Appendix B: Glossary

Biomass: the quantity or mass of organic material that is produced by or derived from living or recently living organisms, including products from forestry, agriculture and fisheries.

Carbon cycle: the continuous process by which carbon flows among the atmosphere, land, water and biota.

Carbon sequestration: the process of removing atmospheric CO2, through biological processes (e.g., photosynthesis), geological processes (e.g., formation of limestone) or through dissolution in oceans.

Cultural services: the services generated from the physical setting and location of ecosystems and that give rise to emotional, intellectual and symbolic benefits that people obtain from ecosystems through recreation, knowledge development, relaxation, and spiritual reflection.

Dependable agricultural land: agricultural land classes 1 through 3 in the Canada Land Inventory. These classes include all land areas that are not hampered by severe constraints for crop production.

Ecosystem goods and services: the tangible goods (e.g., fish, timber) and less tangible services (e.g., clean air, productive soil) that arise from ecosystem structures and functions and that provide benefits to people.

Ecosystem processes and functions: the services performed by ecosystems such as energy flow, photosynthesis, nutrient cycling, filtering, sequestration and breakdown of contaminants, or regulation of populations.

Ecosystems: the ecological communities of living species that interact with their environment and function as a unit. For accounting purposes, the concept is generalized, with ecosystems defined as the area where living species interact among themselves and with their environment.

Ecumene: inhabited land where people have made their permanent home, and all work areas that are considered occupied and used for agricultural or any other economic purpose.

Farm area: the category ‘Total farm area’ from the Census of Agriculture—this includes the following land use categories: cropland, summerfallow, tame or seeded pasture, natural pasture and ‘all other land.’

Farmland: land that is used for agriculture, including cropland, summerfallow and pasture lands.

Greenhouse gas emission intensity: the volume of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted per unit of production.

Land cover: description of the physical nature of the land’s surface, land cover classes are derived from satellite imagery.

Land use: the dominant activity taking place on an area of land (agriculture, residences, etc.).

Natural and naturalizing land area; natural and naturalizing landscapes: land area including forests, wetlands, barrenlands, grasslands and shrublands that is classified as having predominantly natural or naturalizing characteristics. Naturalizing land areas have previously been modified from their natural state, but have been left undisturbed and are transitioning to a more natural land cover (e.g., cleared land reverting to forest area). The new natural state may or may not be similar to the original natural land cover.

Provisioning services: the ‘goods’ in ecosystem goods and services (EGS)—they reflect the material and energy provided by ecosystems; for example, timber, fish, or plants that have a particular socio-economic use.

Regulating services: ecosystem services that regulate climatic, hydrological and bio-chemical cycles, as well as biological processes.

Renewable water: the volume of water that supplies aquifers and/or surface water bodies that is replenished in an average year by precipitation.

Riparian: related to or located on the banks of a river, stream, lake or other body of water.

Runoff: the portion of precipitation and melt from snowpack and glaciers that, by a variety of paths above and below the surface of the ground, reaches the stream channel. Once it enters a stream channel, runoff becomes streamflow.

Streamflow: the rate at which a volume of water passes a given point in a stream.

Value, values: expression of significance or importance; can include material or monetary worth determined by the amount, relative worth, utility, or importance of an item.

Watershed: area draining naturally to a water course or other given point.

Water use: is the amount of water withdrawn from water resources to support society in both the economic and residential sectors.

Water yield: the quantity of freshwater produced within a given area, e.g., a watershed.

Wetlands: lands transitional between terrestrial and aquatic systems where the water table is usually or seasonally at or near the surface or the land is covered by shallow water. Includes organic and mineral wetlands and can be further subdivided into five classes: marshes, swamps, bogs, fens, and shallow open waters.

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