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abyssal (zone or plain) the deepest parts of the ocean where no light penetrates and where the water is devoid of oxygen
aeolian transported by wind
agropastoral relating to a form of agriculture based on both growing crops and raising livestock
AIDS acquired immune deficiency syndrome caused by the transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
alien refers to a species of plant or animal that has been introduced or spread outside of their native habitat
alluvial transported by water in a stream or river
altitude the vertical elevation of an object above a surface such as land or sea
anticyclone the circulation of winds around a centre of high atmospheric pressure; anticlockwise in the southern hemisphere
antiretroviral therapy a treatment regime of drugs used to inhibit the reproduction of retroviruses in diseases such as HIV/AIDS
aquatic related to water
aquifer an underground body of rock or sediment that holds water
archaeological related to the study of past human life through the recovery and analysis of material remains
aridity severe dryness due to low precipitation and high evaporation rates
artefact an object shaped by human workmanship of historical or archaeological interest
artesian relating to the rise of groundwater to the surface due to natural water pressure
asset an item of monetary or other value that provides positive current or future benefit
average the sum of a set of numbers divided by the total number of values in the set, providing an approximate middle value; the mean value
Bantu a collective term for people from a wide range of indigenous ethnic groups in sub-Saharan Africa
base level the lowest level towards which erosion of the earth’s surface (by water or wind) progresses
basement rock metamorphic or igneous rock that forms the earth’s crust, which may lie below layers of sedimentary rock or be exposed at the surface
bathymetry the measurement of the depth of the ocean or other waterbody to reveal the topography of the bed or floor below
biodiversity the diversity of plant and animal life in a particular habitat
biomass the mass of living organisms contained within a defined ecosystem at a given time
biome a major ecological community, extending over a large area and characterised by a dominant vegetation type
borehole a narrow shaft drilled into the ground for the purpose of extracting water or other liquids and gases
broadleaved referring to a tree within the angiosperm group that has flat leaves and seeds inside of fruits
browse to eat shoots, twigs and leaves as opposed to grass (v.); also refers to the shoots twigs and leaves that browsers eat (n.)
browser an animal that eats leaves, shoots and twigs off bushes and trees
bush encroachment an increase in the biomass or density of woody plants to the detriment of grasses and forbs
bush meat any meat that derived from hunted wild animals
bush toilet defecation in the open bush rather than in some form of latrine
by-catch the incidental capture of non-target species, such as dolphins, turtles or seabirds, on fishing hooks or in nets
calcium carbonate a white crystalline salt (CaCO3) that often cements sediment particles together; found naturally in limestone, marble and calcite and used to produce lime and cement
calcrete sedimentary rock cemented by calcium carbonate; often forms a resistant, but porous, surface layer
capital (asset) money, real estate or other items of value that can provide resilience and/or be used to generate financial growth
captured (river) when the flow of a river or drainage system is diverted, due to erosion, uplift, fractures or other causes, to flow down a neighbouring system
carnivore an animal with a diet exclusively comprising meat
catchment an area of land, bounded by watersheds, within which water from precipitation collects and drains into a common drainage feature, such as a river, an aquifer or other body of water.
cattle post a temporary dwelling occupied by herders that is located in an area which provides both water and grazing to livestock
CE Common Era; numerically equivalent to, but used as a religiously neutral alternative to, AD (Anno Domini; in the Year of the Lord); BCE (Before the Common Era) is equivalent to the era BC (Before Christ)
census the systematic enumeration and recording of information on the members of a particular population
centimole unit of measure for small amounts of chemical elements; equal to 0.01 of a mole
central highlands the elevated plateau and hilly landscape in the centre of Namibia
central meridian the central line of longitude for a given map projection
climate change the long-term change in weather patterns over decades, centuries or millennia; recently the term is most commonly used in the context of impacts caused by human actions
cold-pressed the extraction of oils from seeds by crushing at room temperature
colluvial relating to deposits transported by gravity (colluvium)
colony (colonial; colonist) a country or area which is controlled and administered by another more powerful country, often far away
communal area/land a part of the country usually owned by the state (state land) where customary land rights apply and is managed in part by traditional authorities
communal conservancy a formally demarcated and registered area within communal land for the purposes of conserving and protecting the environment and wildlife, and procuring revenue from the sustainable use of the natural resources it contains
community forest a formally demarcated and registered area within communal land, often sharing the same boundary as a communal conservancy, for the purposes of managing the use of, and protecting, plant resources, and improving livelihoods
complex (rock) a unit of rock layers consisting of more than one major class of rock, that is, metamorphic rock (from high temperature and pressure), igneous rock (from volcanic activity) or sedimentary rock (from deposition of sediments)
continental shelf the margin of a continent that is submerged under relatively shallow water before the seafloor slopes away into much deeper waters
Coriolis force the deflection of air and ocean currents caused by the rotation of the earth; deflection is to the right in the northern hemisphere and to the left in the southern hemisphere
craton the stable, immobile interior part of a continent comprised of ancient basement rock
cryptic relating to species adapted to blend in with their environment to avoid detection by threats such as predators
customary land rights land rights allocated and usually secured according to traditional law or custom
cut back pertaining to erosion at the headwaters of a river in the opposite direction to river flow resulting in a gradual extension of the river channel
dam a constructed barrier or wall that restricts the flow of surface or subsurface water or underground streams; in southern Africa the term dam is most often taken to refer to the reservoir of water created by the wall, rather than the actual wall itself
deflation basin a hollow formed by the removal of loose particles, such as sand, by wind erosion
demersal on or near the bottom of a body of water
demography the statistical study of human populations, particularly with respect to number, density and distribution of people
desalination the removal of dissolved salts from seawater to produce water suitable for human consumption
doline a sinkhole caused by the collapse of the surface layer and most commonly found in Karst (limestone-rich) landscapes
drought a period of time when an area or region receives persistently lower than normal rainfall
dryland cropping the practice of growing crops in the absence of irrigation in arid areas
dune a mound or ridge of sand formed and shaped by the wind; there are several different types depending on the local substrate and wind regime, for example, linear, lunette, barchan, star and hummock
dwarf shrub short woody plant bearing fruits on shoots close to the ground
dyke a body of younger rock that cuts vertically through surrounding older layers of rock
ecosystem service a recognised process or output provided by nature including food, water, shelter and recreation
eendobe (pl.); ondobe (sing.) local (Oshiwambo) name for small freshwater pond(s)
eendungu (pl.); ondungu (sing.) local (Oshiwambo) name for hand-dug well(s) in stable soil up to a depth of 20 metres
efundja (pl.); omafundja (sing.) local (Oshiwambo) name for the seasonal flooding of the Cuvelai drainage system in northern Namibia by the influx of rainwater runoff from Angola
Ekman transport the increasing deflection of water movement within an ocean current, caused by the Coriolis force, to the point where the water movement is at right angles to the direction of the surface wind
El Niño the warm phase of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation when a band of warm water builds up in the central and east-central equatorial Pacific Ocean affecting weather patterns across the globe; the cold phase is known as La Niña
ellipsoid in mapping, a three-dimensional shape based on a two-dimensional ellipse; a circular shape with one axis longer than the other
emigration leaving one country (usually country of origin) or area to permanently settle in another
endemic; endemism indigenous to a specified region or environment and not occurring naturally anywhere else
endorheic referring to a closed drainage basin from which water has no outflow to other bodies of water and accumulates as a lake or swamp
ephemeral referring to a natural event, such as a river flowing, which lasts for only a short time
episodic referring to an irregular repeated event
escarpment an area of steep elevation change separating two relatively level areas of land
estuary a coastal body of water fed by a river but with tidal connection to the sea
evaporation the process of water being heated by the sun and returning to the atmosphere as water vapour
evapotranspiration the evaporation of water from the soil, open water bodies and other surfaces and through transpiration by plants
exclusive economic zone the marine area outside the territorial sea of Namibia but extending 200 nautical miles from the shore in which Namibia has rights to exploration, exploitation, conservation or management of the natural resources
fault a discontinuity caused by fractures in surface rocks due to tectonic forces
fertility rate the average number of children born to a population of women during their reproductive years
floodplain a flat area of land next to a river which is periodically inundated during periods of high flow
floristic group groups of plants that share similar origins and evolutionary histories
fog low-lying cloud comprising tiny water droplets held in suspension at or close to the ground
fossil a remnant, impression or trace of a plant or animal from a past geological era
freehold land land which is privately owned without time limits and is transferrable to heirs
genus (sing.); genera (pl.) in taxonomy, the second order of classification above species
geodetic system an ellipsoidal framework applied to Earth to reference latitude and longitude coordinates; WGS84 is used for Global Positioning Systems and is believed to have an error of less than two centimetres
geology the study of the physical history of the earth in terms of the rocks of which it is composed and the chemical and physical processes that it has undergone
geophysics an area of science concerned with the study of the physical processes and properties of the earth
geothermal (energy) heat generated below the earth’s surface from the radioactive decay of materials; available as a reusable energy source
Gini coefficient a measure representing the income or wealth inequality within a population; zero represents perfect equality, one represents maximum inequality
graben a valley caused by the downward displacement of a block of rock that is bordered on its sides by faults
gradient the rate of increase or decrease in elevation of a section of land surface, or of temperature between two points
graze grasses, herbs and non-woody vegetation (n.); feed or eat on grassland (v.)
grazer an animal feeding close to the ground on grasses, herbs and other non-woody vegetation
grid (electricity) an interconnected transmission network for the supply of electricity from producers to consumers
gross domestic product a measure of the market value of all final goods and services produced in a country within a certain time period
groundwater water held underground in the pores between soil particles and crevices in rock
group (rocks) a geological rock unit comprising a collection of individual rock formations
gypsum a mineral consisting of hydrated calcium sulphate (CaSO4·2H20); formed through evaporation, it often covers extensive areas
gyre a large system of circulating ocean currents formed by global wind patterns and the influence of the Coriolis force
habitat the natural environment of a plant or animal
herb a non-woody, seed-bearing annual, biennial or perennial plant that dies down to the ground after flowering
herbivore an animal adapted to feed on plant material
heritage site a building, historical site or unspoilt area considered important to a country’s heritage; see also World Heritage Site
HIV human immunodeficiency virus, a retrovirus which causes AIDS
Holocene the current geological time period which extends back to the last ice age about 11,700 years ago
home range the area in which an animal moves and which contains all the resources it requires to survive and reproduce
hominoid belonging to the biological grouping that includes humans, their fossil ancestors and the great apes
household a unit comprising a dwelling and its occupants
human–wildlife conflict the negative interactions between people and wildlife as a result of competition for resources, such as food, water and space
humidity the concentration of water vapour in the air; because air temperature affects humidity, a frequently used measure is relative humidity which quantifies the amount of water vapour in the air as a percentage of how much water vapour the air can hold at that temperature before it reaches saturation point
hunter-gatherer a nomadic human from a society that obtains all of its food from collecting wild plants and hunting wild animals
igneous (rock) rock formed from the cooling and solidification of magma or larva following volcanic activity
iishana (pl.); oshana (sing.) local (Oshiwambo) name for shallow depressions or channels that characterise the Cuvelai drainage system
immigration the movement of people to permanently settle in a foreign country
important bird area an area that is considered globally important for the conservation of bird populations based on an internationally recognised set of criteria
independent power an entity, which is not the national utility, that producer produces electricity and sells it or makes it available to the national utility (NamPower) or end users
indigenous originating or occurring naturally in a particular place
informal settlement an unplanned settlement on land that has not been surveyed or proclaimed for development, usually comprising informal dwellings such as shacks
inlier an outcrop of older rocks surrounded by younger rocks
inselberg an isolated hill or small mountain that rises significantly above a surrounding plain
Intertropical Convergence Zone the belt of converging air near the equator where winds from the northern and southern hemispheres meet; the geographical position of the zone shifts seasonally
intrusion molten rock from below the surface (magma) that has been forced upwards through cracks and spaces in neighbouring rock bodies
invasive relating to a species (alien or indigenous) that outcompetes and eventually excludes other species in an area, threatening local biodiversity
inventory a collection of scientific information on the status and trends of certain natural resources, for example, lands, soils, water, plants, animals
inversion layer a layer of the atmosphere where the usual air temperature gradient is reversed, such that air temperature increases with altitude
irradiance the power or instantaneous rate of energy received by a surface, originating from the sun, measured in watts per square metre, which is usually measured by the average rate of accumulation of energy over one hour, day or year; compare radiation
irrigation practice of supplying water to land or crops via pipes, sprinklers, ditches or streams to promote plant growth
Khoekhoe a Khoisan language (characterised by clicks) spoken in Namibia, South Africa and Botswana
kimberlite an intrusive igneous rock that sometimes contains diamonds; so named after Kimberley in South Africa
kleptocracy a form of government where corrupt political leaders use their positions of power to enrich themselves at the cost of the people they govern
land cover the vegetation, water or constructed features that cover the earth’s surface
latitude a geographic coordinate that indicates the north– south position of a place or an object
leapfrog development a developed settlement located just outside the jurisdiction of an urban area which benefits from the services provided by the neighbouring town, yet avoids the requirement to contribute to it
leasehold (tenure) where a land or property owner grants to another party the right of exclusive possession of the land or property for a stated period of time
leeward referring to the sheltered side of a hill or mountain that faces the direction towards which the wind is blowing
life expectancy a measure of the average period a person may expect to live based on several factors including gender and geographic location
livelihood the methods and means of making a living
localised occurring within a particular area
longitude a geographic coordinate that indicates the east–west position of a place or an object
mahangu local name for pearl millet, Pennisetum glaucum
malnourishment deficient in proper nutrition due to a lack of food or a nutritionally unbalanced diet
mantle the zone within the earth between the core and the crust
marine referring to the ocean and includes all living and inorganic matter within or upon it
median a value in a series of numbers, arranged from smallest to largest, which has an equal number of values above and below it or is the average of the two middle values if there is no one middle value
metamorphic (rock) any rock derived from the recrystallisation of pre- exisiting rocks in response to increases in temperature or pressure
migration the movement of people or wildlife from one location to another
nature-based tourism includes wildlife viewing and hunting, and outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, birdwatching and adventure tourism
nocturnal active at night and inactive during the day
non-invasive not spreading, infiltrating or harming other species in a habitat
non-renewable an energy source that will not replenish within our energy resource lifetimes, or even within thousands of years, such as fossil fuels like coal, petroleum and natural gas
offshore located seawards from the shoreline
ohambo local (Oshiwambo) name for cattle post
omashisha (pl.); ashisha (sing.) local (Oshiwambo) name for baskets for storing harvested grain at the homestead
omifima (pl.); omufima (sing.) local (Oshiwambo) name for shallow hand-dug wells; typically cone shaped
omiramba (pl.); omuramba (sing.) local (Otjiherero) name for ancient, gently sloping riverbeds in the Kalahari and Namib sands in northeastern Namibia
onshore located landwards from the shoreline
orogen a mountain belt formed by the folding or faulting of the earth’s crust, such as when subcontinents collide
pan a shallow depression in a sandy substrate that may be seasonally filled with water
pastoral nomad someone with a livestock-dependent livelihood that moves cyclically or periodically within an established territory to graze their animals
peninsula a portion of land surrounded by water with the exception of the narrow land bridge (isthmus) that connects it to a larger land body
perennial relating to a river or waterbody that is present during all seasons of the year, or a plant that lives for several years
petroglyph a form of rock art where the image is incised into the rock through picking, carving or abrading
phylogeny the evolutionary history of a species or group in terms of lines of descent and relationships
pioneer someone who ventures into unknown or unclaimed territory initiating its occupation by new settlers; a plant or animal that is among the first to become established in an area, especially after disturbance
plant productivity the amount of biomass generated by growing plants in an ecosystem
porous the capacity of a rock which allows gas or liquid to pass through
precipitation any form of water, formed from condensation of water vapour in the atmosphere, that falls to the ground or collects on a surface; most commonly, rain, dew or fog in Namibia
primate a taxonomic order of mammals that includes monkeys, apes and humans
private land land held by outright ownership with security of title; also referred to as freehold land
pro-Namib the area along the eastern edge of the Namib Desert
projection(s) the transformation of the curved surface of the earth onto a flattened plane for the purpose of producing maps
protected area (state) an area of government land proclaimed in an official gazette that is demarcated for the purposes of protecting all the living and non-living elements contained within it
radiation a generic term covering all forms of radiant energy falling on the surface of the earth and originating from the sun; compare irradiance
rainy season the period of consecutive months when most of an area’s rain falls
Ramsar site a wetland area that is recognised by the Ramsar Convention as being of particular conservation importance from a global perspective
refugia (pl.); refugium (sing.) particular places in which populations of organisms can survive a period of unfavourable conditions
remittance money that is sent to a distant recipient; the amount of money sent to family back home by a migrant worker, for example
renewable energy a source of energy, such as biofuel, geothermal resource energy, solar and wind, that is naturally replenished or not depleted with use
riparian relating to, or situated on, the land (bank) alongside a watercourse or waterbody
rock art human-made markings on natural surfaces dating back to prehistoric periods
runoff the excess rainfall or other water that flows off or drains away, rather than being absorbed by the land
satellite tracking using a satellite transmitter attached to an animal in order to capture location data to track its movements
savanna an area of grassland and trees with an open canopy in a country with a hot, seasonally dry climate
scavenger an animal that searches for and eats dead or decaying matter, rather than hunting live prey
sediment solid fragments of either organic or inorganic matter that are carried by wind, water or ice and deposited elsewhere
sedimentary (rock) rocks formed near the earth’s surface from sediment, which is deposited in layers over time and compacted
semi-arid an area of dry land with a ratio of annual precipitation to potential evapotranspiration of between 0.2 and 0.5
sill a flat sheet of intruded rock lying parallel to the older existing rock layers
soil solution the water between the soil particles with dissolved gases, minerals and organic matter
solar photovoltaic technology technology which uses panels made from semi- conductor material to generate electricity from sunlight
solar power plant a power plant that generates electricity from solar energy using photovoltaic panels or solar-concentrating mirrors
species (pl. and sing.) a group of living organisms that share common characteristics and are capable of interbreeding; the basic unit of taxonomy
spring a water source that flows naturally from the ground due to it being at or below the level of the groundwater from which it originates
state capture a form of corruption; when politicians and businesses conspire to influence the state’s decision-making processes and the legal and economic environment for their own personal interests
state land land controlled by the state; often referred to as government land, however, governments are short-
lived and transient
statistics the collection, organisation, analysis and interpretation of data
stocking rate the number of animals on a given amount of land over a certain period of time
Stone Age a prehistoric period characterised by the use of stone tools
stromatolite a fossilised sedimentary rock layer formed from the accumulation of cyanobacteria
substrate the ground surface (for example, rock, soil, sand) upon which an organism lives, grows or feeds
subterranean located, existing or done below the ground
succulent a plant, especially in arid areas, with thick, fleshy parts for storing water
supercontinent a single continental landmass made up of multiple continents
supergroup a set of two or more geological groups
sustainable able to continue without long-term effects to the environment or resource base
swamp an area of land that is permanently saturated with water; waterlogged ground
systematics taxonomy; the scientific study of living organisms concerned with classifying and naming them
tectonic referring to the forces within the earth that cause movement in the earth’s crust
telemetry remote automatic collection of measurements and other data using radio waves or other means
temperate relating to the climate of areas located between the tropics and polar regions, which usually experience distinct seasonal changes
tenure referring to the type and conditions of ownership of land or property
terrestrial referring to land (as opposed to ocean)
topography the forms and features of the earth’s surface, such as mountains, valleys, rivers and plains
tourism concession an area of state land managed by a non-state entity primarily for the purposes of tourism
tradability referring to the extent that goods or services can be sold in a location distant from where they were produced
traditional rights rights to land which is not surveyed or registered; sometimes called ancestral rights
tragedy of the commons referring to the lack of collective responsibility for land that is accessible to many individual users who act according to their own self-interest
transfrontier referring to conservation areas that are contiguous across international borders
trophic cascade an ecological event that involves changes to the structure of an ecosystem triggered when one or more levels of the food chain is suppressed or encouraged
tropical referring to a climate that is warm to hot and humid all year round
turbidite a deposit from a waning turbulent flow
upwelling the movement of water and nutrients from the ocean depths to displace water closer to the surface
vegetation a general term for the total collection of plant species growing in a particular area
veterinary cordon fence / veterinary red line an exclusion fence separating the north of Namibia from the south to protect the beef industry in the south from foot-and-mouth disease and lung disease, for example, to allow it to engage in the international exportation of produce
veterinary district areas into which Namibia is divided for the purpose of providing government veterinary services
virgin oil oil extracted from the first pressing of the fruit and/or nuts
volcanic related to molten rock, ash and other material produced by a volcano
wastewater water that is contaminated by human use and requires purification before it can be reused or returned to the environment
watershed a ridge of land that separates rivers and streams flowing in one direction from those flowing in the opposite direction
weekend farm stemming from the colonial era, many affluent Namibians reside in urban centres during the working week and return to the family farm at weekends
weir a low barrier or dam across a river to raise the upstream water level and control water flow, often to measure streamflow
wetland an area of land that is seasonally or permanently covered with water; if the latter, then it is characterised by the presence of aquatic plants
wind farm a collection of wind turbines in an area that produce electricity and are connected to an electricity network as a single power station
windward referring to the side of a hill or mountain that faces into the prevailing wind
woodland an area where the dominant form of vegetation is trees which don’t form a closed canopy
woody plant a plant with a hard stem, such as trees and shrubs
World Heritage Site a legally protected site considered to have outstanding universal value by an international commission administered by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization)