the non-living component of the environment; not pertaining to life or living organisms.


Where rock pieces move against another rock and wear it away, e.g. a pebble is washed against a cliff by waves and breaks off tiny bits of the cliff. If you rub two pebbles together you will have abrasion and the pebbles will begin to be worn away. You can try it with two pieces of chalk. Abrasion will cause them to crumble to powder.

Acceptable Risk

 A risk, which, for the purposes of life or work, everyone who might be impacted is prepared to accept assuming no changes in risk control mechanisms. Action to further reduce such risk is usually not required unless reasonably practicable measures are available at low cost in terms of money, time and effort.


 The addition of new land to the shoreline through the action of natural forces depositing water- or airborne material or by reason of an act of man such as the accretion formed as a result of groin or breakwater construction, or beach fill deposited by mechanical means; also defined as the process of gradual and imperceptible

Aeolian deposits

 Wind-deposited sediments, such as sand dunes.


 living or active only in the presence of oxygen; taking place in the presence of oxygen.


The geologic process by which various parts of the surface of the earth are raised in elevation or built up by the deposition of material transported by water or wind.

Algal bloom

 an overgrowth of algae in water that can shade out other aquatic plants and use up the water’s oxygen supply as the plants decompose; blooms are often caused by pollution from excessive nutrient input.


 A term applied to shelves that presently experience deposition of river-derived sediments.

Alluvial deposits

 Detrital material which is transported by a river and deposited - usually temporarily - at points along the floodplain of a river. Commonly composed of sands and gravels.


 Parallel to and near the shoreline; same as longshore.

Alternative livelihoods

 jobs offered to people who are displaced from their current jobs because of resource conservation programs.

Angle of repose

 The maximum slope(measured from the horizon) at which soils and loose materials on the banks of canals, rivers, or embankments stay stable.


 devoid of free oxygen


 effects from the influence of human beings on natural systems.


 Layers of stone, concrete or other material to protect the toe of a structure such as a seawall.


 the cultivation of fish, shellfish, and/or other aquatic animals or plants, including the processing of these products for human use.


 A geologic stratum that contains water than can be economically removed and used for water supply.


Where the sea has worn a hole right through a cliff so the cliff looks like a bridge.


 A marine engineering term that means providing structural protection for shorelines; e.g., bulkheads, seawalls etc.

Armor levee

 The armor levee is a levee covered with an armor so that it is not

Artificial reef

 Any marine habitat constructed for the purpose of attracting marine species or enhancing marine resources to improve fisheries; usually made of terrigenous substances such as used auto tires, concrete rubble, old ship hulls, automobile bodies, etc.

Aseismic ridge

 A submarine ridge with which no earthquakes are associated

Asset Status

 This refers to an individual’s or group’s access to livelihood assets. A change in Asset Status may involve an increase or decrease in access to livelihood assets or a change in the composition of the livelihood assets to which there is access.
at or near the crest of the beach, to resist erosion, usually timber.


 The reduction and rounding of particles of sediment carried in water by repeated collision with each other and the shore.


 (1) Rapid erosion of the shoreland by waves during a storm.

 (2) A sudden cutting off of land by flood, currents, or change in course of a body of water


 Material used to build up and consolidate the land behind a seawall or similar structure.


 The accretion or erosion zone, located landward of the line of ordinary high tide, which is normally wetted only by storm tides; a narrow storm berm (ridge of wave-heaped sand and/or gravel) or a complex of berns, marshes, or dunes landward of the line of ordinary high tide.


 Movement of water back towards the sea after a wave has broken

Backwater effect

 The rise in water surface elevation caused by some obstruction such as a narrow bridge opening, buildings or fill material that limits the area through which the water must flow. Also referred to as "heading up".

Ballast Water

Water carried by a vessel to improve its stability

Barrier islands

 Elongate seafront islands of sand formed by the action of the sea and having an elongate lagoonal or estuarine embayment behind them.

Barriers to entry

 Refers to the obstacles facing potential newcomers to a market. Typical obstacles include: the high level of skills and/or investment required to enter the market, bureaucratic/regulatory obstacles, cultural/social obstacles, action taken by established firms to discourage new-entrants etc.

Base floodplain

 The floodplain that would be inundated by a 100-year (one percent (chance) flood.

Baseline study

 An inventory of natural community or environment to provide a baseline-a measure of its condition at a point of time-often done to describe the status of biodiversity and abundance against which future change can be gauged (usually development driven).


 The total area from which surface runoff is carried away by a drainage system. Other comparable terms are "drainage area", "catchment area", and “watershed”.

Bathymetric chart

 A topographic map of the bed of the ocean, with depths indicated by contours (isobaths) drawn at regular intervals


The measurement of water depths in oceans, seas, and lakes; also information derived from such measurements .


Where the sea has worn away the land so that the land curves inwards.


 A Bar  extending partly or entirely across the mouth of a bay.


An area of sand or pebbles lying along the coast.


 A zone, or strip, of unstable unconsolidated material (e.g., sand, gravel) along the shoreline that is moved by waves, wind and tidal currents.


 The section of the beach normally exposed to the action of Wave Uprush. The Foreshore  of the beach.



 The Cliff, dune or sea wall looming the landward limit of the active beach.

Beach Management

  Management of a beach as a coastal defence with a pre-determined standard of protection, using combinations of beach recharge, recycling, re-profiling, beach control structures and a programme of monitoring.

Beach Profile

A cross-sectional plot of a shore-normal topographic and geomorphic beach survey, usually in comparison to other survey dates to illustrate seasonal and longer-term changes in beach volume


 A low extensive ridge of beach material piled up by storm waves landward of the berm. Usually consists of very coarse sand, gravel or shells. Occurs singly or as a series of more or less parallel ridges.


 (1) An almost perpendicular slope along the beach foreshore; an erosional feature due to wave action, it may vary in height from a few centimeters to several meters, depending on wave action and the nature and composition of the beach. (2) (SMP) A steep slope produced by wave erosion

Beach Nourishment

The technique of placing sand fill along the shoreline to widen the beach

Bench mark

  A fixed physical object or mark used as reference for a vertical datum; a tidal bench mark is often near a tide station to which the tide staff and tidal datum are referred.

Benefit-cost ratio

 The ratio of benefits to costs. It should be calculated using the present values of each, discounted at an appropriate accounting rate of interest. The ratio should be at least 1.0 for the project to be acceptable. Inconsistent benefit-cost ratios may arise because they are dependent on arbitrary accounting conventions.


 Those positive quantifiable and unquantifiable changes that a project will produce.


 Pertaining to, or living on or in the bottom of the sea; upon or attached to the sea bottom (as opposed to pelagic)


 A ridge of sand or gravel deposited by wave action on the shore just above the normal high water mark.

Berm Breakwater

Rubble mound structure with horizontal berm of armor stones at about sea level, which is allowed to be (re)shaped by the waves


 The uptake of substances- e.g. heavy metals or chlorinated hydrocarbons-leading to elevated concentrations of those substances within marine organisms.

Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD)

 A measure of the amount of dissolved oxygen required by biochemical processes to oxidize organic wastes in water.

Blow –hole

 A chimney or pipe leading from a cave up through a cliff to the surface. Caused by erosion and often exploitation of joints in the geology.


A depression on the land surface caused by wind erosion.


 Failure of defenses allowing flooding by tidal or storm action.


 An artificial offshore structure aligned parallel to shore usually to provide protection of the shore from large waves. It is a structure protecting a shore area, harbor, anchorage, or boat basin from waves; defined in the State Navigation Law as a structure located within the shoreline of a body of water for the purpose of providing protection from wind and wave action.


 Vertically faced or steeply inclined structure built parallel to the shoreline,
broken when a flood occurs and water overflows

Buffer area
A protective, often transitional, area of controlled use-in coastal management, a peripheral zone separating a developed area from a protected natural area.

Bulk head:

 A wall erected parallel to and near the high water mark for the purpose of protecting adjacent uplands from waves and current action.

Carrying capacity

 The limit to the amount of life, or economic activity, that can be supported by an environment; the reasonable limits of human occupancy and/or resource use.


A hole made in a cliff or rockface. It is caused by the sea wearing away a weaker part of the rock.


 An island formed from silt deposited in a delta. The land is about at sea level. It is very fertile and attracts settlers desperate for land. However, it can easily be washed away by monsoon floods and cyclones. Even if the cyclones do not destroy the chars, they flood them with salt water which reduces their fertility.

Characterization of exposure

 A portion of the analysis phase of ecological risk assessment that evaluates the interaction of the stressor with one or more ecological entities. Exposure can be expressed as co-occurrence or contact, depending on the stressor and ecological component involved.

Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD

  A measure of the amount of oxygen required to oxidize (with a chemical oxidant) the amount of organic and oxidizable inorganic compounds in water.  Note: both COD and BOD (see above) test biological demands on oxygen resources.


A fine grained, plastic, sediment with a typical grain size less than 0.004 mm. Possesses electromagnetic properties which bind the grains together to give a bulk strength or cohesion.


A steep or vertical rock face at the edge of the sea or at the back of a beach.

Coastal baseline

 A constructed, geo-specific, line from which the distance to the edge of the Territorial Sea of a country is plotted.

Coastal defence

 General term used to encompass both coast protection against erosion and sea defence against flooding.

Coastal Defense

General term used to encompass both coast protection against erosion and sea defense against flooding.

Coastal processes

 Collective term covering the action of natural forces on the shoreline, and nearshore seabed.

Coastal strip

 A zone directly to the waterline, where only coast related activities take place. Usually this is a strip of some 100 m wide. In this strip, coastal defense activities take place.In this strip often there may be restrictions to land use.

Coastal woodland

 area of coastal trees and large shrubs located behind the beach, also referred to as coastal forest zone.

Coastal zone

 A zone comprising coastal waters (including the lands there under) at the adjacent shorelands; the zone strongly influenced by both sea and land and including smaller near-coast islands, transitional and intertidal areas, wetlands(mangroves and marshes) and beaches.

Coastal Zone Management (CZM)

 A governmental process for achieving sustainable use of resources of the coastal zone whereby participation by all affected economic sectors, governmental agencies and non-government organizations is involved; unified or integrated coastal zone management when the management actions of the various stakeholders are formally unified and community participation is emphasized.

Coastguard Station

A building usually in a place with good views of the sea. The coastguard's job is to keep a lookout for boats and ships in trouble and to organise help - by lifeboat, helicopter, etc. - when it is needed. They can receive radio messages from ships in trouble.


 Coastline is the interface between the ocean and the land - dynamic morphological entity 


 A rock fragment between 64 and 256 mm in diameter usually rounded.

Conceptual model

 A conceptual model in problem formulation is a written description and visual representation of predicted relationships between ecological entities and the stressors to which they may be exposed.


 In relation to risk analysis, the outcome or result of a hazard being realized.


 The political/social/economic process by which the wise use of resources is exercised and environments are protected.

Container Port

A port where container ships unload and load. The ships carry their goods in large, box-shaped metal containers and the port has special cranes to load and unload these. You can sometimes see these containers on lorries being driven to or from the ports.

Continental Slope

The declivity from the offshore border of the continental shelf to oceanic depths. It is characterized by a marked increase in slope.

Coral Bleaching

 A phenomenon in which corals under stress (e.g., by elevated water temperature) expel their symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) in large numbers, or the concentration of algal photosynthetic pigments decreases. As a result, the corals' white skeletons show through their tissue and they appear bleached.

Coral Reef

A coral-algal mound or ridge of in-place coral colonies and skeletal fragments, carbonate sand, and organically-secreted calcium carbonate. A coral reef is built up around a wave-resistant framework, usually of older coral colonies. Extensive limestone structures built largely by corals. They occur primarily in shallow tropical and provide habitat for a large variety of other marine life forms.


 Action or measure taken to reduce risk.  Can be in form of design, operational or maintenance procedures.


 Highest point on a beach face, breakwater, or seawall

Crest Length

The length of a wave along its crest. Sometimes called crest width.

Crest of WaveThe highest part of a wave

Cross-sectoral links

 The connections between different sectors, such as agriculture, health, infrastructure, etc, particularly, the way in which livelihoods span these sectors.

Cumulative impacts

 Environmental impacts caused by multiple human activities; that is, the combined environmental impacts that accrue from a number of individual actions, contaminants, or projects, whereby actions which may each be acceptable individually have a significant impact in combination.


 Any current in the littoral zone caused primarily by wave action; e.g., longshore current, rip current.


One of a series of short ridges on the foreshore separated by crescent-shaped troughs spaced at more or less regular intervals. Between these cusps are hollows. The cusps are spaced at somewhat uniform distances along beaches. They represent a combination of constructive and destructive processes.

Datum (vertical)

 For marine applications, a base elevation used as a reference from which to reckon heights or depths.  It is called a tidal datum when defined in terms of tidal phenomena and is based on a 19-year tide cycle (in the USA)- the datum is referenced to a fixed point typically known as a bench mark.

Decision maker

 The person or organizational unit that decides on a course of action in relation to the safety of a dam on the basis of a range of considerations which may include a risk assessment.


 A lowering of the beach profile.

Delphi method

 A technique for obtaining subjective judgmental values through iterative estimations by a group of experts


Where a river reaches the sea and splits up into many channels, depositing large quantities of mud over a wide area. These areas are usually very wet or swampy.


When mud, sand or pebbles are dropped by the sea.

Detached Breakwater

  A breakwater without any coastal connection to the shore.


The particulate, organic remains and waste of organisms. It constitutes a major food source in marine ecosystems

Dikes and Levees

  Dikes are typically earth structures (dams) that keep elevated water levels from flooding interior lowlands.


 A serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society causing widespread human, material, economic or environmental losses which exceed the ability of the affected community or society to cope using its own resources.

Dissolved Oxygen (DO)

 The quantity of oxygen dissolved in a unit volume of water; expressed as milligrams per liter (mg/L) or parts per million (ppm).


A stretch of coast with specially built sea walls and deep water so that ships can come in to load and unload.


Oval or circular mounds that generally lack a slipface. Dome dunes are rare and occur at the far upwind margins of sand seas.


Flow in the direction of net long shore sediment transport


 The excavation of sediments and other material from aquatic areas for the purpose of maintaining adequate depths in navigation channels and berthing areas, as well as for other purposes.


Any deliberate disposal at sea of wastes or other matter, or any deliberate disposal of vessels or other man-made structures 


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

Dune Restoration

The technique of rebuilding an eroded or degraded dune through one or more various methods (sand fill, drift fencing, revegetation, etc.).

Dune face

 The seaward face of a dune system where coastal processes may cause erosion or accretion.


 Accumulations of sand in ridges or mounds landward of the beach berm formed by natural processes and usually parallel to the shoreline.


Something that is changing with time. The sea slowly wears away the coast and so the coast changes - it is dynamic.

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.


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


 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 


 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.

Fault Tree Analysis

 A systems engineering method for representing the logical combinations of various system states and possible causes which can contribute to a specified event (called the top event).


 Responses to consultation and requests for opinions of stakeholders.

Feeder Beach

 An artificially widened beach serving to nourish downdrift beaches by natural littoral currents or forces.

Feeder Beach

 An artificially widened beach serving to nourish downdrift beaches by natural littoral currents or forces.


 A boat or ship built to carry people and often vehicles on short sea or river journeys. For example, you can catch ferries to France, Ireland or the Isle of Skye. Ferry routes are often marked on atlas maps. Look at an atlas map of Britain and see if you can see any ferry routes.


 Elevating the land surface with artificial deposits using excavated, dredged, or waste materials.

Financial capital

 Financial Capital is a category of livelihood assets. Within the SL framework, it is defined as the financial resources that people use to achieve their livelihood objectives.

Flank protection

 Angled section of wall at the end of a shore protection structure, for example a seawall or revetment.

Flood plains

  The area of shore lands that is subject to frequent storm flooding and is often defined by the statistical probability of flooding; e.g., 1% (“100-year flood”) or 5% (“20-year flood”).

Flood Proofing

 One of the most common flood proofing measures is the elevation of homes

Focus Groups

Groups of local government electors chosen either at random or in order to produce balanced samples. They meet facilitators or interviewers, usually in groups, and act as sounding boards, regarding the delivery of issues


Fore Reef

 The seaward side of a reef (usually coral); in places a steep slope covered with reef talus.

Fore Reef

 The seaward side of a reef (usually coral); in places a steep slope covered with reef talus.


The front dune immediately behind the back shore.


The intertidal part of a beach or the part of the shorefront lying between the beach head (for upper limit of wave wash at high tide) and the ordinary low water mark that is ordinarily traversed by the uprush and backrush of the waves as the tides rise and fall.


Fringing Reef

 A coral reef attached directly to an insular or continental shore. There may be a shallow channel or lagoon between the reef and the adjacent mainland


The  wire netted blocks of medium-sized pieces of hard rock. Expensive and can be ugly

Geographic Information System GIS

Computer-assisted systems that can input, store, retrieve, analyze and display geographically referenced information and enhance the analysis and display of interpreted geographic data.

Geographical Information System(GIS)

 Database of information which is geographically referenced, usually with an associated visualization system.


The science that applies the principles of physiography and geology to address the form and configuration of the land and submarine features of the earth's surface and the changes that take place in the evolution of landform.


Synthetic or natural fabrics used in engineering to separate layers of granular material.



A long fabric cylinder filled with sediment used as a wall to retain sediment behind


The form and quality of government systems – structure, power, effectiveness, efficiency, rights and representation.


A strip of vegetation, usually along a transition zone boundary, which separates one type of resource area from another. It is a linked system of natural areas along the shoreline of a watercourse or body of water, often including public easements, open space land, and public access walkways. A greenbelt typically provides a natural, protective buffer area between the upland and aquatic area, conserves valuable natural resources, and may provide opportunities for passive recreational use.


Greenhouse effect

Heating of the Earth from the increase in the gases such as CO2, methane, CFCs, etc., that make up the atmospheric envelope that surrounds the globe; term coined by the scientist Svante Arrhenius in the late 1800s.


Grey dune

Well-vegetated fixed dune with mosses, lichens, grasses and herbs.



Elongate structure of large rock, concrete, or woodpiles and planks, built perpendicular to the shoreline in order to intercept long-shore drift of sand and reduce localized erosion. It is also a shore protection structure usually built perpendicular to the shoreline and intended to trap littoral drift or reduce erosion of the shore.

Ground truth

Ground level direct observations made to verify interpretations from remotely sensed data.

Groundwater Drainage

Groundwater drainage, or bluff dewatering is a common practice used to rapidly drain ground and surface waters away from a bluff in order to eliminate or reduce bluff failures initiated by groundwater seepage.


A man-made barrier built across a beach (from the back of the beach down into the sea). Groynes are usually made of wood or concrete and are built to trap sand and hold it on the beach.

Groyne bay

The beach compartment between two groynes.

Groyne Field

 A series of groynes acting together to protect a section of beach. Also called a groyne system.


An abrupt vertical change of salinity with depth, usually from fresher to saltier water occurring within a rather narrow horizontal layer; it shows on sonar as a sharp discontinuity and has important effects on distribution of life in the ocean (“pycnocline”).


A sheltered part of a coastal town where ships and boats can safely shelter, load and unload. Often a harbour wall is built out to sea to prevent big waves coming in.

Hard Defenses

 A general term applied to impermeable coastal defense structures of concrete, timber, steel, and masonry, which reflect a high proportion of incident wave energy.



A place where eggs are hatched under artificial conditions


Threat; condition, which may result from either an external cause (e.g. earthquake, flood, or human activity) or an internal vulnerability, with the potential to initiate a failure mode. A source of potential harm or a situation with a potential to cause loss.


Hard feature ( natural or artificial) forming local limit of longshore extent of a beach.


Where an area of land sticks out into the sea. Headlands are usually made of hard rocks and have cliffs at their edges.

Hedonic pricing:

Valuation technique, which infers a value for environmental quality from rent or property price differentials.

High Tide Line

The line or mark left upon tide flats, beaches, or along shore objects that indicates the intersection of the land with the water's surface at the maximum height reached by a rising tide. The term includes spring high tides and other high tides that occur with periodic frequency, but does not include storm surges in which there is a departure from the normal or predicted reach of the tide due to the piling up of water against a coast by strong winds such as those accompanying a hurricane or other intense storm. The high tide line is a higher elevation than the mean high water line.

High water

The maximum elevation reached by the rising tide; mean high water is the average of such tidal elevations.

High Water Line

In strictness, the intersection of the plane of mean high water with the shore. For specific occurrences, the highest elevation on the shore reached during a storm or rising tide, including meteorological effects.

High Water Line:

The intersection of the plane of mean high water with the shore; the shoreline delineated on nautical charts prepared by the National Ocean Service is an approximation of the high water line.


High water Mark

The level of the sea at high tide (the level of water when the tide is in), usually marked by a line of seaweed and litter.


The land away from the coast which influences the coast including plains, hills, watersheds, water courses, etc (the “uplands”).


Human capital

Human Capital is a category of livelihood assets. It represents the skills, knowledge, capacity to work, and good health that together enable people to pursue different livelihood strategies and achieve their livelihood outcomes. At a household level human capital is a factor of the amount and quality of labour available. This varies according to household size, skill levels, education, leadership potential, health status, etc. Human capital is necessary to be able to make use of the other four types of livelihood assets

Human factors

Human factors: Human factors refer to environmental, organizational and job factors, and human and individual characteristics that influence behaviour in a way which can affect safety.


 An intense tropical cyclone in which winds tend to spiral inward toward a core of low pressure, with maximum surface wind velocities that equal or exceed 33.5 m/sec (75 mph or 65 knots) for several minutes or longer at some points.


 The description and study of seas, lakes, rivers and other waters; the science of locating aids and dangers to navigation; the description of physical properties of the waters of a region.


The science dealing with the properties, distribution, and circulation of water on earth


Hypoxic Waters

 Waters with a low concentration of oxygen.

Hypoxic Waters

 Waters with a low concentration of oxygen

Impact assessment

The evaluation of ecological effects to determine their impact on human needs, environmental, social and economic (see also “environmental impact assessment” above).

Impermeable groyne

 A groyne constructed such that sand cannot pass through the structure (but sand may still move over or around it).


A measurement that can be used to assess the condition, status or trends of an ecological resource. The term is widely used in water resources management programs, but has many different interpretations. It is preferable in risk assessment to avoid using the term indicator and instead use the more specific terms measure of effect, measure of exposure, and assessment endpoint, as appropriate.


 Usually the publicly constructed support system for a community including roads, electricity, communications, water, sewage, etc.


Initial Environmental Evaluation IEE

 The initial environmental assessment of a development activity at the project feasibility phase in order to provide early identification of potential environmental impacts and to determine whether a full EIA will be necessary.


Inshore (zone)

 In beach terminology, the zone of variable width extending from the low water line through the breaker zone.

Institutional Integration

 The process of bringing together separate functions of government at different levels together with other stakeholders to provide a unified approach to interventions in the managed area.

Integrated Coastal Management (ICM)

 The management of sectoral components (e.g., fisheries, forestry, agriculture, tourism, urban development) as part of a functional whole (a holistic approach to management). In ICM the focus is on the users of natural resources, not on the stock perse of these resources. Frequently used synonyms for ICM are integrated coastal area management (ICAM) and integrated coastal zone management (ICZM).

Integrated Coastal Zone Management ICZM

Integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) is a dynamic, multidisciplinary and iterative process to promote sustainable management of coastal zones. It covers the full cycle of information collection, planning (in its broadest sense), decision making, management and monitoring of implementation. ICZM uses the informed participation and cooperation of all stakeholders to assess the societal goals in a given coastal area, and to take actions towards meeting these objectives. ICZM seeks, over the long-term, to balance environmental, economic, social, cultural and recreational objectives, all within the limits set by natural dynamics. 'Integrated' in ICZM refers to the integration of objectives and also to the integration of the many instruments needed to meet these objectives. It means integration of all relevant policy areas, sectors, and levels of administration. It means integration of the terrestrial and marine components of the target territory, in both time and space. See also: Coastal Zone Management.

Integrated regional development planning

Large-scale development planning for a region which incorporates all salient planning parameters including economic, socioeconomic, environmental and others.


Intertidal zone

The transition zone between the sea and the land, often defined as the zone that lies between mean higher high water and mean lower low water lines.

Inundation Area

Area flooded with water by the tsunami.


 A contour line connecting points of equal water depths on a chart.


Local or regional changes in the ground surface elevation, resulting in land subsidence or uplift.

Issue analysis

The exploration, definition, and evaluation of the basic resource management issues to be faced in an ICZM program

Iterative Process

A process involving the continual refinement of goals and objectives as new knowledge and questions generated by investigation and analysis feed back into the investigative cycle. See also Process Approach


A structure projecting out into the sea, usually at the mouth of a harbor or river intersecting the coast, for the purpose of protecting a navigation channel or harbor, or to influence water currents; often built in pairs along both sides of an entrance channel.



Generally, a structure on an open coast extending into a body of water; designed to prevent shoaling of a channel by littoral materials and to direct and confine stream or tidal flow; defined in the State Navigation Law as a structure located within the shorelines of a body of water for the purpose of controlling currents usually to prevent filling in of a channel. Jetties are built at the mouths of rivers or tidal inlets to help deepen and stabilize a channel.


(i) A semi-enclosed littoral basin with limited fresh water input, high salinity, and restricted circulation; lagoons often lie behind sand-dunes, barrier islands, or other protective features; (ii) the shallow waters lying between a coral ridge and the shore.


Land Use

The character and condition of the use of land and which may be described in terms of general categories, such as “residential”, “commercial”, “industrial”, and “open space”, or with reference to the specific use or development of a specific site; also, a reference to the ways in which a community or area makes use of its natural resources.


Land use planning

Planning for allocations for use of the regional (or national) land resources to achieve a strategic objective, often for sustainable use of a particular resource (water resources, fisheries, wildlife) or to meet certain social equity or economic objectives.



An unmanned earth-orbiting NASA (National Aeronautical and Space Administration) satellite that transmits multi-spectral images (0.4-1.1 micrometer range) of the electromagnetic spectrum to earth-receiving stations; the digital data and/or images produced are used to identify earth features and resources.



When a large mass of rock slips or falls down onto a beach. It is usually caused by the sea eroding the bottom of the cliff.

Leading Wave

First arriving wave of a tsunami. In some cases, the leading wave produces an initial depression or drop in sea level, and in other cases, an elevation or rise in sea level. When a drop in sea level occurs, sea level recession is observed.

Leeward coast:coast sheltered from the waves.



A barrier constructed to contain the flow of water, prevent flooding, or to keep out the sea


Life Boat Station

A building on the coast where a lifeboat is kept. The lifeboat is specially built to go out in very rough seas to save people from ships that are in trouble (sinking or damaged). The lifeboat house usually has a steep metal slide. The lifeboat can be launched very quickly by sliding it down the slide and into the sea.

Light House

A tall building built right on the coast or on rocks in the sea. Lighthouses have very powerful lights at the top. The light flashes on and off and warns boats and ships of dangerous stretches of coast or rocks in the sea. If it is foggy, lighthouses sound a noisy foghorn regularly so that ships can hear where the lighthouse is.


Pertaining to the shore, especially of the sea; coastal.


Littoral Cell

 A reach of the coast that is isolated sedimentologically from adjacent coastal reaches and that features its own sources and sinks. Isolation is typically caused by protruding headlands, submarine canyons, inlets, and some river mouths that prevent littoral sediment from one cell to pass into the next.

Littoral drift

The movement of sand and other material by littoral (long shore) currents in a direction parallel to the beach along the shore; usually wind driven. The sedimentary material moved in the littoral zone under the influence of waves and currents.


Littoral System

 The geographical system subject to frequent or infrequent beach processes. The littoral system is the area from the landward edge of the coastal upland to the seaward edge of the nearshore zone.

Littoral Transport

 The movement of littoral drift in the littoral zone by waves and currents, including movement parallel to the shore (long-shore transport) and movement perpendicular to the shore (onshore-offshore transport).

Littoral zone

In coastal engineering, the area from the shoreline to just beyond the breaker zone; in ecology the littoral system extends farther and is divided into eulittoral and sublittoral zones, separated at a depth of about 50 meters.


Livelihood assets

A key component in the SL framework, they are the assets on which livelihoods are built, and can be divided into five core categories (or types of capital). These are: human capital, natural capital, financial capital, social capital, and physical capital. People’s choice of livelihood strategies, as well as the degree of influence they have over policy, institutions and processes, depends partly upon the nature and mix of the assets they have available to them (see Livelihoods Asset Pentagon). Some combination of them is required by people to achieve positive livelihood outcomes – that is, to improve their quality of life significantly on a sustainable basis. No single category of assets on its own is sufficient to achieve this, but not all assets may be required in equal measure. It is important to note that a single asset can generate multiple benefits. For example, if someone has secure access to land (natural capital) they may also be able to get better access to financial capital, as they can use the land both for productive uses and as security for a loan.


Livelihood components

Refers to the different elements of the SL Framework.

Livelihood goals:  The objectives pursued by people through their livelihood strategies. Closely related to livelihood outcomes

Livelihood outcomes

 Livelihood Outcomes are the achievements – the results – of livelihood strategies.


Livelihood strategies

The term used to denote the range and combination of activities and choices that people make in order to achieve their livelihood goals. Livelihood Strategies include: how people combine their income generating activities; the way in which they use their assets; which assets they chose to invest in; and how they manage to preserve existing assets and income. Strategies may reflect underlying priorities, such as to diversify risk. Livelihood Strategies are diverse at every level. For example, members of a household may live and work in different places, engaging in various activities, either temporarily or permanently. Individuals themselves may rely on a range of different income-generating activities at the same time, and are likely to be pursuing a variety of goals.



One could describe a livelihood as a combination of the resources used and the activities undertaken in order to live. The resources might consist of individual skills and abilities (human capital), land, savings and equipment (natural, financial and physical capital, respectively) and formal support groups or informal networks that assist in the activities being undertaken (social capital).


Livelihoods analysis

see SL Analysis.

Local Agenda 21

 A strategy to protect the local environment, communities and its people developed from the Rio Earth summit.


Local Interest Groups

Groups or bodies of people with a specific interest in a service or outcome.

Local Tsunami

A tsunami from a nearby source for which its destructive effects are confined to coasts within 100 km of the source (or, alternatively, less than 1 hour travel tsunami travel time). A local tsunami is usually generated by an earthquake, but can also be caused by a landslide or a pyroclastic flow from a volcanic eruption.

Logical framework log frame

A tool that is commonly used to design, manage and evaluate projects and programmes. A Logical Framework (log frame) defines what an intervention will do, what it will deliver, the impact it is expected to achieve, and the contribution of that impact to higher-level objectives (such as poverty elimination). It mentions all the indicators that will be used to monitor progress and outlines how information on indicators will be collected. It also outlines how the external environment is expected to shape project impact.


Long shore Drift

The movement of sand and pebbles sideways along a beach, pushed along by waves.

Long term impact

An impact lasting for an unspecified or extended period of time.


Long-shore current

A current, created by waves, which moves parallel to the shore, particularly in shallow water, and which is most noticeable in the surf or breaker zone; littoral drift current.


Low Water Mark

The level of the sea at low tide (when the tide is out).

Macro Policy

Macro Policy is policy, which affects the whole country. It is concerned with monetary, fiscal, trade and exchange rate conditions as well as with economic growth, inflation and national employment levels. It is distinct from micro policy, which only affects particular sectors, districts, neighborhoods or groups.



Any of the many genera of trees that are capable of living and growing in salt water or salty soils; often includes the rich biological community that is supported by the mangrove forests or fringing strips of mangrove.



 The cultivation of marine plants and animals in their natural environment


A sheltered area of the coast, usually a harbour, where small, privately-owned boats and yachts are kept.


A water dependent facility, the main function of which is to provide boat dockage and related services for recreational vessels as a commercial enterprise or in association with a private club. Marina facilities are often operated in conjunction with boatyard facilities.
Marsh: Area of soft, wet, or periodically inundated land, generally treeless, and usually characterized by grasses and other low growth.


Marker, survey

 An object placed at the site of a station to identify the surveyed location of that station


 A mark of permanent character close to a survey station, to which it is related by an accurately measured distance and azimuth (or bearing).


An area of soft, wet or periodically inundated land, generally treeless and usually characterized by grasses and other low growth.

Master plan

The operational CZM plan which defines rules, resources, conservation issues, performance standards, authorities, objectives, use rights (permitted uses), development restrictions, participation, coordination mechanisms, permit/EIA conditions, protected areas, setbacks, staff, training, etc.


An organizational structure that uses functional supervisors as well as project

Mean High Water MHW Line

A tidal datum; the arithmetic mean of the high water heights observed over a specific 19-year Metonic cycle (the National Tidal Datum Epoch). Proposed work and structures seaward of the mean high water line are subject to Federal regulatory authorities carried out by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and to State and local regulatory authorities as well. In general, most land and water areas seaward of the mean high water line are subject to the Public Trust Doctrine. The mean high water line also marks the seaward boundary of the jurisdiction of a municipality's planning and zoning authorities.


Mean Low Water MLW Line

A tidal datum; the arithmetic mean of the low water heights observed over a specific 19-year Metonic cycle (the National Tidal Datum Epoch).

Mean sea level

The average height of the sea; a datum, or “plane of zero elevation”, established by averaging hourly tidal elevations over a 19 year tidal cycle or “epoch” and corrected for curvature of the earth which is the standard reference for elevations on the earth’s surface.

Measure of exposure

A measure of stressor existence and movement in the environment and its contact or co-occurrence with the assessment endpoint.


Measurement endpointSee “measure of effect.”


Micro Policy

Micro Policy is policy, which only affects particular sectors, districts, communities, villages, neighborhoods or groups. It is distinct from macro policy, which affects the whole country. 



Measures undertaken to limit the adverse impact of natural hazards, environmental degradation and technological hazards.


The elimination, reduction or control of the adverse environmental impacts of a project, including countermeasures against negative environmental impacts of development.


Mixing zone

A limited water area surrounding a point of pollution discharge where the restriction on amount of contaminants is waived to allow dilution to take place before the contaminant reaches the water body at large.


An investigative technique using a mathematical or physical representation of a system or theory, often to test the effect of changes of system components on the overall performance of the system, and often applied to address water quality and shoreline change questions.

Mud flat

An area of fine silt usually exposed at low tide but covered at high tide,


An area of mud dropped (deposited) by the sea. You can often see it at low tide as a flat sheet of mud.

Multiple use

The concept of providing for multiple activities for particular areas or resources by managing them for sustainable resource use.


Natural Hazards

Natural processes or phenomena occurring in the biosphere that may constitute a damaging event. Natural hazards can be classified by origin namely: geological, hydro-meteorological or biological.

Nature synchronous

Development that is in synchrony with natural forces; engineering design that coincides with natural processes, rather than resisting or confronting them.

Neap Tide

A tide occurring near the time of quadrature of the moon with the sun. The neap tide range is usually 10- to 30-percent less than the mean tidal range.

Near shore Circulation

 The ocean circulation pattern composed of the near shore currents and the coastal currents


Near shore Current System

 The current system characterized primarily by wave action in and near the breaker zone, and which consists of four parts: the shoreward mass transport of water; long shore currents; seaward return flow, including rip currents; and the long shore movement of the expanding heads of rip currents. See also near shore circulation

Net Present Value NPV

The difference between the present value of the benefit stream and the present value of the cost stream for a project. The net present value calculated at the Banks discount rate should be greater than zero for a project to be acceptable.

Non use Value

The value that people hold for an environmental resource, which is not attributable to their direct use of the resource for commercial or recreational purposes. Otherwise known as intrinsic value.


Non-point sources of pollution

 Multiple, not easily identifiable sources of pollution (e.g. agriculture, urban areas). Also called diffuse sources


The process of replenishing a beach. It may be brought about naturally, by long shore transport, or artificially by the deposition of dredged materials.


Nurture or nurturing area

Any place in the coastal zone where larval, juvenile, or young stages of aquatic life concentrate for feeding or refuge; also a “nursery area.


Any substance assimilated by living things that promote growth, including any number of organic or inorganic compounds (nitrogen and phosphorous are important examples) used by plants in primary production.

Oblique wave approach

Waves that approach the beach at an angle (e.g., not straight-on) and generate longshore currents.


The study of the sea embracing and indicating all knowledge pertaining to the sea's physical boundaries, the chemistry and physics of the seawater, marine biology, and marine geology.

Offshore breakwater

Structure parallel to the shore, usually positioned in the sea, that protects the shore from waves.


An aquatic environment typified by a low amount of nutrient; the opposite of “eutrophic”.

Opportunity cost

A term from multiple use economics that means the value of options that is lost (excluded) because of choosing one particular mode of use.

Organic detritusSuspended small organic particles, usually of vegetative origin



Typically used in relation to the Outputs of a project or programme and linked to measurable indicators of project/programme impact, such as agricultural yields, number of visits by health workers, area of land brought under irrigation, number of teachers trained, legislation revised, trade agreements implemented etc. Outputs are an important element in the Logical Framework.


Overlay mapping

Superimposition of several theme maps to spatially analyze environmental resources and development modes, particularly useful in studying the interactions between various components of land use.



 The water that splashes over the top of a breakwater, seawall or other coastal defence structure.


 Transport of the sediment landward of the active beach by coastal flooding during a tsunami, hurricane, or other event with extreme waves. The part of the up rush that runs over the crest of a berm of a structure and does not flow directly back to the ocean or lake. The effects of waves overtopping a coastal defence, often carrying sediment landwards which is then lost to the beach system

Oxidation pond

A man-made lake or body of water in which wastes are treated, mostly by bacterial consumption; a sewage treatment lagoon.



Tsunami occurring prior to the historical record or for which there are no written observations. Paleotsunami research is based primarily on the identification, mapping, and dating of tsunami deposits found in coastal areas, and their correlation with similar sediments found elsewhere locally, regionally, or across ocean basins. As work in this field continues it may provide important new information about past tsunamis to aid in the assessment of the tsunami hazard.


Occurs when decision-making and development activities are participatory.


The quality of an approach to development and/or government in which the underlying principle is that the key stakeholders (and especially the proposed beneficiaries) of a policy or intervention are closely involved in the process of identifying problems and priorities and have considerable control over the related activities of analysis, planning and the implementation of solutions. To facilitate this approach there are a variety of participatory methods or techniques that can be used.

Participatory Activitiessee participatory.


Participatory Developmentsee participatory.


Participatory Methods

These are methods that are used to encourage people’s participation in the processes of identifying/analyzing livelihood opportunities and problems, setting priorities and planning, implementing solutions, and monitoring and evaluating changes and impacts. They are very important for understanding livelihoods and are designed so as to promote learning and empower people in their dealings with external agencies and institutions.

PartnershipsRefers, in the SL Approach, to Partnerships in the development process.


Passenger Liner

Very large ships built to transport lots of people. They have many bedrooms (cabins) and eating areas. They are like floating hotels.

Patch Reef

 A mound like or flat-topped organic reef, generally less than 1 km across, frequently forming part of a larger reef complex


 Dark-brown to black, fibrous material produced by plants which grow in marshes or bogs. When exposed on the beach face, it indicates long-term erosion and landward barrier migration.


Rounded lumps of rock. These were broken off the cliff and made round by the waves rolling them up and down the beach.


capable of living any place from top to bottom in the oceanic water column; not restricted to living at the bottom.

People centered

Sustainable poverty elimination will be achieved only if external support focuses on what matters to people, understands the differences between groups of people and works with them in a way that fits in with their current livelihood strategies, social environment and ability to adapt.
Perched Beach - Beach or fillet of sand retained above the otherwise normal profile level by a submerged dike or sill.

Perched Beach

 A beach or fillet of sand retained above the otherwise normal profile level by a submerged dike

Photic Zone

The zone extending downward from the ocean surface within which the light is sufficient to sustain photosynthesis. The depth of this layer varies with water clarity, time of year and cloud clover, but is about 100m in the open ocean.It may be considered the depth to which all light is filtered out except for about one percent and may be calculated as about two and a half-times the depth of a secchi disk reading.


 The science of deducing the physical dimensions of objects from measurements on images (usually photographs) of the objects


An assemblage of photographs, each of which shows part of a region, put together in such a way that each point in the region appears once and only once in the assemblage, and scale variation is minimized


A vertical structure that support the spans of a bridge. Pier structures are sometimes referred to as jetties.
Pile - Long, heavy section of timber, concrete or metal driven or jetted into the earth or seabed as support or protection.
Pile, Sheet - Pile with a generally slender, flat cross section driven into the ground or seabed and meshed or interlocked with like members to form a diaphragm, wall, or bulkhead.

Plunge Point

For a plunging wave, the point at which the wave curls over and falls.The final breaking point of the waves just before they rush up on the beach

Pocket beach

A beach located between two headlands

Point source pollution

pollution that is discharged from a fixed location such as the end of a pipe.


One of the components of Policy, Institutions and Processes (PIPs), Policy can be thought of as a course or principle of action designed to achieve particular goals or targets. These tend to be broader and less specific than those of the programmes and projects used to implement Policy.


A contaminant that in a certain concentration or amount will adversely alter the physical, chemical, or biological properties of the environment-includes pathogens, heavy metals, carcinogens, oxygen-demanding materials, and all other harmful substances, including dredged spoil, solid waste, incinerator residue, sewage, garbage, sewage sludge, munitions, chemical wastes, biological materials, radioactive materials, and industrial, municipal, and agricultural wastes discharged into coastal waters.


Polluter pays principle

Political/economic principle stating that polluters should pay the full environmental costs of an activity. Some experts extend the principle to state that users that should pay the full social costs of an activity, but this is not universally accepted.

Polluter-pays Principle

 The principle adopted by the OECD countries in 1972, requires that the polluter should bear the costs that pollution damage or pollution control impose upon society


The man-made or man-induced alteration of the chemical, physical, biological, or radiological integrity of an aquatic ecosystem.

POPs(persistent organic pollutants)

 A diverse group of chemicals that persist in the environment, bioaccumulate through the food web, and pose a risk of causing adverse effects to human health and the environment. A group of twelve POPs (the "dirty dozen") have been initially selected for international action by the International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS).


A coastal town where ships and boats come and go.

Post project evaluation

A procedure to review the performance of a project with respect to its original objectives and the manner in which the project was carried out.
potentially active beach.

Precautionary approach

 The essence of the approach is expressed in Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration that states "Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason to postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation." The approach is concerned with avoiding risk that has not been assessed, i.e. uncertainty

Present value PV

The value of a stream of benefits or costs when discounted back to the present time.

Primary productionThe amount of plant life produced in a given area or environment


Primary waste treatment

A process that removes material that floats or will settle in sewage, accomplished by using screens to catch the floating objects and settling tanks for heavy matter, and often including chlorination; removes of about 30% of BOD and less than half of metals and toxic organics.



The likelihood of some event occurring.

Problem formulation

The first phase of ecological risk assessment, which includes a preliminary description of exposure and ecological effects, scientific data and data needs, key factors to be considered, and the scope and objectives of the assessment. This phase produces the risk hypotheses, conceptual model and analysis plan, around which the rest of the assessment develops.

Process approach

An approach to interventions in which broad objectives for change may be identified and agreed but the exact means by which these objectives will be achieved may, at the outset, be unknown and unknowable. Such interventions are approached in an exploratory mode. Implementation takes place in successive, defined, iterative stages with future activities being planned in the light of results gained as implementation proceeds.



One of the components of Policy, Institutions and Processes (PIPs). ‘Processes’ attempts to capture the dynamic element of policies and institutions and avoid a ‘snapshot’ approach. It refers to how things are done rather than what is done. It also refers to the ways policies and institutions change and/or interact with broader processes of change.


A programme is a set of activities designed to achieve a specific purpose. The term may describe a mix of projects, training and capacity building, budgetary support and policy dialogue. A programme may focus on a region – such as southern Africa –, a country, or an area within a country. It may be multi-sectoral or focus on a single sector.

Project Scope

The range of activities and issues addressed by a project.

Protected area

a natural area of land or water set aside by governmental action, as a right of ownership, to protect its resources from degradation.

Qualitative Risk

An analysis, which uses word form, descriptive or numeric rating scales to describe the magnitude of potential consequences and the likelihood that those consequences will occur.


Quantitative Risk

An analysis based on numerical values of the potential consequences and likelihood, the intention being that such values are a representation of the actual magnitude of the consequences and the probability of the various scenarios which are examined.


Rapid Rural Assessment RRA

A procedure for gathering and analyzing information about community socio-economic conditions preparatory to making development decisions; where community participation is a priority; also “Participatory Rural Assessment” (PRA) or “Rapid Coastal Assessment” (RCA).


Red tide

A massive “bloom” of dinoflagellate microscopic organisms that may produce neurotoxins such as paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) that infest marine organisms and humans that eat them; may kill fish and pollute the air with irritating substance; red or reddish brown discoloration of the sea.

Regulatory Agency

Usually a government ministry, department, office, directorate or other unit of government entrusted by law or administrative act with the responsibility for the general supervision of the safe design, construction and operations of structures or facilities, as well as any entity to which all or part of the executive or operational tasks and functions have been delegated by legal power.

Remote sensing

The acquisition and processing of information about a distant object or phenomenon without any physical contact; often done from satellites.

Replenishment zone

An area within a coastal reserve designated and managed as a non-exploitation sanctuary to enhance replenishment of fishery stocks.

Responsive and participatory

Poor people must be key actors in identifying and addressing livelihood priorities. Outsiders need processes that enable them to listen and respond to the poor.


Retaining wallWall built to hold back the earth.



A coastal land use strategy whereby structural development is withdrawn from the coast to a designated setback line farther inland.


A structure built to protect the shore from erosion, usually constructed from stones laid with a sloping face.



Pertaining to the banks of rivers and streams, and sometimes also wetlands, lakes, or tidewater.



A blanket of appropriately sized stones extending from the toe of slope to a height needed for long term durability. 



 A layer, facing, or protective mound of stones placed laterally to prevent erosion, scour, or sloughing of a structure or embankment; also, the stone so used.


Measure of the probability and severity of an adverse effect to life, health, property, or the environment. In the general case, risk is estimated by the combined impact of scenario, probability of occurrence and the associated consequence. In the special case, average risk is estimated by the mathematical expectation of the consequences of an adverse event occurring, that is, the product of the probability of occurrence and the consequence, combined over all scenarios.



Combines both the consequence and probability to prove and evaluation of the significance of a hazard scenario.


Risk analysis

The use of available information to estimate the risk to individuals or Risk Analysis   Used interchangeably with Risk Assessment.  It is the use of available information to estimate the risk to individuals or populations, property or the environment, from hazards. Risk analyses generally contain the following steps: definition of scope, hazard identification, estimation of probability of occurrence, consequence identification, and risk estimation.


Risk analysis phase

A phase of ecological risk assessment consisting of two main parts: 1) characterization of ecological effects— evaluating the ability of a stressor(s) to cause adverse effects under a particular set of circumstances, and 2) characterization of exposure— evaluating the interaction of the stressor with one or more ecological entities.


Risk assessment

The overall process of identifying and analyzing risks. The process of characterizing hazards within risk areas by analyzing them for their potential mishap consequences and probabilities of occurrence, and combining the two estimates to reach a risk rating.

Risk characterization

Description of the probabilities and consequences of a hazard, including the uncertainties in the estimates.


Risk communication

An interactive process of exchange of information and opinion among stakeholders; often involves multiple messages about the nature of risk or expressing concerns, opinions, or reactions to risk messages or to legal and institutional arrangements for risk management.


Risk estimation

Ideally, the conclusions of the risk characterization phase expressed as some type of quantitative statement (e.g., there is a 20% chance of 50% mortality under the circumstances assessed), but often expressed as a qualitative statement (e.g., there is a high likelihood of mortality occurring).

Risk Evaluation

The stage at which values and judgment enter the decision process, explicitly or implicitly, by including consideration of the importance of the estimated risks and the associated social, environmental, and economic consequences, in order to identify a range of alternatives for managing the risks.

Risk Management

The process, by which assessed risks are mitigated, minimized or controlled through engineering, management or operational means. This involves the optimal allocation of available resources in support of group goals. The process of evaluating and selecting action alternatives in response to risk assessment findings. It is the systematic application of management policies, procedures and practices to the tasks of identifying, analyzing, assessing, mitigating and monitoring risk.


Rock ProtectionA simple revetment comprising one layer of rock.



When a large mass of rock slips or falls down onto a beach. It is usually caused by the sea eroding the bottom of the cliff.

RubbleLoose, angular, waterworn stones along a beach.



That part of precipitation, snow melt, or irrigation water that runs off the land into streams or other water bodies, including coastal waters; it often carries pollutants from the land into the receiving waters.


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).

Tambak A brackish water coastal aquaculture pond



Covering of brushwood laid down to protect dune grasses and help trap sand.



A sharp vertical temperature gradient in the water whereby the temperature changes rapidly with depth (usually decreases)-occurring within a narrow horizontal layer, it shows on sonar as a sharp discontinuity and has important effects on distribution of life in the ocean.


At or near the mouth of a river, where the tides come in and out. Deltas and estuaries are tidal. As the sea level rises and falls, the sea comes in and out of them.

Tidal Current

The alternating horizontal movement of water associated with the rise and fall of the tide caused by the astronomical tide-producing forces.

Tidal Cycle Elapsed time between successive high and low waters.


Tidal Prism

The volume of water entering an estuary during an incoming tide; in other words, the difference between the volume of water in an estuary at high tide and the volume of water at low tide.


Tidal Range

The difference between successive high and low waters; the period of comparison can range over a week, month, year, or other time period.


Tidal Wetlands

Wetlands subject to the ebb and flood of the tide, defined by the State Tidal Wetlands Act, officially delineated on maps prepared by the Department of Environmental Conservation, and including the following ecological zones: intertidal marsh; coastal shoals; bars and flats; littoral zone; high marsh or salt meadow; and formerly connected tidal wetlands.


The sea does not stay at the same level all the time. It rises and falls approximately twice a day.

Tide Guage

A device for measuring the height (rise and fall) of the tide. Especially an instrument for automatically making a continuous graphic record of tide height versus time.

Tide Station

 A place where tide observations are obtained.


An unvegetated intertidal area (usually mud or sand).


The area of land covered by the ebb and flow of the tide; the area that lies between the higher high water mark and lower low water mark (see “intertidal zone”).
Tie Rod - Steel rod used to tie back the top of a bulkhead or seawall. Also, a U-shaped rod used to tie Sandgrabber blocks together, or a straight rod used to tie Nami Rings together.


Narrow sand deposits connecting a near-shore island with the beach.


Trends are a key element in the vulnerability context. They can have either a positive or a negative effect on livelihoods and involve changes that take place over a longer period of time than is the case with changes brought about by shocks or seasonality.


An instrument for the early detection, measurement, and real-time reporting of tsunamis in the open ocean. Also known as a tsunamimeter. The DART® system and cable deep-ocean pressure sensor are tsunameters.


A shallow water progressive wave, potentially catastrophic, caused by an underwater earthquake or volcano that can rise to great heights and catastrophically inundate shore lands.


Reduced water clarity resulting from the presence of suspended matter; also a measure of the amount of material suspended in the water.


A state of reduced clarity in a fluid caused by the presence of suspended matter.


Where a cliff is worn away at the bottom by the sea, causing the cliff to overhang.

Unified Coastal Zone Management

see Coastal Zone Management.


Land areas sufficiently inland from the shoreline so as to have limited interaction with the sea.


User charge

A charge levied upon users for the services rendered or goods supplied by a project.

Vegetation PlantingVegetation is an effective and inexpensive way to stabilize dunes and protect marshes.



The degree of loss to a given element or set of elements within the area affected by a hazard. It is expressed on a scale of 0 (no loss) to 1 (total loss). Also, a set of conditions and processes resulting from physical, social, economic, and environmental factors, which increase the susceptibility of a community to the impact of hazards.


Vulnerability Context

A key component in the SL framework, the Vulnerability Context refers to the shocks, trends and seasonality that affect people’s livelihoods – often, but not always, negatively. The key feature of all the factors within the Vulnerability Context is that they are not controllable by local people in the immediate or medium-term. Vulnerability or livelihood insecurity resulting from these factors is a constant reality for many poor people.


Horizontal beam on a bulkhead used to laterally transfer loads against the structure and hold it in a straight alignment.


Water table

The upper surface of groundwater; that level below which the soil is saturated with water.



The geographically defined region within which all water drains through a particular system of rivers, or other water bodies; watershed are defined by “watershed divides” (high points or ridges on the land) and includes hills, slopes, lowlands, floodplains and receiving body of water.



 Wave - A ridge, deformation, or undulation of the surface of a liquid (sea water) 

Wave period

Time period of the passage of two successive crests (or troughs) of a wave past a specific point.

Wave refraction

The process by which a wave moving in shallow water at an angle to the bed contours is changed in direction.


Wave Trough

The lowest part of a wave.

Weep hole

hole through a solid revetment, bulkhead or seawall for relieving water pressure

Weir or Sills

Log, boulder, or quarrystone structures placed across the channel and anchored to the streambank and/or bed to create pool habitat, control bed erosion, or collect and retain gravel.



Low-lying vegetated areas that are flooded at a sufficient frequency to support vegetation adapted for life in saturated soils, including mangrove swamps, salt marshes, and other wet vegetated areas (often between low water and the yearly normal maximum flood water level).

White Paper

A report produced by the British Government setting out its proposals for, and providing information on, a particular policy issue, such as international development. The goals and directions of the British Government’s policy on international development are laid down in the 1997 White Paper on International Development. This is now built upon in the 2000 White Paper II

Willingness to accept WTA

The minimum amount of compensation consumers would be willing to accept for foregoing units of consumption.


Willingness to pay WTP

The maximum amount consumers are prepared to pay for a good or service. WTP can be estimated as the total area under a demand curve. Changes in WTP can occur when the demand curve itself shifts because of changes in income or in the prices of substitute goods.

Zone of influence

An area adjacent to the coastal zone, which influences the condition of it’s resources and for which a mechanism is created for coordination with a Coastal Zone Management program.



A system of designating areas of land or water to be allocated to specific (often exclusive) uses; the division of a particular area into several zones, each of which is scheduled for a particular use or set of uses.