The world of biodiversity is full of phrases and words that you may not have come across before. We have tried to keep our webpages as simple as possible but sometimes we have had to use some of these phrases and words - read on for some simple explanations (listed alphabetically):
afforestation: the process by which an area of land becomes forested - either artificially (through planting) or naturally.
ancient woodland: woodlands that have existed since around 1600 AD. These often support a wide range of species, especially ground flora.
biodiversity: a shortened version of the phrase biological diversity referring to the variety of life on Earth.
Bronze Age: the period of history, from about 3,000 to 1,000 BC, when people made tools and weapons from bronze.
carr woodland: a type of wet woodland which occurs on poorly drained or seasonally wet soils and is typically composed of alder, willow or birch.
carnivorous: a creature that eats meat.
coppicing: a traditional form of woodland management, where trees (e.g. hazel) are cut back (coppiced)to the base to allow multiple stems to sprout.
Cretaceous: a geological period of time which extended from 136 to 72 million years ago. Named after the Greek word for chalk - creta, due to the fact that in Northern Europe and part of the mid-western United States the period id characterised by the unique white limestone known as Chalk.
Devonian: a geological period of time, which extended from 395 to 345 million years ago. Named after the county of Devon in south-west England. The rocks known as Old Red Sandstones were deposited in this geological period.
eutrophic: water that is high in nutrients resulting in rich plant life, which in turn often supports rich fauna e.g. fish, invetrebrates and birds.
eutrophication: the process by which water bodies can become enriched in nutrients (e.g. artificially through run-off from farmed land).
fragmentation: the process by which large habitat blocks become split up (fragmented) into smaller (and often less viable) sites, e.g. by expansion of towns and villages, the development of roads etc.
Habitat Action Plans (HAPs): action plans produced, as part of the Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) process, to protect and enhance habitats (e.g. limestone pavement and rivers and streams).
insectivorous: a species that consumes insects.
Iron Age: the period of history, from about 1,000 BC, which followed the Bronze Age, when people made weapons and tools out of iron.
Local Records Centre (LRC): an organisation that collates, shares and utilises the wealth of biological data and knowledge available in a local area, to ensure that decisions which may affect local biodiversity are made in the light of best available knowledge.
major species groups: all species are classified together into larger groups such as the mammals (this groups includes humans), birds, insects, plants etc.
Mesolithic: the middle period of the Stone Age, which extended from about 12,000 to 3,000 BC in Europe.
Neolithic: the later period of the Stone Age, which extended from about 40,000 to 2,400 BC in Europe, characterised by the manufacture of polished stone tools (neo - from the Greek word neos = new + lithos, Greek for stone).
Ordovician: a geological period of time, which extended from 500 to 435 million years ago. Named after the Ordovices - an ancient Celtic tribe of central Wales.
Permian: a geological period of time which extended from 280 to 225 million years ago. Named by a distinguished Scottish geologist called Roderick Murchison in 1841, after the province of Perm in Russia.
sedimentation: the process by which sediments, such as muds and silts, are deposited at a site, e.g. by floodwaters.
Species Action Plans (SAPs): action plans produced, as part of the Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) process, to protect and enhance species populations (e.g. water voles and red wood ants).
Species Statements (SSs): have been written for species for which we have little information at present e.g. population size].
species-poor: refers to habitats (such as grasslands) which have poor species diversity. This may be due to agricultural intensification, such as application of fertilisers or inappropriate grazing (either too much or too little) or due to other factors.
sustainable development: development which meets the need of people today whilst taking into account the impact the development will have on the environment, both today and in the future.
Triassic: a geological period of time which extended from 225 to 195 million years ago.
veteran tree: a tree that is of interest biologically, culturally or aesthetically because of its age, size or condition.