A study approach that integrates environmental and information sciences to define entities and natural processes. 

The system’s capacity to maintain composition, structure, functioning and self-organisation over time using processes and elements characteristic for its ecoregion and within a natural range of variability. 

The interrelationships among organisms, their environment(s) and each other; the ways in which organisms interact and the processes that determine the cycling of energy and nutrients through natural systems. 

Using, conserving and enhancing the community’s resources so that ecological processes, on which life depends, are maintained, and the total quality of life, now and in the future, can be increased. 

An interrelated biological system comprising living organisms in a particular area, together with physical components of the environment such as air, water and sunlight. 

The ability of an ecosystem to generate an ecosystem service under current ecosystem condition, management and uses, at the highest yield or use level that does not negatively affect the future supply of the same or other ecosystem services from that ecosystem. 

The system properties of the ecosystem and its major abiotic and biotic components (water, soil, topography, vegetation, biomass, habitat and species) with examples of characteristics, including vegetation type, water quality and soil type. 

The quality of an ecosystem measured in terms of its abiotic and biotic characteristics. 

Actions or attributes of the environment of benefit to humans, including regulation of the atmosphere, maintenance of soil fertility, food production, regulation of water flows, filtration of water, pest control and waste disposal. It also includes social and cultural services, such as the opportunity for people to experience nature. 

A periodic extensive warming of the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean that leads to a major shift in weather patterns across the Pacific. In Australia (particularly eastern Australia), El Niño events are associated with an increased probability of drier conditions.  

See also La Niña. 

Output or discharge, as in the introduction of chemicals or particles into the atmosphere, usually used in relation to greenhouse gas emissions. 

A system of market-based economic incentives to reduce the emission of pollutants. 

At high risk of extinction in the wild; in danger of extinction throughout all or a portion of its range. Criteria are established by the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth). 

Unique to a spatially defined area; in this report used mainly to refer to large bioregions of the continent and marine environment. 

The degree to which species and genes are found nowhere else; the number of endemic species in a taxonomic group or bioregion. 

Interaction and consultation with external groups such as community or other stakeholders. Meaningful engagement is a 2-way process that receives input as well as shares information.  

(Indigenous); the act of approaching Indigenous peoples about their Country, interests and aspirations. 

The Australian Government’s key environmental legislation, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, defines the environment as including: 

  • ecosystems and their constituent parts, including people and communities 
  • natural and physical resources 
  • the qualities and characteristics of locations, places and areas 
  • heritage values of places 
  • the social, economic and cultural aspects of a thing mentioned in the first 3 points. 

The Australian Government’s main environmental legislation; it provides the legal framework to protect and manage nationally and internationally important flora, fauna, ecological communities and heritage places. 

The naturally occurring living and nonliving components of Earth, together constituting the biophysical environment, that may provide benefits to humanity. 

Managed freshwater flow to natural water systems designed to maintain aquatic ecosystems. 

Excessive nutrients in a body of water, often leading to algal blooms or other adverse effects.  

See also algal bloom. 

The marine seabed, subsoil and waters between the 3 nautical-mile boundary and the 200 nautical-mile boundary off the coast of Australia. 

An area of continental shelf that extends beyond the Australian exclusive economic zone, the seabed of which forms part of Australia’s marine jurisdiction. 

Areal coverage – for example, of vegetation or sea ice. 

When there is no reasonable doubt that the last individual has died. 

When a species is known only to survive in cultivation or captivity, or in a natural population well outside its traditional range. 

Industries that rely on extracting a resource from the natural environment (e.g. mining, fishing, forestry).