Glossary of terms

Here you will find definitions of terms used in resources on the Foodsource website. You will also find these definitions on the right-hand side within chapters. If you have any suggestions for new glossary items, let us know here.

2 (1) | A (13) | B (6) | C (16) | D (6) | E (8) | F (12) | G (4) | H (3) | I (7) | L (5) | M (12) | N (7) | O (4) | P (9) | R (8) | S (10) | T (1) | U (2) | W (4) | Y (1) | Z (2)

Isotopic signature

The ratio of different isotopes. Isotopes are atoms which have a different number of protons and neutrons. For example, most carbon (C) has 6 protons and 6 neutrons, giving it an atomic weight of 12. This form of carbon is known as carbon-12 (or 12C). Another stable form of carbon exists with 6 protons and 7 neutrons, giving it a molecular weight of 13, hence it is known as carbon-13 (or 13C). Different sources of methane emissions can be composed of different proportions of 12C and 13C, with fossil fuel sources often containing relatively more 13C than biological sources.

Land sharing

is the principle of integrating nature conservation approaches into agricultural production across a region. Its characteristics are that of low-yielding farmland with higher biodiversity, but with less land available for the sole purpose of nature conservation. Land sharing sits at one end of the two extremes of the land sparing-sharing continuum. It has in particular been criticised for leading to lower levels of biodiversity on a regional scale and for a tendency for generalist species to thrive at the expense of specialist or endemic species.

Land sparing

is the principle of segregating land for nature conservation from land for food (or agricultural) production within a region. It consists of high-yielding farmland with relatively lower biodiversity, with the remaining land being spared for nature conservation. Land sparing sits at one end of the two extremes of the land sparing-sharing continuum. It has in particular been criticised for its (supposed) connection to environmentally unsustainable intensive agriculture and for undermining the food security of smallholder farmers and rural economies.

Land use

the purpose for which an area of land is used by humans: e.g. cropland, urban settlements, managed forests. Wild land, by contrast, is that not used by humans.

Life cycle

In life-cycle assessment and carbon footprint analysis, the concept of life cycle refers to the entirety of phases a product or system passes through from its development, through to its use and, eventually, how it is managed as waste. A life cycle is generally understood to start at the growing and harvesting or mining of raw materials and to end when a product is disposed of as waste. While waste management is thought to be a part of a product’s life cycle, potential recycling is generally considered to be part of the life cycles of other, new products. For example, the life cycle of a loaf of bread may be thought to consist of the following phases: the growing and harvesting of corn and other ingredients (including pre-production of inputs such as fertilisers), their transport to a bakery, bread production, transport and retail, consumption and waste.

Livelihood

A livelihood is a person’s, household’s, or group of people’s means of making a living. It encompasses people’s capabilities, assets, income, and activities that are required for securing the necessities of life, such as food, water, medicine, shelter and clothing.

Macronutrients

Fats, proteins and carbohydrates (starch, fibre, sugar) that are needed for a wide range of bodily functions and processes.

Malnutrition

Deficiencies, excesses or imbalances in the energy, macronutrients or micronutrients that a person obtains, either because their diet is lacking or because their body is not able to fully absorb the nutrients from the foods eaten, e.g. due to illness. Malnutrition is an umbrella term that includes overnutrition (an excess of food energy), undernutrition (a lack of food energy and macronutrients such as protein), and micronutrient deficiencies (insufficient micronutrients such as iron, vitamin A or iodine).

Mangrove

A mangrove is a salt tolerant tree or shrub that grows in tidal and coastal wetlands and swamps, typically in tropical and sub-tropical regions. They typically form mangrove forests and are globally important for biodiversity and carbon storage, and also for their role in coastal protection.

Market liberalisation

Market liberalisation means that there is a lessening of government restrictions and regulations to the market, such that the market is primarily controlled through supply and demand

Mediterranean diet

A Mediterranean diet is an idealised dietary pattern that has commonalities with the diets traditional to many Mediterranean countries. It is a diet that is primarily based on vegetables, fruits, pulses, nuts, cereals, olive oil, and fish, with moderate consumption of dairy and low to moderate amounts of meat. Mediterranean type diets are considered to have health conferring benefits.

Microalgae

Microalgae are microscopic algae typically found in freshwater and marine ecosystems

Micronutrient deficiencies

Micronutrient deficiencies result from a diet lacking the essential vitamins and minerals that humans require in small amounts for proper growth, development, and bodily functioning. These include iodine, calcium, iron, zinc, and vitamins A, B, and C, among others. Micronutrient deficiencies are the cause of a range of diseases affecting physical and mental development, and can increase susceptibility to infectious diseases.

Micronutrient deficiency

Not getting enough of one or more micronutrients. This can happen even if a person is getting sufficient energy from their diet.

Micronutrients

Micronutrients are minerals (e.g. iron) and organic compounds (e.g. vitamin A) found in food, which the body requires in very small amounts to produce substances such as enzymes and hormones. They are essential for proper growth, development and bodily functioning. Essential micronutrients are those that cannot be synthesised by the body and so must be obtained through diet.

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