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Glossary: Working Words of
Wildland, Natural Resource, and Land-Use Planning and Management
(with Select Abbreviations)

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An ecological dictionary, unknown at the time of the preparation of this glossary, is available.

Chris Park. 2007. A Dictionary of Environment and Conservation. 528pp. Oxford University Press, is now available.

The words as set forth below have the following meanings in this web site and elsewhere unless the context clearly requires otherwise.

Click on the first letter of the word in the following list for which you seek information.
[ A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z ]

Introduction to the Glossary

An opportunity for comments and suggestions for additions and improvements is available at the end of this unit. Access is also provided here for you to participate in the Glossary Insider's Group who are people actively involved in developing this part of the Web site into a superior, functional glossary.

The glossary may reduce confusion that exists among professionals as well as the public in the natural resource management field, particularly the wildlands. Consistency among users of words can be helpful, but even definitions change as people with different education exit and enter agencies and areas of thoughtful work. Meanings change as legislation virtually redefines words and thus alters concepts. Consistent use of words can result in great efficiencies. Such consistency starts with first use, a tradition among taxonomists, but changes in definitions do occur. Increases in clarity, precision, and discrimination are expected in definitions. General discussions, seemingly purposeless, can be useful simply in learning each other's word meanings so that clarity and common agreement can be reached when difficult decisions are needed. It seems worth noting that much of university education within the natural resource field is devoted to learning the language. Perhaps thoughtful people will see that much more is expected and needed from the universities. Definitions herein are those that we have attempted to use in Guidance and elsewhere within this web site. They are believed to be consistent with the primary use by leaders of the various fields, to be logical, and to be the basis for reasonable theoretical development and practice.

This glossary is intended to improve communication among planners, managers, staff, the public, and users of the area. It, like the rest of Lasting Forests, is evolving. Good communication demands common agreement on, at least understanding of, the meanings of words and how they are used. Many words will be immediately understood and accepted by all who read them. Other words may cause controversy. Words are only a means to understanding. Staff will argue only for meaning, not the word. Discussing words -- which we believe are models of ideas, concepts, physical entities, processes, and objectives -- can never be viewed as a waste of time if it leads to understanding, reduced conflict, and ability to work effectively toward objectives in a democracy. We recommend attention to "first-use" principles as in biological nomenclature but we believe that words and their associated concepts evolve so that past definitions may be laid aside or discussed to clarify the latest definition contending for usefulness. Often in controversial situations an agreement on a "tentative" definition and use of a word or phrase can be reached and great efficiencies gained. Suggestions for improving the meaning of items in the glossary, as well as for adding or removing words, are welcomed.


The glossary was developed from many contained in plans of National Forests; from Wildland Planning Glossary by C.F. Schwartz, E.C. Thor, and G.H. Elsner. 1976. USDA Forest Service, PSW-13 of the Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment. Station, Berkeley, CA 252 pp. Also from L.J. Lyon and A.G. Christensen. 1992. A partial glossary of elk management terms USDA Forest Service, INT-288 of the Intermountain Research Station, Ogden, UT 6 pp., and Glossary of Definitions, Terms, and Acronyms Used by the National Water Data Exchange (NAWDEX), Appendix H. Some words are from the Wildlife Society Journal of Wildlife Management 21:374-376. A The Dictionary of Forestry with 5000 terms became available from the Society of American Foresters in 1998.The 224 page book was edited by John Helms. Elements of glossary for stewardship workers from the Virginia Department of Forestry was added in 1999. Items marked (USFS 1999) are from the proposed planning regulations of the US Forest Service issued in October, 1999 36 CFR Parts 217 and 219 RIN 0596-AB20.

A Dictionary of Ecology (2nd Ed., 1999, Oxford Univ. Press) Edited by Michael Allaby was noticed in 1999 but notes from it have not been included.

Another dictionary was not used for it was discovered lately: Monkhouse, F.J. and J. Small. 1978. A dictionary of the natural environment, Arnold, London, 320pp.

An additional new (1999) glossary is at

Typing of the present Glossary was done over many years by several secretaries including Tish Poteet and Donna Linkous. I appreciate the general investments of the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, Virginia Tech, and others with me in developing this unit and the Conservation Management Institute of Virginia Tech for making it available through the Internet.

Additional glossaries may be found at the following sites, a list provided by H. Gyde Lund, Integrated Resource Inventories, who said (10-7-98):

Here are some additional forest or natural resource related glossaries that I ran across in my search for definitions. If you wish to see what I have complied for forest, deforestation, reforestation, and afforestation and related terms see

  1. A watershed glossary (EPA)
  2. - Desert Glossary
  3. - Fire Ecology Glossary
  4. - Strategic Planning Glossary
  5. - Glossary of Recycling Terms
  6. - Australia Timber Building Glossary
  7. Surface and Ground Water Terminology - Ohio State University
  8. - Albuquerque's Environmental Story Glossary
  9. - A Glossary of Engineered Wood Products
  10. - Environment Canada Water Glossary
  11. - Glossary of Great Lakes Ecosystem Management Terms
  12. - Mixed Waste Glossary
  13. Australia EPA's State of Environment Glossary
  14. - Climate Change and the Maintenance of Conservation Values in Terrestrial Ecosystems
  15. The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) of New South Wales became a separate statutory authority on 29 February 2012
  16. - National Resources Inventory Glossary
  17. - World Resources Institute Biodiversity Glossary of Terms
  18. - Renewable Energy Resources
  19. - Glossary of Energy Terms
  20. - Archeology Terms
  21. Canadian National Forestry Terms
  22. - Classification of Wetlands And Deepwater Habitats of The United States
  23. - Glossary of Environmental Design
  24. - Forests in Australia
  25. - Glossary of landform and geologic terms
  26. - Timber Wolf Glossary
  27. - Glossary of Botanical Terms
  28. Dictionary of Natural Resource Management: A Comprehensive Guide to Natural Resource Terms, Julian and Katherine Dunster 1996, 363pp UBC press, Univ British Columbia, 6344 Memorial Rd., Vancouver BC V6T 1Z2
  29. Kalivodova, Eva; Milan Ruzicka, and Drahomira Janotkova. 1977. Rozpracovanie Niektorych Zakladnych Ekologickych Terminov Z Oblasti Zivotneho Prostredia, Acta Geobiologica VI/14, Vydava Ustav experimentalnej biologie a ekologie SAV, vo Vede, vydavatelstve SAV, Veda, Vydavatelstvo Slovenskej Akademie Vied, Bratislava

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) has made available for public comment a draft Glossary for Toxokinetics of Chemicals, which can be downloaded from the IUPAC website . This glossary contains definitions of 355 terms frequently used in the multidisciplinary field of toxicokinetics.

The Southern Appalachian Forest Hypertext Encyclopedia that concentrates on the ecology and management of the forest should be invaluable.

A link to the National Biological Information Infrastructure once provided the source of most national biological information. It was terminated in 2012.

My Glossary was first placed on the Web in November, 1998.

Internet and Information Technology Dictionaries and Related Materials

I hope that you will write to me a note about about additions and suggested improvements for the Glossary. The site was vandalized in 2006. If you have sent comments and changes have not been made, I apologize for my apparent non-responsiveness and hope that you will repeat your comments.

Please e-mail me suggestions at {RHGiles] at {RuralSystem} dot com

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This Web site is maintained by R. H. Giles, Jr.
Last revision May 29, 2006, May 14, 2012