Salt Marsh

-Low, wet, muddy areas periodically or continuously flooded by brackish or salt water to a shallow depth, usually characterized by grasses and other low plants (but not trees); lands transitional between terrestrial and aquatic systems where saturation with water is the dominant factor controlling plant and animal communities and soils.

-A collection of plants that grow on mudbanks. They are special plants that can survive being covered by salt water for many hours each day.

Sample surveys

This is a tool for investigating the characteristics of a particular population – the population may be one of households, individuals, farms, villages, animals or any other unit of study. To facilitate the investigation a sample of the population is surveyed and studied. Usually, though not always, the sample is selected at random to increase the chances of it being representative of the whole population.



Sediment particles, mainly of quartz, with a diameter of between 0.062mm and 2mm, generally classified as fine, medium, coarse or very coarse


Sand bar

Accretionary deposit of sand formed across a river mouth or bay by wave action and joined to the shore at both ends.


Sand Bypassing

Sand bypassing is the hydraulic or mechanical movement of sand, from an area of accretion to a down drift area of erosion, across a barrier to natural sand transport.

Sand dune

A bank of sand piled up by the wind. The sand usually blows off a beach so dunes are often found behind a beach.


Cloth bag filled with sand or grout and used as a module in a shore protection device


Satellite imagery

Visual representation of energy recorded by remote sensing instruments.  These imageries are taken by satellites using various sensors that record electromagnetic energy associated with an environmental phenomenon or feature


 Erosion of a dune or berm, usually by oblique wave attack during a storm.

Scour Protection

Protection against erosion of the seabed in front of the toe

Sea defence

Works or management operations intended to prevent coastal flooding


Sea Fishing

Specially-made boats go out to sea and put large nets into the sea to catch fish for people to eat.

Sea level rise

The increase in elevation of the sea caused by the Greenhouse Effect which results from heat expansion of the ocean waters and meltdown of the Polar ice caps; recognized by the writer Jules Verne nearly a century ago.


Sea Wall

A man-made wall built to hold back the sea. Many holiday towns have one. You can often walk along the top of the sea wall and look down onto the beach or the sea.


Seasonality is a key element in the vulnerability context. It refers to seasonal changes, such as those affecting: assets, activities, prices, production, health, employment opportunities etc. Vulnerability arising from seasonality is often due to seasonal changes in the value and productivity of natural capital and human capital (through sickness, hunger etc). The poor are often more vulnerable to these changes than wealthier groups.


A wall built parallel to the shore, and designed to halt shoreline erosion by absorbing the impact of waves.

Secchi disk

A disk about 20cms (8 in) in diameter with a four-part propellor design of alternating black and white triangles painted on its surface; it is lowered with a rope fastened at its center to measure vertical transparency of the water (via the depth of its “disappearance”)secondary layers), frequently used around Guernsey to reduce erosion at headlands.



Programs that focus on specific sectors such as health, education, agriculture, infrastructure, transport etc. Sector programming is an increasingly popular approach with donors, as a way to help partner governments with their work across a sector, rather than in specific projects. Donors’ sector programmes usually include budgetary support for on-going government activities.



Relating to specific sectors such as health, education, agriculture, infrastructure, transport etc.


Particulate material, both mineral and organic, that is in suspension, being transported, or has been moved from its site of origin by the forces of air, water, gravity, or ice, including material deposited in a loose, unconsolidated form on the bottom of a water body. The term dredged material refers to material that has been dredged from a water body, while the term sediment refers to material in a water body prior to dredging.



The process of transportation and deposition of particles onto the bottom of a body of water.


 A seiche is the term used to describe oscillations in a partially or fully enclosed body of water. It may be initiated by long period seismic waves (an earthquake), wind and water waves, or a tsunami.

Semidiurnal Tide

A tide with two high and two low waters in a tidal day with comparatively little diurnal inequality.

Sensitivity analysis

The analysis of the possible effects of adverse changes on a project. Values of key variables are changed one at a time, or in combinations, to assess the extent to which the overall project result, measured by the economic net present value, would be affected. Where the project is shown to be sensitive to the value of a variable that is uncertain, that is, where relatively small and likely changes in a variable affect the overall project result, mitigating actions at the project, sector, or national level should be considered, or a pilot project implemented.

Sensitivity indicator

The ratio of the percentage change in NPV to the percentage change in a selected variable. A high value for the indicator indicates project sensitivity to the variable.



A perspective linear space which is often specified in shoreline management programs, to separate development sites from natural areas or to remove structures inland away from the danger of sea storms or erosion



A detached elevation of the sea bottom, comprised of material that is not rock, that may endanger surface navigation. Also, to become shallow gradually; to cause to become shallow; to proceed from a greater to a lesser depth



Shocks are a key element in the vulnerability context. They are usually sudden events that have a significant impact – usually negative – on livelihoods. They are irregular and vary in intensity and include events such as natural disasters, civil conflict, losing one’s job, a collapse in crop prices for farmers etc.

Shore lands

The dry side of the coastal zone; low-lying areas that are affected by coastal waters through flooding, air borne salt, or other marine processes.


Shore Platform

A coast where there is no beach. It is a low area of rocks and pools at the edge of the sea and is usually covered by high tide and visible at low tide.


The intersection of a specified plane of water with the shore or beach (e.g. the high water shoreline would be the intersection of the plane of mean high water with the shore or beach). The line delineating the shoreline on nautical charts and surveys approximates the mean high water line.

Shoreline Management

 The development of strategic, long-term and sustainable coastal defense and land-use policy within a sediment cell


Short term impact

An impact occurring for a specified and limited amount of time.

Sills Perched Beaches

Construction of a low retaining sill to trap sand results in what is known as a "perched beach," one that is elevated above its original level.


Silt curtainfine, meshed material suspended in the water to prevent silt escaping from a construction site.


Situation management

coastal management programs that focus on particular problems or areas, rather than the whole coastal zone of a country; geo-specific or issue-specific coastal management programs.


Social analysis appraisal

Investigation of social structures and relations. In the SL Approach it is used to provide information on the relevant characteristics of poverty, vulnerability and social exclusion.


Social cost benefit analysis

Systematic estimation of all costs and benefits of a project that is relevant to society. Includes both technological externalities and pecuniary externalities, as long as the latter are not merely redistribution of income.


Social costsThe sum total of internal and external costs.


Social impact assessment SIA

Prediction of social effects on from environmental changes caused by any of a variety of economic development types.


Social resources
see Social Capital


Social sustainability

An initiative is socially sustainable if it rests on a particular set of social relations and institutions, which can be maintained or adapted over time. One of a number of dimensions of sustainability that also include economic sustainability, institutional sustainability and environmental sustainability.


A word used to identify the importance of factors other than biology in fishery management decisions. For example, if management results in more income fishing, it is important to know how the income is distributed between small and large boats or part-time and full-time fishermen.

Socioeconomic monitoring

Tracking of key indicators that characterize the economic and social state of a human community


Soft defences

Usually refers to managed beaches, saltmarshes or mudflats that provide protection to the shoreline, but may also include rock structures which dissipate waves rather than opposing them. cf. Hard defences


Soft Structure

Coastal structure composed of geotextile material rather than steel, rock, or concrete

Special habitat

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


A barrier or bank of sand or shingle built by the sea. Often partly across the mouth of an estuary.


A lump of rock sticking out of the sea, usually near to the coast.


A person (or entity) having a vested interest in decisions affecting the use and conservation of coastal resources.

Stakeholder A person or group that has an interest in, or concern for, a certain activity.


Storm surge

A rise of sea elevation caused by water piling up against a coast under the force of strong onshore winds such as those accompanying a hurricane or other intense storm; reduced atmospheric pressure may contribute to rise.


Storm Surge

A rise above normal water level on the open coast due to the action of wind stress on the water surface. Storm surge resulting from a hurricane also includes that rise in water level due to atmospheric pressure reduction and wind stress.

Strand Line

A line usually marked by seaweed and litter washed up the beach. The waves deposit the material at high tide level (the highest point the sea comes to).

Strategy plan

The first stage in coastal planning whereby the basic national strategy for ICZM is decided, including analysis of issues, needs, goals, objectives, and equities.

Stressor response curve

A graphic, quantitative representation of the relationship between a stressor (such as a pesticide concentration in the water column) and an ecological effect (such as mortality of a given fish species if exposed to different concentrations of the pesticide).


Stressor response profile

The product of characterization of ecological effects in the analysis phase of ecological risk assessment. The stressor-response profile summarizes the data on the effects of a stressor and the relationship of the data to the assessment endpoint.


Stressor source

An entity or action that releases to the environment or imposes on the environment a chemical, physical, or biological stressor or stressors.
Stressor: Any physical, chemical, or biological entity that can induce an adverse response (synonymous with agent).

Structured checklists

A list of questions that an interviewer will seek answers to in the course of an interview. Interviews involving structured checklists tend to be less formal and more open-ended than those conducted by an enumerator using a questionnaire.



Sinking of the earth surface (downward local mass movement) often caused by excessive groundwater removal or by settling/compacting of fill. supervisors to manage the same people, depending upon the assignment.


Suspended load

Amount of particulate matter moving in suspension in water.

Suspended solids

Particles suspended in water by hydraulic motion forces-such as upward components of turbulent currents and colloidal suspension-including, e.g., sediment and organic detritus.

Sustainable livelihood

A livelihood is sustainable when it is capable of continuously maintaining or enhancing the current standard of living without undermining the natural resource base. For this to happen it should be able to overcome and recover from stresses and shocks (e.g. natural disasters or economic upsets).

Sustainable Livelihood SL Analysis

The analysis of livelihoods using the core principles of livelihood analysis.

Sustainable livelihoods approach

An approach to development in which people’s livelihoods are the focus of attention and which adopts the core principles of the sustainable livelihoods approach.


Sustainable livelihoods framework

DFID’s sustainable livelihoods (SL) framework is its version of a visualization tool that has been developed to help understand livelihoods. It is intended to help users think through the different aspects of livelihoods, and particularly those factors that cause problems or create opportunities. Other organizations have developed similar SL frameworks that compliment DFID’s. The SL framework can be divided into five key components: the Vulnerability Context, Livelihood Assets, Policy, Institutions and Processes, Livelihood Strategies and Livelihood Outcomes. The SL framework gives an impression of how these factors relate to each other. Indeed the links between them (arrows in the framework) are also critical, reflecting how people convert assets to activities, or how policies, institutions and process affect the key components. The framework aims to stimulate debate and reflection, which should result in more effective poverty reduction. The framework does not attempt to provide an exact representation of reality. It is a simplification and it should be adapted for use in any given circumstance. Real livelihoods are complex and varied, and can only be properly understood through direct experience.


Sustainable sustainability

Something is sustainable when it can continue into the future, coping with and recovering from stresses and shocks, while not undermining the resources on which it draws for existence. These resources may be natural, social, economic or institutional, which is why sustainability is often analyzed in four dimensions: economic sustainability, environmental sustainability, institutional sustainability and social sustainability. Sustainability does not imply that there is no change, but that there is an ability to adapt over time. Sustainability is one of the core principles of the sustainable livelihoods approach.

Sustainable use

Practices that ensure the continuance of natural resource productivity and a high level of environmental quality, thereby providing for economic growth to meet the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations.



A wetland community characterized by woody vegetation – usually trees and shrubs that in combination rise higher than six meters from grade level.


 Wind-generated waves that have travelled out of their generating area. Swell characteristically exhibits a more regular and longer period and has flatter crests than waves within their fetch (seas).