
Ecosystem services Services provided by the natural environment that benefit people. While there is no single, agreed method of categorising all ecosystem services, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment framework is widely accepted and is seen as a useful starting point. Ecosystem services provide outputs or outcomes that directly and indirectly affect human well being.
Energy crops A plant grown as a low cost and low maintenance harvest used to make biofuels, or directly exploited for its energy content.
Greenhouse gas A gas that contributes to the greenhouse effect by absorbing infrared radiation.
Green Infrastructure (urban) A planned and managed network of natural environmental components and green spaces that intersperse and connect urban areas and the rural fringe to support ecosystems
Heathland A tract of level wasteland; uncultivated land with sandy soil and scrubby vegetation.
Lichens A fungus, usually of the class Ascomycetes, that grows symbiotically with algae, resulting in a composite organism that characteristically forms a crust-like or branching growth on rocks or tree trunks.
Liverworts Any of numerous small, green, nonvascular plants of the division Marchantiophyta, growing in moist environments and consisting of either a leafy mosslike structure or a flat thallus that is often lobed.
Methanogenesis (or biomethanation) The formation of methane by microbes known as methanogens.
Open Mosaic Habitat

If a site is greater than 0.25 hectares in size it may qualify as an Open Mosaic Habitat.

To determine if a site qualifies as an Open Mosaic Habitat the following elements need to be determined:

  • Is there a known history of disturbance at the site or evidence that soil has been removed or severely modified by previous use(s) of the site. Extraneous materials/substrates such as industrial spoil may have been added.
  • What vegetation exists on the site? This will comprise early successional communities consisting mainly of stress tolerant species (e.g. indicative of low nutrient status or drought). Early successional communities are composed of

a) annuals 
b) mosses/liverworts
c) lichens
d) ruderals
e) inundation species
f) open grassland
g) flower-rich grassland.

  • Is all or part of the site unvegetated with loose bare substrate and pools?
  • Does the site show spatial variation, forming a mosaic of one or more of the early successional communities plus bare substrate?
Open spaces

Any piece of open land or water body, public or private, within or adjoining to an urban area. It provides opportunities for rest and recreation, wildlife habitats and movement. 

Open spaces can include:

  • parks and gardens
  • woodlands and gardens
  • public paths and disused railway lines
  • allotments
  • spaces for sport and play
  • grassed areas as well as open surfaced areas
  • cemeteries
  • river and canal corridors
  • lakes, ponds and water features.
Phytoremediation Using plants to remove, transfer, stabilise and destroy contaminants in soil and sediment
PM10 (particulate matter or fine particles) Tiny subdivisions of solid or liquid matter suspended in a gas or liquid.

Particles can vary widely in size and composition. The PM10 (particles measuring 10 or less) standard was designed to identify those particles likely to be inhaled by humans, and PM10 has become the generally accepted measure of particulate material in the atmosphere in the UK and in Europe.

Previously developed land (PDL): Any site that has been previously used for development of buildings or infrastructure facilities, excluding agriculture and forestry, that is no longer required for that use but where no restoration work has taken place to return the site to its previous condition or to an alternative use.
Ruderals: Weedy and commonly introduced plant growing where the vegetational cover has been interrupted.
Slag: The vitreous mass left as a residue by the smelting of metallic ore.
Successional: In agriculture, succession planting refers to several planting methods that increase crop availability during a growing season by making efficient use of space and timing.