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21-23 MARCH 2017

Final OpenNESS Annual Meeting in Smolenice, Slovakia

OpenNESS Glossary

OpenNESS Glossary [edited by Potschin, M.; Haines-Young, R.; Heink, U. and K. Jax] (2016): OpenNESS Glossary (V3.0), 35 pp. Grant Agreement No 308428. Available from:


In using and reviewing the terms it is important to note the scope and purpose of the work:

  • Although not always specifically mentioned when defining the terms we mean esp. the use of terms in an ecosystem service context.
  • The starting point was the set of ES/NC related terms developed through other initiatives such as the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA), the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), the UK National Ecosystem Assessment, and Rationalising Biodiversity Conservation in Dynamic Ecosystems (Rubicode). We consolidated the terms they defined into one list in early 2014, so that the similarities and differences could be reviewed and the applicability to OpenNESS discussed.
  • Through a three-month consultation process within the OpenNESS consortium, we asked for comments on the range of terms included in the glossary, the definitions themselves and suggestions for any additional terms.
  • As a result of the consultation the glossary now contains about 200 terms. It should be noted, however, that the terms included do not just reflect the ES literature but also the particular subjects that OpenNESS is focusing on covering; there are no clear boundaries. The original list was constructed through a dialogue in the consortium – and in the future we can add or drop terms as required.
  • The major changes made were to improve consistency and clarity, especially with the work done through the development of the OpenNESS Synthesis Papers.

  Developing the glossary

In preparing the glossary we do not imply that all the terms listed were developed from the ES community, but that they are often used in the ES literature, and potentially within OpenNESS. Although some terms may have been used by other people in other disciplines our main concern is not to trace their origins but to identify their relevance and applicability for OpenNESS. The purpose of the exercise was not to reinvent anything, but to provide a set of working definitions for the consortium. Ultimately we want to develop more of a narrative for each term, picking out the different thinking and the evolution of the concept.

  Elements of the glossary

The entries in the glossary deal with the:

  • Term: some terms are starred [*] which means that the term has been accepted as a working definition but internal discussions are already ongoing and 'patrons' (patron teams) have been formed to discuss those further and changes on the definition are likely to be expected in the next version of the glossary.
  • Definition: reflects agreed working definition for the OpenNESS consortium.
  • Source: that is where we took the direct quote from. Note, this does not mean origin (‘Herkunft’ in German), that is where it was first used or suggested.
  • Comment: ‘see also synthesis paper …’ refers to Synthesis Papers developed with in OpenNESS.

This glossary is also available as a pdf document in the OpenNESS online library.