The IPBES core glossary provides a standard definition for important terms of broad applicability to IPBES outputs. This core glossary does not replace the assessment-specific glossaries, but is complementary to them. It was developed by a glossary committee established for this purpose.

Displaying 1 - 14 of 14
Term Definition
Target-seeking scenarios

See "scenarios".


A category applied to a group in a formal system of nomenclature, e.g., species, genus, family etc. (plural: taxa).

Technical papers

Technical papers are based on the material contained in the assessment reports and are prepared on topics deemed important by the Plenary.

Technical summary

A Technical Summary is a longer detailed and specialized version of the material contained in the summary for policymakers.


Telecoupling refers to socioeconomic and environmental interactions over distances. It involves distant exchanges of information, energy and matter (e.g., people, goods, products, capital) at multiple spatial, temporal and organizational scales.

Tenure security

An agreement between an individual or group to land and residential property, which is governed and regulated by a legal and administrative framework includes both customary and statutory systems.

Territorial Use Rights in Fisheries (TURFs)

Give a specific harvester exclusive access to ocean areas

J. E. Wilen, Cancino, & Uchida, 2012
Threatened species

In the IUCN Red List terminology, a threatened species is any species listed in the Red List categories Critically Endangered, Endangered, or Vulnerable.

Tipping point

A set of conditions of an ecological or social system where further perturbation will cause rapid change and prevent the system from returning to its former state.


A trade-off is a situation where an improvement in the status of one aspect of the environment or of human well-being is necessarily associated with a decline in or loss of a different aspect. Trade-offs characterize most complex systems, and are important to consider when making decisions that aim to improve environmental and/or socio-economic outcomes. Trade-offs are distinct from synergies (the latter are also referred to as “win-win” scenarios): synergies arise when the enhancement of one desirable outcome leads to enhancement of another.

Adapted from Raudsepp-Hearne et al. 2010 and Daw et al. 2015

Form of pastoralism or nomadism organized around the migration of livestock between mountain pastures in warm seasons and lower altitudes the rest of the year. The seasonal migration may also occur between lower and upper latitudes. A traditional farming practice based on indigenous and local knowledge .
Transitional Pathways

A course of actions and strategies that aim to achieve the vision. They are closely related to “policy or target-seeking scenarios".

Trophic cascades

The chain of knock - on extintions observed or predicted to occur following the loss of one or a few species that play a critical role (e.g. as a pollinator) in ecosystem functioning .
Trophic level

The level in the food chain in which one group of organisms serves as a source of nutrition for another group of organisms (e.g. primary producers, primary or secondary consumers, decomposers).

Brown, C. 2010. Nutrients in Estuaries