ecoglobe A Glossary from Namibia (West-Africa)
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  • agroforestry: farming system involving trees among crops; the trees usually serve to provide a wind break, to add nutrients to the soil and to provide shade and/or mulch
  • agro-pasturalists: farmers who grow crops and look after livestock
  • agrosilvipastoral system: farming system that includes crops, trees and cattle
  • alien vegetation: plants that invade and become established in an area in which they do not naturally occur
  • annual vegetation: plants that germinate from seed, grow and die in one year or less
  • aquifer - a bounded source of groundwater
  • arid - area with less than about 250 millimeters rainfall per year

  • biogas: energy-rich gas, mainly methane, produced from fermenting organic wastes
  • biological diversity - the number of organisms in an area, and the relative proportions of each kind
  • biophysical environment - the natural biological environment (plants and animals! and physical environment (soil, water, etc.~

  • browsers: animals that mainly eat the leaves, pods and shoots of trees and shrubs

  • carrying capacity: the maximum number of livestock or people that can gain a living from an area without damaging the environment
  • cash economy - a system where cash rather than barter is used as the medium of exchange common property resources - resources that are available to everyone and are not prlvate communrty land company - an innovative system of sustainable use of wildlife by communities conservation: prevention of loss of function and integrity of the natural environment
  • conservation ethic: a general, overall approach to conservation in which development and other activities take conservation of the environment into consideration convective thunder storms - storms that occur in summer and usually produce a large amount of rain in a short time and in a localised area
  • coppice: trees grown for periodic cutting; regrowth of trees that have had branches removed but were not destroyed cultivar - a variety of crop with specific characterlsbcs customary law - laws based on local customs and traditions
  • DDT: a kind of poisonous chemical compound used to kill insect pests but which is also toxic to other animals, including man
  • deforestation: destruction and removal of trees from a landscape
  • desertification: a process of environmental degradation in which the productivity of the land is reduced by mismanagement
  • drought - a normal occurrance in arid and semi-arid areas when there is a prolonged dry period during the growing period
  • drought proofing: advance preparation against loss from droughts
  • ecosystem: all living and non-living components in a landscape that interact and influence one another
  • ecotourism - tourism in which the natural environment is one of the main interests of the tourists
  • efundja: a large flood in the oshana system
  • environment - the living and non-living things that surround an organism
  • environmental degradation: destruction of the living or non-living things and a reduction of the productivity of an
  • area ephemeral - something that lasts a short bme
  • episodic - occasionally, usually memorable, such as a very large flood or severe drought
  • evapotranspiration - water that is lost to the atmosphere from vegetation during the process of photosvnthesis hrtile: productive
  • food security: assurance that food will be available when needed either by growing it, storing it, or importing it into an area
  • fuel-efficient stoves: stoves that reduce the loss of heat from fires and channel it to productive use
  • geomorphological processes: erosion soil formation and other processes that alter the physical environment on the
  • earth's surface grazers - animals that eat mainly grass
  • groundwater: water that is stored beneath the soil surface
  • groundwater recharge: addition of water to the existing groundwater store to replace water lost by abstraction, evaporation or transpiration
  • hand-dug wells: relatively deep shafts with more or less vertical walls that are dug by hand into the earth down to the water table. Water is retrieved from the bottom of the shaft using buckets on ropes or other mechanical devices
  • intercropping - growing different crops together so that soil fertility and/or pest control is enhanced invasive vegetation - generally unpalatable, indigenous or alien vegetation that tends to become established and proliferates in areas that are overgrazed or over stocked
  • land race: a type of plant that is used in a particular area and can be differentiated at least genetically
  • land tenure: the type of land ownership system
  • legumes: plants in the pea and bean family with roots that fix atmospheric nitrogen and release nitrogenous compounds into the soil thereby increasing soil fertility
  • malnutrition - eating some food but not enough of the right kinds of food, resulting in an imbalance of nutrients
  • micro-nutrients - nutrients that are required in very small amounts for plant and animal growth and maintenance
  • migratory routes - pathways that animals take on a regular basis between distant areas
  • monitor - to record and observe an event, ohen over a period of time
  • non-renewable natural resources: nonliving natural resources, such as minerals, that cannot reproduce themselves and therefore cannot be replenished once used or extracted
  • nutrients - food substances that promote growth and maintenance of the b°dV
  • omavanda - dried "cabbages~ made from fresh, wild spinaches known as ombidi
  • omufima IPlural omifima~ - shallow, hand dug, conical pit designed to trap and store water in the oshanas
  • organic matter - living organisms or their products, for example leaf liner
  • oshana - local name for the system of interconnected drainage channels that flow through central Owambo
  • perennial vegetation - vegetation that lives for more than one year, usually many years
  • permaculture - a consciously designed agricultural ecosystem which has the diversity, stability and resilience of a natural ecosystem
  • potable water - water that is suitable for drinking
  • potential evaporation: the amount of evaporation that takes place from open water
  • rainfall variability - the panern of rainfall in arid environments where the amount of rain, and when and where it falls differ widely from year to year
  • ared line~ - the veterinary cordon fence that protects livestock and game from common diseases found north of the fence
  • renewable natural resources - resources such as plants and animals that can be used on a sustainable basis as they grow and renew themselves saline-impregnated with salts
  • seasonality - condition where processes occur only during certain parts of the year
  • semi-arid - areas where mean rainfall is between about 250 and 600 millimeters per annum; rainfall is seasonal and potential evaporation is high
  • social forestry - involvement of local people in the planting of trees of use and interest to these people as shade fuel construction and food or for othe;identified purposes
  • socio-economic environment - the system of social and economic interactions and conditions in which people operate
  • soil nutrients - organic and inorganic compounds that occur in the soil and are essential to or at least improve plant growth
  • solar energy: energy from the sun that can be captured and used
  • statutory law: laws that are enacted by a legislative body and contained in a written form
  • subsistence economy: a situation in which people provide for all their own needs from their immediate environment
  • sustainable - to keep going continuously or to use something in such a way that it continues to renew itself for further use
  • sustainable agriculture - agriculture that does not degrade the soil or other resources upon which it depends
  • sustainable development - development that does not require a continuous input from outside itself to remain viable
  • sustainable resource use - use of natural resources, e g. soil, water, plants and animals, so that the supply is not diminished
  • topography - natural features on the surface of the earth
  • transhumance: seasonal movement of canle and humans over great distances in response to the availability of water and/or grazing
  • undernourishment: the state where humans or animals have some food but not enough for optimal health, growth and maintenance
  • unpalatable: not pleasant to the taste
  • water balance: the balance between the income and the loss or use of water in a particular area. Humans often upset the
  • water balance by using too much or by polluting what is there
  • wildlife use: use of wildlife to help satisfy human needs

    Names of plants frequently used in the text - followed by their KwaNyama name (K), their scientific name (S), and their English name (E)
  • baobab: K: omukwa, S: Adansonia digitata, E: baobab
  • beans- K: omakunde, S: Vigna unguicu/ata, E: beans
  • Berchemia - K: omuve, S: Berchemia discolor, E: bird plum
  • Diospyros- K: omwandi, S: Diospyros mespiliformis
  • Euclea - K: omudime, S: Euclea divinorum fig - K: omukwlyu, S: Ficus sycomorus, E: fig
  • Harpagophytum: K: omalyata, S: Harpagophytum aeyheri
  • marula - K: omwoongo, S: Sclerocarya birrea, E: marula
  • mopane- K: omusati, S: Colophospermum mopane, E: mopane
  • palm - K: omulunga, S: Hyphaene petersiana, E: palm
  • omahangu: K: omahangu, S: Pennisetum americanum, E: pearl millet
  • pumpkin: K: etango, S: Cucurbita moschata, E: pumpkin
  • sorghum: S: Sorghum bicolor
  • Terminalia: K: omwoolo, S: Terminalia sericea, E: silver terminalia
  • watermelon: K: ekanuwa, S: Citrullus lanatus, E: watermelon

Source: Cunningham, Tony and others (1992) Oshanas: Sustaining people, environment and development in central Owambo, Namibia. (Foreword by Dr Zedekia Ngavirue, Director-General National Planning Commission)DRFN and SIDA (Swedish international Development Authority)
(Back cover text: “The State shall actively promote and maintain the welfare of the people by adopting ... policies aimed at ... maintenance of ecosystems, essential ecological processes and biological diversity of Namibia and utilization of living natural resources on a sustainable basis for the benefit of all Namibians, both in present and future ..” Constitution of Namibia, Article 95)
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