Early Warning

 The provision of timely and effective information, through identified institutions, that allows individuals exposed to a hazard, to take action to avoid or reduce the risk and prepare for effective response. Early warning systems include of three primary elements (i) forecasting of impending events, (ii) processing and dissemination of warnings to public authorities and population, and (iii) undertaking appropriate and timely actions.

Ebb Tide

The period of tide between high water and low water. A falling tide.


 A process of socio-economic development in which the sustainable use of environmental resources has priority.

Ecological risk assessment

 An ecological risk assessment evaluates the potential adverse effects that human activities have on the plants and animals that make up ecosystems. The risk assessment process provides a way to develop, organize and present scientific information so that it is relevant to environmental decisions. When conducted for a particular place such as a watershed, the ecological risk assessment process can be used to identify vulnerable and valued resources, prioritize data collection activity, and link human activities with their potential effects.

Ecologically Critical Area (ECA)

 An area of highly concentrated biological activity of a type that is especially valuable for maintaining biodiversity and/or resource productivity; an ecologically sensitive area (ESA).

Economic Shocks

 see Shocks.

Economic Sustainability

 It is usually associated with the ability to maintain a given level of income and expenditure over time. It can be defined in relation to expenditure by individuals, households, projects, programmes, government departments, countries etc. Maintaining a given level of expenditure, necessarily requires that the income/revenue which supports that expenditure should also be sustainable over time. In the context of the livelihoods of the poor, economic sustainability’s achieved if a minimum level of economic welfare can be achieved and sustained. Economic sustainability is one of a number of dimensions of sustainability that also include environmental sustainability, institutional sustainability and social sustainability.


 Acquiring human and material resources at the appropriate quality and quantity at the lowest cost.


 The complete ecological system operating in a given geographic unit, including the biological community and the physical environment, functioning as an ecological unit in nature.


 The transition or border area lying between two different ecological communities, as between a marsh system and a forest system.


 Tourist activity attracted to environmental resources and based, usually, on a conservation theme.


 the outflow of a sewer, industry pipe, or other waste discharge.


 A bank protecting land from flooding.


 A bank built by people to keep out the sea. Sometimes called a 'dyke'.


 Occurs where people take greater control over the decisions, assets and Policy, Institutions and Processes that affect their livelihoods.

Entry point

  An Entry Point refers to the area or activity in which intervention efforts are initially directed. Examples include: capacity building, support to micro-credit, investment in infrastructure, a watershed programme, efforts to change policy etc.

Environmental checklists

  One of a number of tools that can be useful in SL Analysis. Environmental checklists contain recommended issues and factors to ask about to gain a better understanding of the relationship between the livelihoods of the poor and their environment.

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

 Detailed prediction of the impact of a development project on environment and natural resources with recommendations as to acceptability of the project, need for minimizing/eliminating/offsetting adverse effects, and a management plan to accomplish these countermeasures; a generic term for all types of impact assessment is Environmental Assessment (EA).

Environmental management plan

 A plan that describes specific conservation actions that will be undertaken during project planning, construction, operation, and maintenance to lessen the effects of the project on the environment and to ensure that sustainable development is achieved; it includes real time and retroactive monitoring of project effects.

Environmental Risks

 Risks to natural ecosystems or to the aesthetics, sustainability or amenity of the natural world.

Environmental sustainability

 Achieved when the productivity of life-supporting natural resources is conserved or enhanced for use by future generations. By productivity we mean its ability to produce a wide range of environmental services, such as the supply of food and water, flood protection, waste management etc. Environmental sustainability is one of a number of dimensions of sustainability that also include, institutional sustainability, economic sustainability and social sustainability.


 Criterion that may entail modifying a political decision so as to achieve a particular distribution of incomes in the economy through, for instance, subsidies to public transport for low income groups or to achieve regional development objectives.


 Erosion  is the wearing away of land by the action of natural forces. On a beach, the carrying away of beach 

material by wave action, tidal currents, littoral currents, or by deflation 


The wearing away of rocks, e.g. when a wave pushes sand or pebbles against a cliff, slowly wearing it away.


 A more or less continuous line of cliffs or steep slopes facing in one general direction which are caused by erosion or faulting.


 A semi-enclosed littoral basin (embayment) of the coast in which fresh river water entering at its head mixes with saline water entering from the ocean. Estuaries are of particular ecological value and significance because they provide important natural values concerning, for example, fish and wildlife habitat, flood protection, and maintenance of water quality.


 The process of enrichment of water which leads to excessive growth of algae and other aquatic plants from the introduction of an over supply of nutrients such as nitrates or phosphates. 

Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)

 The maritime zone adjacent to and extending 200 nautical miles beyond the baseline from which the territorial sea is measured-internationally authorized by the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea; the coastal state has sovereign rights to explore, exploit, conserve and manage the natural resources in this zone.


 The contact or co-occurrence of a stressor with a receptor.

Exposure profile

 The product of characterization of exposure in the analysis phase of ecological risk assessment. The exposure profile summarizes the magnitude and spatial and temporal patterns of exposure for the scenarios described in the conceptual model.

Exposure scenario

 A set of assumptions concerning how an exposure may take place, including assumptions about the exposure setting, stressor characteristics, and activities that may lead to exposure.

External support

 Support provided from outside, e.g. government support for a village community, or donor support for a government department etc.

Extreme Event

 Event, which has a very low annual exceedance probability (AEP). Sometimes defined as an event beyond the credible limit of extrapolation and therefore dependent on the length of record and the quality of the data available.