Glossary

Biodiverse / biodiversity
The quantity of plant and animal species found in a given environment. On a larger scale, habitat diversity is the variety of places where organisms live.

Biosequestration / Carbon capture
Naturally capturing and storing CO₂ released from burning fossil fuels. Biological options include carbon trapping in soil or photosynthesising trees and algae.

Carbon forest sinks
As a tree grows, it absorbs CO₂ from the air and stores carbon within its leaves, stem, wood, bark and roots. A forest sink can refer to a collection of trees planted for the purpose of absorbing carbon emissions from the atmosphere.

Carbon maturity
The point in the life time of a tree when it is sequestering carbon at a maximum rate. Depending on the type of tree, as a forest goes through different phases of growth the trees take up carbon at varying rates. Starting, for the first ten years, relatively slowly, the tree will often hit a rapid sequester phase before levelling off at a mature phase of consistent sequestration.

Germination
With proper temperature, water, exposure to light, oxygen and a preceding period of dormancy, a seed will show signs of development. Starting the growth of the embryo inside the seed, the first signs of development come from a primary root indicating a start to its germination.

Photosynthesis
An important plant process that produces sugars for the plant and releases oxygen into the atmosphere. Sun light, water, minerals and carbon dioxide are all absorbed by the plant. From these, the plant makes glucose energy for growth and produces oxygen which is the let off into the air.

Marginal land
Land which is difficult to cultivate and yields little profit. Marginal land is usually poor-quality or desolate such as upland and desert border.

Native remnants (referring to woodland)
The native plant populations that are frequently under conservation as a consequence of habitat fragmentation. These plants often require effective management and research in order to maintain the roles that they play in Australian ecosystems.

Native vegetation
Native plants like trees, shrubs, herbs and grasses that would have grown naturally in a particular area. In Australia, it often includes local plants before European arrival.

Soil salinity
When salts accumulate in the soil and affect plant growth and development. Salinity reduces plant production and can damage communities as farm income drops and spending within a community decreases.

Spatial planning and landscape assessment
Seeking the best possible use of land. The process of carrying out development with the most desirable environmental and socio-economic outcomes, while minimising impacts on the environment.

Understorey (vegetation)
In Australian forests, understory vegetation consists of a mixture of seedlings and saplings of canopy trees together with understory shrubs and herbs. It is also a term for the area of a forest which grows at the lowest height level below the forest canopy.

Water tables
The level below which the ground is completely saturated with water – the upper-level of the permeable zone known as an aquifer.