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Glossary

An index that measures the abundance of three macroinvertebrategroups, Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera. These groups are particularly sensitive to water pollution.

The process of a substance becoming more acid (below pH7).

The natural or physical features of an area or thing that contribute to people’s appreciation of it, such as its visual appeal. Aesthetic quality of freshwater refers to whether the water’s appearance is appealing to a drinker or user of it (that is, whether it looks clear and clean).

The process of establishing a forest on land that is not a forest, or has not been a forest for a long time, by planting trees or their seeds for commercial use or any other purpose.

Mixture of fine soil particles held together in a single mass.

The stability of soil aggregates or particles.

A synthetic substance used in agricultural and horticultural activity to eradicate, modify, or control selected plants and animals.

Small, often microscopic plants. Freshwater algae grow in the water or on rocks on river and lake beds and shores. Large quantities of algae can cause algal blooms.

A rapid increase in the population of algae in an aquatic system. Blooms can reduce the amount of light and oxygen available to other aquatic life and may be toxic if ingested by humans (or an irritant to skin and eyes).

The maximum volume of water that may be taken from freshwater sources by resource consent holders. See also consumptive water use.

The quality of the air in the surrounding outdoor environment.

Covers two forms of nitrogen: ammonia and ammonium. Animal waste (particularly from humans and farmed animals such as sheep and cows) is the major source in New Zealand waterways.

The commercial farming of fish, shellfish, or aquatic plants.

An underground rock formation that stores water, most commonly one that stores sufficient quantities of water for people to use. See also confined and unconfined aquifer.

Cultivation activities on arable soil.

Soil that is suitable for cropping.

A group of marine animals, which includes sea squirts. These soft, boneless filter feeders are found all over the world.

Fish species for which there is enough information to quantitatively measure the status of the stock.

The process by which particles suspended in the air are transported and deposited on a distant land or water surface.

Micro-organisms, some of which are harmful to humans.

The reuse of a material or substance that would otherwise be disposed of to a landfill or cleanfill.

Found in or on the bottom sediments of a stream, river, lake, or ocean.

The supply of resources from a given area of biologically productive land or sea (contrasted with the ecological footprint, which is a measure of the demand on those resources). Biocapacity can be varied by physical conditions and by human actions, including changing ecosystem management and agricultural practices, technology improvements (such as fertiliser use and irrigation), ecosystem degradation, and weather.

A measure of the amount of organic pollution in water.

A fuel that can be produced from vegetable oil or animal fat and used as a substitute or partial substitute for diesel.

Variation of life at all levels of biological organisation on earth, including diversity of genes, species, and ecosystems.

Fuel that is derived from biomass (recently living organisms such as wood) or their metabolic by-products (such as tallow from cows). Biofuels are a renewable energy source.

Energy produced from the anaerobic digestion of sewage and industrial waste, including landfill gas and sewage.

An area that is defined according to patterns of ecological and physical characteristics in the seascape.

Total weight of the organisms of a population inhabiting a given area.

The biological and physical features of the environment.

Measures taken to protect a nation’s food supply, agricultural resources, and natural environment from introduced pest species and other unwanted organisms.

A by-product of sewage collection and treatment processes that is treated and/or stabilised so it can be beneficially reused. Also known as sewage sludge.

Marine animal with paired shells that protect the soft animal inside. Bivalves include mussels, scallops, cockles, oysters, and clams.

Tuberculosis in cattle, caused by the aerobic bacterium Mycobacterium bovis, which can jump species to cause the disease in humans.

Where the concentration of a pollutant fails to meet what a national environmental standard permits.

Herbivorous animals that generally feed on high-growing plants rather than grasses.

Usually a shrub or small tree such as gorse that is undesirable for livestock consumption or timber production.

A colony of bryozoans, certain species of very small aquatic invertebrate animals.

Fish, birds, and marine mammals that fishers catch unintentionally.

A layer of vegetation in a forest, often formed by trees.

A measure of the effects of human activities on the climate in terms of the total amount of greenhouse gases they produce (measured in units of carbon dioxide).

A colourless and odourless gas produced by incomplete burning of carbon-containing fuels such as wood, coal, petrol, and diesel.

An area where the rate of carbon uptake by living organisms exceeds the rate of carbon released from other parts of the carbon cycle. The main carbon sinks are the world’s oceans and forests. See also forest sink.

The weight of an animal after skinning and gutting, when it is ready for consumption.

The maximum population that a particular area of land or sea is able to support indefinitely.

An area of land from which water from rainfall drains toward a common watercourse, stream, river, lake, or estuary.

The 25 km2 divisions of New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) used to report accurately on trawl effort.

A data series that has been chain-linked – a method of linking individual data figures together using a regularly re-weighted system, to produce a long-term time series.

Halocarbon chemical carbons that contain only chlorine, fluorine, and carbon atoms. CFCs are both ozone-depleting substances and greenhouse gases.

A waste disposal site that accepts only inert wastes such as clay, soil, rock, concrete, and bricks which, when buried, will have no adverse effect on people or the environment.

Statistically significant long-term changes in climatic conditions on a regional or global scale. The term refers to changes in the natural pattern of climatic variability over time periods ranging from decades to millions of years.

A combination of the Coastal Biogeographic Regions and Marine Environment Classification systems, used to report on the state of New Zealand’s marine environment.

A classification dividing New Zealand into 13 coastal biogeographic regions based on large variations in physical and biological characteristics. It is used for the coastal marine environment (that is, waters less than 200 metres deep).

The transition area between ocean and land, such as shallow coastal waters, beaches, dunelands, lowland rivers, estuaries, saltmarsh, and adjacent land areas.

Seawater extending from the coast to 12 nautical miles offshore. Coastal waters also include seawater in estuaries, fiords, inlets, harbours, and bays.

The simultaneous or sequential production of two or more forms of useful energy from a single primary energy source – for example, electricity and thermal energy such as heat or steam for industrial or commercial heating or cooling.

Waste generated by the activities of a commercial business or industry.

A group of organisms sharing an environment.

Recycling services provided by local authorities for a community, including kerbside collections and drop-off facilities.

The destruction of soil structure by heavy vehicles (such as tractors) or by livestock.

The measure of how much of a given substance there is mixed with another substance. Usually related to fluids, it is the amount of material in a solution in relationship to the amount of solvent, expressed as the ratio.

An aquifer that is ‘closed’ to the land surface; that is, it has a low-permeability upper layer such as clay or silt that prevents it from being directly replenished by rainfall. See also unconfined aquifer.

Preserving, guarding, or protecting a resource, and/or keeping it safe or intact. The term also refers to the wise use of natural resources.

See real.

Waste generated from building activities, including the preparation and/or clearance of a property or site. Materials such as clay, soil, and rock are excluded when they are associated with infrastructure such as road construction and maintenance, but building-related infrastructure is included.

The amount of energy consumed by final users. It excludes energy used or lost in the process of transforming energy into other forms and in bringing the energy to the final consumers. For example, natural gas is a primary energy source, some of which is transformed into electricity of which some is lost in transmission to consumers.

The acquisition and/or use of materials, goods, and services to provide utility. In an environmental context, the use of ecological resources in the production of goods and services and their final use by individuals or organisations. A consumed good or service embodies all the resources, including energy, that were needed to provide it to the consumer.

Water that is consumed or not returned directly to the source from which it was taken (for example, drinking water or irrigation supply). Non-consumptive uses do not result in significant losses of water (for example, the water used in hydro-electric power generation, which is returned downstream from where it is taken).

Recreational activities that bring people physically in contact with water, involving a risk of involuntary ingestion or inhalation of water.

Any substance (including gases, odorous compounds, liquids, solids, and micro-organisms) or energy (excluding noise), or heat, that results in an undesirable change to the physical, chemical, or biological environment. Also called pollutant.

Land or a site that has been exposed to a hazardous substance that has the potential to damage the environment.

Underwater land that runs from the shore to where the sea floor drops away sharply to the deep ocean floor.

The agricultural preparation of soil for growing crops.

A landscape that has been modified by people and is associated with heritage or aesthetic/amenity values.

Customary rights, prestige, and authority over land. For the purposes of the Resource Management Act 1991, mana whenua means customary authority exercised by an iwi or a hapū in an identified area.

Non-commercial fishing (that is, the fish caught may not be traded) within a customary use area managed by iwi and hapū. Guardians appointed by iwi, hapū, and the Minister of Fisheries can issue anyone a permit to fish in their customary use area.

Restrictions requested by tangata whenua, including rāhui, mātaitai, and taiāpure reserves.

Dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane, an insecticide that is also toxic to humans, it may no longer be legally used in New Zealand.

The term for decreasing the dependency between variables. Often used in reference to economic production and environmental quality, to mean the ability of an economy to grow without corresponding increases in environmental pressure.

In technical terms, water that is 200 metres deep or deeper.

The removal of forest from a landscape.

Living on or near the bottom of a body of water.

The geographic distribution, composition, and environmental conditions of particular demersal fish communities. This classification was developed using an extensive set of research data about trawling.

The combined characteristics of a population, such as average age, sex ratio, marital status, family size, education, occupation, and geographic location.

Products that are designed and managed to cause minimal environmental impact through their manufacture, use, recovery, and disposal. See also greener design.

A species of single-celled algae that grow in warm and shallow fresh water. It can form large mats on the bottom of lakes, rivers, and streams, affecting stream habitats and fish food sources, and making recreational activities unpleasant.

A boiler fuelled by diesel oil.

A device that breaks down pollutants in the exhaust stream of diesel vehicles into less harmful components.

The by-products of various industrial processes (such as bleaching paper pulp, and chemical and pesticide manufacture) and combustion activities (such as burning rubbish, forest fires, and waste incineration).

The oxygen content of water.

The soluble form of the nutrient phosphorus, which is readily available for use by plants.

In biology, the geographical area within which a species can be found. Also referred to as range.

In reference to waste, diverting from landfill or cleanfill to other destinations, typically for reuse, recycling, or to recover materials.

A measure of atmospheric ozone, specifically ozone in the stratospheric ozone layer. One Dobson unit refers to a layer of ozone that is 10 µm thick under standard temperature and pressure.

Materials recycled by householders through kerbside collection or at drop-off facilities.

Road, off-road, and rail land transport, coastal shipping, and national air transport. International transport is excluded.

The distance between the two trawl doors of a fishing trawler – effectively, the width of a single trawl sweep.

Driving force-Pressure-State-Impact-Response model, which shows how human activity (also known as a driver or driving force) exerts pressure on the environment and, as a result, changes the state of the environment. It includes human responses to these changes to alter the driving force in some way. (See chapter 1, ‘Environmental reporting’.)

A means of harvesting bivalve molluscs such as oysters, clams, and scallops from the seabed. The fishing vessel tows a metal-framed basket (dredge), raking the catch from the sea floor into the basket.

Specific sites provided for local communities to drop off materials for recycling.

Natural density, the weight of dry soil per unit of volume, usually expressed in g/cm3.

Sheep, beef, deer, and other farming activities that occur on pasture.

Bacteria that indicate the presence of faecal matter, and therefore risk of disease, in freshwater. See also recreational water quality.

A slow-flowing mass of fine-grained soil particles saturated with water.

The difference between the ecological footprints of exported and imported goods and services.

The variety of ecosystems in a particular geographic area, and the communities within them and actions between them.

A measure of how much biologically productive land and sea area is needed by an individual, population, or activity to compensate for all the resources consumed and to absorb the carbon dioxide emissions it generates as waste. This is calculated using prevailing technology and resource management practices, and is usually measured in global hectares. Because trade is global, an individual’s or a country’s footprint includes contributions that have been imported from all over the world.

All plants, animals, and micro-organisms in a particular area, interacting with all of that environment’s non-living physical factors. Ecosystems may be small and short-lived (for example, water-filled tree holes or logs rotting on a forest floor), or large and long-lived (such as forests or lakes).

An element that is toxic to the environment, or to a particular ecosystem; and, for substances, capable of harming the environment.

Harmful to ecosystems or to the wider environment.

Liquid waste that enters the environment from a farm, factory, commercial establishment, or household. It can refer to livestock’s urine or manure, but generally refers to wastewater from a sewage treatment plant.

The process of producing electricity by transforming other forms of energy.

Any electrical or electronic appliance that is unwanted and/or unvalued, and discarded or discharged.

During an El Niño phase of ENSO, New Zealand tends to experience stronger or more frequent winds from the west in summer, typically leading to drought in east coast areas and more rain in the west.

A pollutant that is released into the atmosphere; its concentration will depend on how the pollutant disperses in the atmosphere.

An estimate of the quantity of pollutants being released into the atmosphere.

A species that is at risk of becoming extinct because it is either few in number or threatened by changes in the environment.

In biology and ecology, something that is found only in its own place or region, and does not naturally occur anywhere else. The place must be a discrete geographical unit – often an island or island group, but sometimes a country, habitat type, or other defined area or zone. (The term ‘endemic’ may sometimes be applied to species that breed only within a specified locality/region and are unique to that area, such as species that breed only in New Zealand, but disperse to other countries at certain stages of their life cycle.)

The occurrence of plant or animal species (termed endemic) which are naturally found only in a specified area or locality.

Power derived from physical or chemical resources to produce light, heat, or movement.

The ratio of total useful output to energy input.

The process of transforming energy from its initial state (primary energy) into a more convenient, useable state (consumer energy).

Used to minimise leachate from entering and contaminating surface and groundwater systems.

El Niño Southern Oscillation is synonymous with the El Niño/La Niña cyclical weather patterns. An interaction between the tropical Pacific Ocean and the global atmosphere that results in irregular (two to seven years) oscillations in ocean and atmospheric conditions, often with significant impacts, such as altered marine habitats, rainfall changes, floods, droughts, and changes in storm patterns. See also El Niño and La Niña.

Bacteria that occur naturally in the gut of humans and animals, including mammals, birds, fish, and reptiles, which are useful indicators of the extent of faecal contamination of recreational waters.

A physical, chemical, or biological variable (or set of variables), generally quantitative, that may be used to describe complex environmental information, including trends and progress over time.

Providing information on the environmental status of an area, or a particular environmental aspect, such as air, waste, or water.

The wearing away of land by the actions of water, wind, or ice.

A semi-enclosed coastal body of water with an open connection to the sea and within which sea water mixes with freshwater from land run-off, usually a river.

Where the concentration of a pollutant exceeds a national environmental standard or a guideline.

The area of sea and seabed beyond coastal waters, from 12 to 200 nautical miles offshore.

Introduced from another country.

Introduced cone-bearing trees.

Contact with a chemical, physical, or biological agent that can have either a harmful or beneficial effect.

An extension of the continental shelf that includes some of the deep ocean floor. The extent of New Zealand’s ECS is currently being considered by the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.

In biology and ecology, the demise of a species that results in biodiversity being reduced. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be marked by the death of the last individual of that species.

Particles of animal dung or human faeces, which carry bacteria that can be harmful if ingested. See also sewage and E. coli.

Chemical containers and silage wrap used on farms; these are dangerous to burn or bury on the farm, and if not properly managed can be hazardous if disposed of to landfills.

All animal species present, especially in a particular country, region, or time.

A mat made up of plant root fibres.

Any fish, seaweed, or other aquatic life of one or more species that are treated as a unit for the purposes of fisheries management.

A general term that covers the fishers, vessels, and fishing gear involved in catching fish from a particular fish stock. It also refers to the fishing grounds and catch.

From 1 October to 30 September of the following year.

A plain that borders a river and is subject to flooding.

All plant species present, especially in a particular country, region, or time.

The feeding relationships (also called food webs and food networks) between species in an ecological community. It graphically represents the transfer of material and energy from one species to another within an ecosystem.

The ability of a forest to remove a greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. In New Zealand, forests are the primary carbon sink.

Coal, natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), crude oil or a fuel derived from crude oil (including petrol and diesel), so called because they have been formed from ancient organic matter over long periods of time.

The controlled burning of solid, liquid, or gaseous fossil fuels to generate heat or energy.

An emission that escapes during the production and processing, transport, storage, transmission, and distribution of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas.

The exchange of oxygen (O2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) that occurs in the respiratory system.

A soft-bodied animal, which is often protected by a shell. Marine gastropods include sea snails, sea hares, limpets, abalones, turbans, and tritons.

Published in the New Zealand Gazette as an official record, which may appear before a change (such as the creation of a national park) takes effect legally.

An area, formally notified in the New Zealand Gazette, that is likely or known to have unacceptable levels of pollutants, or may require air quality management.

The genetic variety found among individuals of a single species.

Data and information that can be related to a specific location or set of points on land, in water, in air, or in the atmosphere, and represented on a map. Geospatial data is used in a geographic information system (GIS), which is a software programme for analysing data and creating maps.

The study of the earth’s outer layer, including the minerals and rocks it is made of, and the physical forces that affect its development and appearance.

Spatial representation of geographic information.

The action of glaciers.

A local hectare that is adjusted to allow comparisons of ecological footprints with other countries, such as its ability to produce resources and absorb wastes in a given year against a world average. For example, a hectare of New Zealand grazing land is 2.5 times more productive than the global average. The use of global hectares recognises that different land types have different productivity – for instance, a hectare of highly productive land represents more global hectares than the same amount of less productive land.

Waste produced by both commercial and domestic gardening activities, also known as garden waste.

The design of products to be environmentally sustainable, which conform to environmentally sound principles of building, material, and energy use.

Atmospheric gas such as water vapour, carbon dioxide, tropospheric ozone, nitrous oxide and methane, transparent to incoming solar radiation but opaque to reradiated long-wave radiation.

The value of all goods and services produced in New Zealand during a specified time period.

A colourless and odourless gas that is a secondary pollutant. It differs from atmospheric ozone (see chapter 8, ‘Atmosphere’) as it occurs at ground level. Examples of pollutants that form ozone are oxides of nitrogen and volatile organic compounds caused by transport, home heating, and industrial processes.

Water that flows beneath the land surface through pores and fissures in rock and soil. Permeable underground zones where groundwater accumulates are known as aquifers. See also confined aquifer and unconfined aquifer.

A pipe installed vertically in the ground through which groundwater is pumped to the surface.

Erosion caused by run-off water accumulating in narrow channels and creating large gullies.

The area where a particular species lives – essentially, the natural environment that surrounds, influences, and is used by a species population.

A chemical compound containing carbon atoms and one or more atoms of the halogens chlorine, fluorine, bromine, or iodine. Used widely in fire extinguishers, as propellants, and in solvents. Halocarbons have negative environmental effects such as ozone depletion and are also greenhouse gases.

Chemical compounds containing bromine that have long lifetimes and, when broken down in the atmosphere, are known to cause depletion of ozone.

A Māori sub-tribal group made up of whānau groups that share a common ancestor.

Having the capacity to adversely affect either health or the environment.

A compilation of activities and industries that are considered likely to contaminate land through their use, storage, or disposal of hazardous substances.

Includes but is not limited to any substance defined in section 2 of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 as hazardous.

Materials that are flammable, explosive, oxidising, corrosive, toxic, ecotoxic, radioactive, or infectious. Examples include solvents and cleaning fluids, medical waste, unused agricultural chemicals, and many industrial wastes.

A plant with soft rather than woody tissues.

An authority that can direct local councils to protect the special heritage qualities of a place or structure under the district plan.

An area of introduced grass species used for production processes that create a high level of value or wealth.

The European Environment Agency has referred to this term as including all the people who occupy a housing unit. According to Statistics New Zealand, a household includes any number of people usually residing together in a private dwelling, including members who are temporarily elsewhere, but not including visitors. Note that the national accounts data used in chapter 3, ‘Household consumption’, for household consumption expenditure, and the number of households in New Zealand, also includes non-private dwellings such as hospitals and boarding houses.

The amount of money spent by households on goods and services.

A vehicle with an internal combustion engine (using petrol or diesel) providing power to the wheels while also charging a battery. An electric motor then uses the stored energy in the battery to move the vehicle at low speeds and while accelerating. The dual or ‘hybrid’ drive train uses less fuel than a conventional vehicle.

A defined area of water and its associated marginal land or underlying sea floor, river bed, or lake bed.

Native, or belonging naturally to a given region or ecosystem, as opposed to exotic or introduced (can be used for people, animal, or plant species or even mineral resources).

Not affecting other substances when in contact with them, chemically inactive.

An increase in the general or average level of prices of goods and services over a period of time.

The area extending from the shore out to deep waters.

Decisions on the use of land, water, and other environmental resources based on the effect of that use on all those resources, and on all the people within a designated catchment boundary.

In agriculture, an increase in the stocking rate of animals, or an increase in the level of production from a given area of land.

The area where land and sea meet, which is covered by seawater at high tide, and exposed at low tide.

Value that is not dependent on monetary value or usefulness, but a natural part of the item itself.

A species that is not native to a given place, but has been transported there as a result of human activity.

Non-indigenous species of plants or animals that adversely affect the habitats they invade economically, or environmentally, or in another way.

An animal that has no backbone or spinal column. Opposite of vertebrate.

In horticulture and agriculture, water provided by a sprinkler system to promote plant growth.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resource (now the World Conservation Union) produces a Red List of Threatened Species with information about animal species groups, including their conservation status. Its main purpose is ‘to catalogue and highlight those groups that are facing a higher risk of global extinction’.

A Māori tribal group.

A zone governed by a specific legal regime. Each of New Zealand’s three marine jurisdictional zones – territorial sea, Exclusive Economic Zone, and extended continental shelf – has its own different legal regime.

An iwi, hapū, or whānau group with responsibility for kaitiakitanga.

The guardianship of natural and physical resources by the iwi or hapū of an area, in keeping with tikanga Māori.

Recycling services provided to local communities through the collection of recycled materials directly from households.

A weather pattern that frequently affects New Zealand, typically bringing stronger winds and warmer than normal temperatures to much of the country. See also ENSO and El Niño.

The proportion of lambs born to the breeding stock (ewes).

The physical material at the earth’s surface, including grass, asphalt, trees, bare ground, and water.

An official document that gives information about land within a territorial authority’s district. LIM information will include any building consents or other authorisations applying to buildings on the land, and any special features it has, including potential erosion, subsidence or inundation, or the likely presence of hazardous contaminants.

Control of activities on the land through regulatory methods (such as resource consents) or non-regulatory methods (such as voluntary agreements between land owners and resource managers).

The extent to which, or intensity with which, land is used.

An area for the controlled disposal of solid waste.

Any feature of the earth’s surface with a characteristic shape that has been produced by natural causes.

The visible features of an area of land, including physical landforms, living flora and fauna, abstract elements such as light and weather conditions, and human effects.

Ground movement, the downward movement of relatively dry masses of rocks and earth or a combination of the two.

The process by which dissolved materials are filtered through soil by a liquid (usually water) and often end up in rivers, streams, lakes, and groundwater.

Private and commercial vehicles weighing less than 3.5 tonnes, which together account for 93 per cent of all licensed vehicles on New Zealand roads (excluding motorcycles).

A colourless and odourless gas that burns readily in air and is used for heating, cooking, and transport.

Waste that is generated in, or converted to, a liquid form for disposal. It includes point source and non-point source discharges such as stormwater and wastewater. See also point-source pollution and non-point source pollution.

Domesticated animals, which may be kept or raised in pens, houses, on pastures, or on farms as part of an agricultural or farming operation, for commercial or private use.

The basic building block of an ecological footprint. A local hectare (also referred to as actual land area) shows the biological productivity (or biocapacity) of one real hectare within a specified region or country, in one year. The value of local hectare is limited because it assumes all land to be equally valuable or biologically productive.

Products that result in less waste, both in terms of their packaging and their disposal at the end of their useful life.

An area of introduced grass species used for production processes that create a low level of value or wealth.

Large algae, including seaweeds, which are visible to the naked eye.

Aquatic invertebrate animals such as insects, worms, and snails which are visible to the naked eye. Populations of macroinvertebrates are sampled to provide an indication of stream water quality. See also %EPT.

A pore greater than 0.05 millimetres within soil that is usually air-filled and contains water only when the soil is saturated or draining.

Customary authority exercised by an iwi or hapū in a particular area.

A site containing hazardous substances that is managed so it no longer meets the definition of ‘contaminated land’ contained in the Resource Management Act 1991.

Defined areas within New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone that have a specific management system or rules. These rules apply to recreational fishers and may vary across management areas.

A combination of physical factors used to classify and map deepwater (at least 200 metres deep) marine areas of similar ecological character.

A geographically defined area that is protected primarily for conservation purposes and to maintain biodiversity values. It includes marine reserves and mātaitai.

Specified areas of the sea or inter-tidal areas that are protected under the Marine Reserves Act 1971, and managed to preserve their natural state as the habitat for marine life. All marine life within them is protected.

A defined marine area where certain activities are prohibited to prevent particular species from being harmed.

The bulk movement (erosion) of soil.

Extreme landslip, tunnel gully, gully, and earth-flow forms of soil erosion in which bulk soil slips away or is gouged away from the land surface through actions of water.

Fruits or nuts used as a food source by animals following regular or irregular fruiting events of tree species.

Marine reserves established in areas of traditional importance to Māori for customary food gathering. Usually recreational and customary fishing are allowed within the reserve, but not commercial fishing.

Physical resources used in the production of goods, as distinct from resources such as energy.

A Māori concept, which translates as ‘life force’.

The largest average annual catch that may be taken sustainably.

A statistic that describes the average amount of water in a river during times of low flow.

In statistics, the middle score in a range of samples or measurements (that is, half the scores will be higher than the median and half will be lower).

A measure of concentration. A microgram is one-millionth of a gram.

A measure of concentration. A milligram is one-thousandth of a gram.

The lack of particular minerals which are essential for normal nutrition or metabolism.

Matter formed from naturally occurring compounds, such as rocks. Contrasts to organic matter.

Several crops growing at the same time on the same area of land.

A network of rivers, streams, lakes, and groundwater bores from which water is tested at regular intervals (say, once a month) to determine its quality.

Soft, sedimentary rock formed from material that contains a large proportion of clay.

A condensed set of information about the national economy, which is compiled according to internationally agreed concepts, definitions, classifications, and accounting rules.

Regulations produced by central government under the Resource Management Act 1991, which are binding on local authorities.

Occurring naturally in New Zealand (indigenous).

Uncontaminated gravel, clay, rock, silt, and other inorganic inert materials.

A landscape that has not been modified by people or is dominated by natural processes and native plants and animals.

Lists identifying species that are at risk of extinction, and providing information about the level and nature of the risk.

A soluble/dissolved form of the nutrient nitrogen that can be readily used by plants.

The transport of nitrate through soil by water, often to water bodies.

A reddish-brown, pungent gas that is produced mainly from the combustion of fossil fuels (coal, gas, and oil) and some industrial processes. It is one of the greenhouse gases.

Plants (such as clover) that fix nitrogen (a soil nutrient) into the soil. Legume plant roots contain Rhizobium bacteria that convert the air’s nitrogen into soil nitrates. These can be absorbed by other plants, such as pasture grasses.

Nitrogen-based plant nutrients added to the soil by humans.

As used in chapter 3, ‘Household consumption’, refers to figures that have not been adjusted for price change (that is, inflation or deflation); also referred to as actual current figures.

Pollution that does not have a single point of origin – for example, pollutants that are carried from agricultural or urban land into rivers by rainfall run-off, or that soak through soil into groundwater. See also point-source pollution.

Matter that is unable to be replaced or regenerated over time.

Chemicals needed by plants and animals for growth, especially nitrogen and phosphorus.

The continuous cycling through an ecosystem of minerals, compounds, or elements which promote biological growth or development.

Nutrients that are not absorbed by soil and drain into bodies of water, either in surface or groundwater flows.

Olsen phosphate, the phosphate that is available for plant uptake.

Carbon that is, or has been, part of a living organism.

Matter that has come from a recently living organism; that is capable of decay or the product of decay; or that is composed of organic compounds. Contrasts to mineral matter.

In freshwater, pollution from organic waste, such as sewage from wastewater treatment plants; and discharges of carbohydrate and protein material from timber treatment plants, meat works, and dairy factories. Does not include persistent organic pollutants for the purposes of this report.

Waste from once-living organisms, including garden waste (green waste), food scraps, biosolids, and commercial organic wastes. It can sometimes include wastes that may biodegrade in landfills, such as paper, cardboard, and untreated wood.

This organisation works to address the economic, social, and environmental challenges of globalisation. It has 30 member countries.

A chemical that contains carbon and chlorine atoms joined together. Some organochlorines are persistent (remain chemically stable) and present a risk to the environment and human health, such as dioxin and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

Chemical substances that cause a net loss of ozone in the stratosphere, usually long-lived man-made gases, such as CFCs.

The layer of ozone gas that lies 20–25 kilometres above the earth. It plays an important role in protecting the earth from some harmful effects of the sun.

Material from which soil develops.

The rock from which soils are derived through weathering.

The density of soil particles, used to calculate its porosity and water availability.

Hilly landscapes that are covered in pasture.

An enclosed heating appliance with a controlled feed of compressed wood pellets.

A statistic that indicates the relative rank of a value (or measurement) among a range of values. For example, the 95th percentile is the value below which 95 per cent of all values in a range will lie (and only 5 per cent of values will exceed).

A crop from plants that live for more than one year, such as nuts and berryfruit.

Pollutants composed of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins, and certain organochlorine pesticides that remain in the environment for long periods of time. They can be highly toxic and are widely dispersed, usually by water or wind.

The regulation or management of a species defined as a pest, usually because it is believed to be detrimental to human health, the ecology, or the economy.

An organism that has characteristics regarded as injurious or unwanted, most often because it causes damage to agriculture by feeding on crops or acting as a parasite on livestock. An animal may also be a pest when it causes damage to a wild ecosystem or carries germs within human habitats.

A chemical substance used to kill unwanted animals and plants, including herbicides (which kill vegetation), insecticides (which kill insects), and fungicides (which kill fungi). See also agrichemical.

The unit used to measure energy production on a national scale. One petajoule is a million billion joules (1015J) and roughly equivalent to a coastal tanker load of 25 million litres of oil, or all the electricity used in Nelson in a year, or more than 10 days’ output from the Huntly Power Station when it is operating at full capacity.

The degree of acidity or alkalinity as measured on a scale of 0 to 14 where 7 is neutral, less than 7 is more acidic, and more than 7 is more alkaline.

Plantation forestry

Forest that is grown for an economic return; can be either exotic, or intensively managed indigenous species.

Airborne particles that are smaller than 10 µm in diameter (about a fifth of the thickness of a human hair). They are produced by the combustion of wood and fossil fuels, as well as by various industrial and natural processes.

Airborne particles that are smaller than 2.5 µm in diameter and mostly come from combustion sources (see PM10 particulates). Most particulate matter from natural sources is larger than 2.5 µm in diameter.

Discharge of pollutants from a single fixed point, such as a pipe. Examples include discharges from wastewater treatment plants and factories. See also non-point source pollution.

The biotic agent (vector) that moves pollen from a flower’s male anthers to the female stigma of a flower to accomplish fertilisation. The most recognised pollinators are bees.

See contaminant.

The amount of soil organic nitrogen converted to plant-available forms under specific conditions of temperature, moisture, aeration, and time. It is a measure of biological activity and indicates the amount of nitrogen that is relatively rapidly available.

An organism that feeds on another living organism (its prey).

The amount of energy available for use in New Zealand for energy supply and end use. It includes coal, indigenous oil, and natural gas, imported oil and oil products, and hydro. It takes into account imports and exports, and allows for changes in energy stocks. By convention, fuels used for international transport are excluded.

The production of goods and services from the primary sector, such as agriculture, horticulture, and forestry.

Land in private ownership – that is, land not managed by the Department of Conservation or any other public body.

A product-centred approach that helps reduce the environmental impact of manufactured products, by having producers, brand owners, importers, retailers, consumers, and other parties accept responsibility for the environmental effects of their products, from the time they are produced until they are finally disposed of.

The speed at which value or wealth is created by producing a good or service.

The productive yield per unit of land.

In environmental terms, the measure of the amount of life that can be supported in an area. It is determined by the availability of nutrients and light.

A measure of something that is used instead of a more exact measure that may not be practical or possible.

A system introduced in 1986 to manage New Zealand commercial fisheries, based on individual transferable property rights. It allocates each commercial fisher a share of the total allowable commercial catch, which the fisher may catch or trade the right to. Allowances for recreational and customary Māori catch are made before the total allowable commercial catch is set. Species outside the QMS are managed under a permit system that provides no tradeable rights.

Temporary protection of a place or resources by restricting access or harvest. It is set in place by an iwi or a hapū and may be voluntary or gazetted.

In statistics, figures that have been adjusted to remove the impact of price change (that is, inflation or deflation).

Materials that have been collected for recycling and reprocessed to create a new material.

Water quality that is defined by the microbiological health risk it poses to swimmers or others undertaking contact recreation on or in the water. See also bacteria and E. coli.

Waste that has been processed into a new material.

The act of collecting and depositing materials that can be recycled (such as glass, plastic containers and bottles, aluminium and steel cans, paper, and card), and the processes involved in reusing the materials.

A range of gases used in refrigerators, cool stores, air conditioning units, and dehumidifiers.

Action taken to remove contamination from a site.

The removal or destruction of hazardous substances from a site so it is no longer ‘contaminated land’ according to the definition in the Resource Management Act 1991.

Energy from sources that do not become depleted or degraded for following generations, such as solar, wind, hydro, biomass, tidal, wave, and ocean currents power. Geothermal energy is considered renewable, although these fields can be depleted if fluids are extracted at a higher rate than they are replenished.

The total amount of water flowing into a region (mainly as rainfall), minus any natural losses (mainly through evaporation) before it flows into the sea.

Waste remaining after activities undertaken to reduce, reuse, recycle, recover, and treat materials.

Effective use of materials and energy to produce goods and services. This may be achieved, for example, through improved manufacturing processes, updating equipment, and technological advancements.

Using high quantities of materials and energy to produce goods and services. Contrasts to resource efficiency.

New Zealand’s main piece of environmental legislation, which provides the framework for managing the effects of human activities on the environment.

Updating older systems with new technology or features. That is, to install, fit, or adapt a device or system for use with an original or existing system.

An authority that can have areas of land designated under the district plan for a public work or project.

A strip of land, usually of varying width, that is directly adjacent to a waterway.


Revegetating the riparian margin to reduce erosion and pollutant run-off to the waterway.

The geographical territory of an iwi or a hapū.

A coastal and marine area over which an iwi or a hapū exercises its mana and its kaitiakitanga.

Livestock (cattle and sheep) with a complex digestive system consisting of a four-part stomach where microbes break down food. Methane, a greenhouse gas, is a by-product of the microbial activity (enteric fermentation) and mostly released when the animal exhales.

An average of measurements taken for a specified duration of time, which moves over time. Every new measurement taken after the initial period replaces the earliest measurement in the periodic sequence, and the average is recalculated.

Water that is not absorbed by soil but drains off the land into bodies of water.

The division of rural land into separate lots.

The movement of saltwater (seawater) into freshwater (usually groundwater near the coastline).

Sedimentary rock consisting of compressed or cemented sand-sized particles.

The point at which soil can no longer accept external inputs, such as water.

A low-cost monitoring method used to make an initial assessment of air quality.

A fishing method that involves towing trawl nets along the seafloor. It can be carried out from one vessel or from two vessels fishing cooperatively.

A deep, elongated depression or valley in the ocean floor.

A mountain rising from the seafloor, but not reaching the sea’s surface.

A pollutant not directly emitted from a source, but formed by a subsequent chemical reaction. For example, ground level ozone requires precursor pollutants in order to form.

The treatment of sewage sludge to degrade its biological content, usually by aerobic biological processes.

Also known as energy security, this has two key dimensions: reliability and resilience. Reliability means users can access the energy services they require, when they require them. Resilience is the ability of the system to cope with shocks and change.

Particles or clumps of particles of sand, clay, silt, or plant or animal matter carried in water.


The accumulation of sediment.

An underground tank that receives, treats, and disposes of human sewage and other wastewater into the surrounding soil. Such tanks usually service houses that are not connected to municipal sewerage treatment stations (such as houses in rural areas).

In forestry, the uptake of carbon dioxide by trees.

A fishing method where a net is placed in water with floats at the top and weights on the bottom. Fish are caught as they swim into the net.

Liquid waste formed from human excreta (faeces and urine) and other household wastewater from cooking, washing, cleaning, and so on.

A by-product of sewage collection and treatment processes, also known as biosolids.

A network of underground pipes (sewers) that carries sewage and wastewater to and from treatment stations.

Trees or shrubs that are planted in a row to provide stock or human dwellings with shelter and protection from the wind.

Arable cropping such as the cultivation of grains, fodder crops, and vegetables.

The deposition or accumulation of silt.

The science and practice of growing, establishing, and maintaining forests.

Soil is the layer of minerals and organic matter that forms the earth’s crust. It is formed over time by the interaction of climate and living organisms on parent material, which can be a mixture of inorganic and organic materials.

A gradual increase in a soil’s acidity (pH) due to both natural processes and land management.

Deterioration of soil structure (the size, shape, and stability of soil particles and the spaces between and within these particles). See also compaction.

Measures taken to preserve a soil resource.

The ability of a soil to provide enough nutrients for plant growth.

Synonymous with both the quality and condition (biological, chemical, nutrient, and physical) of a soil type, relating to its natural characteristics or sustained use.

Expresses whether soils are staying in place on the land surface and what factors may contribute to soil movement or loss (that is, soil erosion).

The addition of soil nutrients by the application of fertilisers or other agrichemicals, and organic matter such as compost, or through the use of nitrogen-fixing plants such as clover.

The soil that occurs naturally and is of use to humans.

The way soil particles are arranged together (aggregated).

The classification of a soil, based on its chemical and physical properties.

All waste generated as a solid or converted to a solid for disposal, including paper, plastic, glass, metal, electronic goods, furnishings, and organic wastes.

A baseline measurement programme to provide generic solid waste composition data for New Zealand.

Wastes that pose particular management and/or disposal problems, and need special care, such as used oil, tyres, end-of-life vehicles, batteries, and electronic goods.

One of the basic units of biological classification. A species comprises individual organisms that are very similar in appearance, anatomy, physiology, and genetics, due to having relatively recent common ancestors; and can interbreed.

Species diversity

The variety (or number) of species within a particular geographic area.

Animal belonging to a group of sedentary filter-feeding invertebrates.

In reference to fish stocks, their condition; in technical terms, how a stock compares with the target biomass level.

The duty of care placed on everyone – government, business, and the community – to prevent waste and recover resources. See also kaitiakitanga.

The number of livestock per unit area of land (such as per hectare).

Lakes and reservoirs (including reservoirs created by the damming or diversion of rivers).

Rainwater run-off that is channelled through drains from roads and urban properties into waterways and the sea.

Sulphur dioxide

A colourless gas with a pungent smell, produced during the combustion of fuels containing sulphur, such as coal and diesel.

A non-toxic, non-flammable gas, which is chemically very stable. Its predominant commercial use is in the electrical sector as an insulant.

An area of land where minerals are extracted from its surface.

Water on the land surface that flows in channels (rivers and streams) and lies in depressions (lakes). Note that, in this report’s discussions of water allocation, lakes are not included in the definition of surface water.

In fishing, the area trawled over by a vessel towing gear along or near the seabed.

Fishing areas with special importance to local Māori, managed by the community with involvement from local iwi and hapū.

Customary-take guardians elected by iwi and hapū, and appointed by the Minister of Fisheries. These guardians are called tangata kaitiaki in the North Island and tangata tiaki in the South Island. They can issue permits to allow the harvest of aquatic life within rohe moana and recommend additional bylaws to influence the use of the resource.

People of the land; the indigenous people of New Zealand. In relation to a particular area, it means the iwi or hapū that holds mana whenua over that area.

A resource or object that is highly valued by Māori; a treasure.

A Māori concept of ‘sacred’ or ‘forbidden’.

The Fisheries Act 1996 requires that fish stocks are managed so their numbers stay at or above the target biomass level. Generally, this is set at the level that can produce the maximum sustainable yield.

Canoe landing sites.

The practice and science of classification of living organisms into taxonomic units known as taxa.

An entity that receives technology that has developed elsewhere and adapts it for its own needs, rather than developing its own unique technology.

A layer of warm air that sits over a layer of cooler air near the ground. Because cool air is heavier than warm air, it often remains trapped close to the ground. Air pollution that gets trapped beneath the inversion layer can build up, causing air pollution concentrations to increase.

Area of sea extending seaward from the coast to 12 nautical miles offshore.

The final stage in treating wastewater, typically involving the removal of substances such as nitrates and sometimes including disinfection of the water.

Any animal or plant species that is vulnerable to extinction if factors causing its vulnerability are not reversed.

The dose or exposure, below which a significant adverse effect is not expected.

Māori customary values, practices, and traditions.

The natural surface features of a land area, including its shape and relief.

The uppermost layer of soil, which has the highest concentration of organic matter and micro-organisms; this is where most of the earth's biological soil activity occurs.

The total amount of fish allowed to be harvested each year by both commercial and non-commercial fishers.

The amount of carbon present in a soil, measured from the status of the soil’s organic matter.

The amount of nitrogen present in a soil, measured from the soil’s organic nitrogen reserves.

The quality or degree of being poisonous or harmful to plant, animal, or human life.

A minor constituent of the atmosphere.

Liquid wastes gener ated by industry and business and disposed of through the sewerage system. It includes a range of hazardous materials resulting from industrial and manufacturing processes.

Facilities where waste collections are deposited and sorted into recyclable and non-recyclable waste. Recyclable waste is then transferred for processing and non-recyclable waste is transferred to landfills.

Forms completed by commercial fishers, providing information to the Ministry of Fisheries.

The amount of trawling undertaken, expressed in either area terms (square kilometres swept) or number of trawls.

A fishing boat that uses a trawl net or dragnet for fishing.

Fishing methods where a single vessel or pair of vessels tow a large netting bag (trawl net).

Wood that contains preservative chemicals (such as copper, chrome, or arsenic) and requires careful disposal to avoid harming the environment.

The edge of the habitat at which trees are capable of growing. Beyond the tree line, usually at high altitude, trees are unable to grow because environmental conditions are inappropriate.

A reporting technique that allows organisations to assess their performance against economic, environmental, and social criteria.

A six-category index used to monitor and report on the nutrient status of lakes in New Zealand, using measures of nitrogen, phosphorus, algal biomass, and visual clarity.

An erosion process in which water percolates through subsoils, forming caves or tunnels that often cause surface subsidence.

Native land cover of tussock grasses.

The organisation of items into groups based on their shared characteristics.

Aquifers that are ‘open’ to the land surface – that is, there is no low-permeability confining layer between them and the land surface. Typically shallow, they are normally composed of permeable surface sands and gravels and recharged directly by rainfall percolating from the land surface. See also confined aquifer.

Māori traditional burial grounds.

Oil contaminated through use with substances that can be hazardous to human health and the environment.

An index used to inform the public about the intensity of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The larger the number, the higher the risk of skin damage.

Properties of objects that take on different values that can be measured or counted.

An Asian mite (Varroa jacobsoni syn. V. destructor) that is a parasite of honeybees.

A general term for the plant life of a region; the ground cover provided by plants.

A soil that is suited to a variety of uses, including those that are demanding on soil structure, such as cultivation and cropping.

An animal that has a backbone or spinal column. Opposite of invertebrate.

The cultivation of grapes for use in the production of wine.

Special and sacred sites for Māori.

Any material (solid, liquid, or gas) that is unwanted, unvalued or both, and discarded or discharged.

The final placement of waste.

Products that are dependent on electric currents or electromagnetic fields to work, and which are no longer required and due for disposal. Examples include fridges, fluorescent lamps, toasters, computers, and mobile phones.

The order of preferred waste management options. The most preferred option is to reduce, followed by reuse, recycle, recover, treat, and lastly, dispose of.

Plans produced by territorial authorities outlining the waste management and minimisation activities undertaken in their area.

All activities aimed at preventing, reducing, reusing, or recycling waste.

Practices that avoid and reduce the generation of waste.

The extraction of materials or energy from waste for further use or processing, including making materials into compost.

The collective term for industries and businesses that are specifically involved in the collection, disposal, or, reprocessing of waste and recycled materials.

A by-product of sewage, liquid trade waste collection, and treatment processes.

The volume of water between the seabed and the sea’s surface. Regional councils are responsible for the sea’s water column from the foreshore to the outer limits of the territorial sea.

The ‘health’ of freshwater, as defined by measures of its physical, biological, and chemical properties, as well as other attributes valued by users (such as its aesthetic quality). See also aesthetic/amenity value.

A plant that is considered to be unwanted or a nuisance. The term is often used to describe native or non-native plants that grow and reproduce aggressively.

Wet areas of land or shallow water that support plants and animals that have specifically adapted to living in those conditions.

Māori genealogy; ancestry.

Māori family group.

An appliance designed for or capable of burning wood, generally to provide heat for households.