Glossary

Glossary

  • Landscape
    Socio-ecological system that consists of natural and/or human-modified ecosystems, and which is influenced by distinct ecological, historical, economic and socio-cultural processes and activities.

    Landscape restoration
    A planned process that aims to regain ecological integrity and enhance human well-being in deforested, damaged or degraded land. Restoration is a process that initiates or accelerates the recovery of a degraded ecosystem with respect to its health, integrity and sustainability condition prior to disturbance.

    Sustainable development
    Development that meets the needs of the present population without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

    Land degradation
    Process in which the value of the biophysical environment is affected by a combination of deleterious human-induced processes acting upon the land. Land degradation refers to a decline in the quality of terrestrial ecosystems and reduced functioning of key ecosystem processes (energy, nutrient and water cycles), severely impacting nature, human well-being and societies as a whole.

    Soil erosion
    The accelerated removal of topsoil from the land surface through water, wind and tillage, increased by unsustainable human activities like intensive agriculture, deforestation, overgrazing and improper land use changes. 

    Climate change
    A change in global or regional climate patterns, in particular a change apparent from the mid to late 20th century onwards and attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels.

    Biodiversity loss
    The extinction of species of plants or animals worldwide, and also the local reduction or loss of species in a certain habitat.

    Deforestation
    The permanent destruction of forests in order to make the land available for other uses. An estimated of 7.3 million hectares of forests are lost worldwide each year, according to FAO (2018).

    Overgrazing
    The exposure of plants to intensive grazing for extended periods of time, or without sufficient recovery periods. It reduces the usefulness, productivity, and biodiversity of the land and is one cause of desertification and erosion. 

    Desertification
    Type of land degradation in which a relatively dry area of land becomes a desert, typically losing its bodies of water as well as vegetation and wildlife.

    Ecological functionality
    The capacity of ecosystems to be able to function according to their natural dynamic and stability. The ecological function relates to the biological, geochemical and physical processes and components that take place within an ecosystem and how their structural components (e.g. vegetation, water, soil, atmosphere and biota) interact with each other, maintaining its capacity to supply ecosystem services.

    Ecosystem services
    Benefits that people freely gain from the natural, properly-functioning agricultural, forest, grassland and aquatic ecosystems. Some of the main benefits are the provisioning of clean drinking water, the decomposition of wastes, and the natural pollination of crops and other plants.

    Types of ecosystem services
    Ecosystem services can be divided into provisioning services (food, water, wood, raw materials), regulating services (crops pollination, flood and disease control, water purification, prevention of soil erosion, sequestering carbon dioxide), cultural services (recreational, spiritual and educational services) and supporting services (nutrient cycling, maintenance of genetic diversity). 

    Ecosystem degradation
    The persistent reduction in the capacity of ecosystems to provide ecosystem services caused by the destruction of large natural environments. Ecosystem degradation is the result of natural and/or human behavior and has ripple effects, adversely affecting other ecosystems and human well-being.

    Carbon dioxide sequestration
    The process of capturing and storing carbon dioxide (the most commonly produced greenhouse gas) from the atmosphere with the aim to reduce global climate change.

    Conservation
    The sustainable use and management of natural resources including wildlife, water, air, and Earth deposits. The conservation of renewable resources, like trees, involves ensuring that they are not consumed faster than they can be replaced. The conservation of non-renewable resources, like fossil fuels, involves ensuring that sufficient quantities are maintained for future generations. 

    Preservation
    To maintain in their present condition areas of the Earth that are so far untouched by humans. Preservation promotes the protection of nature unrelated to the needs and interests of human beings, following the belief that every living creature has the right to exist and should be preserved. 

    Monocropping
    A single crop species or cultivar grown as a monoculture.

    Crop diversity
    The variance in genetic and phenotypic characteristics of plants used in agriculture. Crop diversity loss threatens global food security, as the world's human population depends on a diminishing number of varieties of a diminishing number of crop species.

    Biotope
    An area of uniform environmental conditions providing a living place for a specific assemblage of plants and animals. It is a synonym of habitat or biological community.

    Bonn Challenge
    A global effort to bring 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land into restoration by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030. The United Nations General Assembly declared 2021-2030 the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

    UN SDG 15.3
    United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 15.3 says: ‘By 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation neutral world’.

    Land degradation neutral world
    A state whereby the amount and quality of land resources, necessary to support ecosystem functions and services and enhance food security, remains stable or increases within specified temporal and spatial scales and ecosystems.

    CAP
    Common Agricultural Policy, is the agricultural policy of the European Union. It implements a system of agricultural subsidies since 1950 and has undergone several changes since then to consider rural development in its aims. 

  • Sustainable finance
    Any form of financial service integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria into the business or investment decisions for the lasting benefit of both clients and society at large.

    ESG
    The three factors determining the sustainable impact of investments in a business, meaning environmental (E), social (S) and corporate governance (G).

    Integrated value concept
    The total sum of financial, social and environmental capitals as a whole.

    Monetization
    To establish an asset or object as official medium of payment recognized by law. It is the process of turning a non-revenue-generating item into cash. Governments monetize debt to keep interest rates on borrowed money low and to avoid a financial crisis, while businesses monetize products and services to generate profit.

    Risk mitigation (mitigated risks)
    Strategy to prepare for and lessen the effects of threats faced by businesses. The principle of risk mitigation is to prepare a business for all potential risks, weighing the impact of each risk and prioritizing planning around that impact.

    Private investor
    Is a person or a private company (one whose shares are privately held and not traded on a stock market) that makes investments. 

    Public investor
    Company whose shares are traded on the stock market and regularly discloses certain business and financial information to the public.

    Institutional investor
    Large organizations such as banks, finance companies, insurance companies, labor union funds, mutual funds, and pension funds which have considerable cash reserves that need to be invested. 

    Externality
    The effect an activity imposes on an unrelated third party. Externalities can be positive or negative and can arise either on the production side, or on the consumption side. Governments and institutions often take actions to internalize externalities. 

    Natural capital
    The stock of renewable and non-renewable natural resources on Earth (e.g., plants, animals, air, water, soils, minerals) that combine to yield a flow of benefits or services to people, businesses and society as a whole. Individual or collective actions can build or degrade natural capital.

    Low carbon economy
    An economy based on low carbon power sources that has a minimal output of greenhouse gas (carbon dioxide) emissions into the biosphere. Continued emission of greenhouse gases may cause long-lasting changes around the world, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.

    Circular economy
    Economic system aimed at minimizing waste and making the most of resources. In a circular system resource input and waste, emission, and energy leakage are minimized by slowing, closing, and narrowing energy and material loops. This regenerative approach is aligned with a sustainable world, in which circular business models can be as profitable as traditional linear models. 

    Investment fund
    Supply of capital belonging to numerous investors used to collectively purchase securities while each investor retains ownership and control of his own shares. An investment fund provides a broader selection of investment opportunities, greater management expertise and lower investment fees than investors might be able to obtain on their own. Types of investment funds include mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, money market funds and hedge funds.

    Equity investor
    People or institution that invest money into a company in exchange for a share of ownership in the company. Equity investors have no guarantee of a return on their investment, and may lose their money should the company go out of business. In the event that the company is liquidated, the equity investor may be entitled to a share of the assets.

    Commercial viability
    The ability of a business, product, or service to compete effectively with its competitors, deliver to market standards and make profits.

    Tenure insecurity
    The uncertainty regarding a land tenure system that determine who can use what resources, for how long, and under what conditions. The rules of tenure define how property rights of land are allocated within societies, how access is granted, and the rights to use, control, and transfer land, as well as associated responsibilities and restraints. 

    Certification
    Independent assessment declaring that specified requirements pertaining to a product, person, process, business or management system have been met.

    Development finance
    Efforts of local communities to support, encourage and catalyze expansion through public and private investment in physical development, redevelopment and/or business and industry. It is the act of contributing to a project or deal that benefit the long-term health of the community.

    Philanthropic fund
    Philanthropic foundation, nongovernmental, or nonprofit organization with assets provided by donors and managed by its own officials and with income expended for socially useful purposes.

    Blended finance
    The strategic use of development finance for the mobilization of additional finance towards sustainable development in developing countries. Also, the use of public or philanthropic capital to spur private sector investment in projects aimed at achieving sustainable development goals.

    Risk of a project
    Any unexpected event that can affect a project. Projects usually include risk assessments considering the timeframe, probability, impact, and triggers for the risk event. 

    Responsible investing
    Approach to investing that aims to incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into investment decisions, to better manage risk and generate sustainable, long-term returns.

    Green bond
    A fixed income instrument that represents a loan made by an investor to a borrower (typically corporate or governmental) specifically allocated to be used for climate and environmental projects. Green bonds are intended to encourage sustainability and to support climate-related or other types of special environmental projects. 

    Asset class
    Grouping of investments that exhibit similar characteristics and are subject to the same laws and regulations. Three main asset classes are equities (stocks), fixed income (bonds) and cash equivalent or money market instruments.

    Financial analysis
    Process of evaluating businesses, projects, budgets and other finance-related entities to determine their performance and suitability. Financial analysis is used to analyze whether an entity is stable, solvent, liquid or profitable enough to warrant a monetary investment.

    LDN Fund
    Land Degradation Neutrality Fund is a USD 300 million fund based on public-private partnerships for landscape restoration.