Glossary

M

MA (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment)The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment assessed the consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being. From 2001 to 2005, the MA involved the work of more than 1,360 experts worldwide. Their findings provide a state-of-the-art scientific appraisal of the condition and trends in the world’s ecosystems and the services they provide, as well as the scientific basis for action to conserve and use them sustainably.
MacrophyteA plant that can be seen with the unaided eye.
MAE (Mean Annual Evaporation)The average amount of evaporation (measured in mm or cm) for a given area in a given year.
MalariaA disease causing parasitic infection of red blood cells and resulting in severe chills, fever, sweating, and sometimes coma or death. Malaria is caused by a protozoan parasite of the genus Plasmodium, and is transmitted to humans by an infected female Anopheles mosquito.
MammalA warm-blooded vertebrate animal characterized by hair on the skin and milk-producing mammary glands in females.
Management of a shared watercourse(i) Planning the sustainable development of a shared watercourse and providing for the implementation of any plans adopted; and (ii) Otherwise promoting the rational, equitable and optimal utilisation, protection and control of the watercourse.
MAP (Mean Annual Precipitation)The average amount of precipitation (measured in mm or cm) for a given area in a given year.
MDGs (Millennium Development Goals)The eight goals (MDGs) – which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015 –form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and all the world’s leading development institutions.
Mean Annual Evaporation (MAE )The average amount of evaporation (measured in mm or cm) for a given area in a given year.
Mean Annual Precipitation (MAP)The average amount of precipitation (measured in mm or cm) for a given area in a given year.
MeanderOne curved portion of a sinuous or winding stream channel, consisting of two consecutive loops, one turning clockwise and the other anticlockwise.
Mekgacha or EndorheicA closed drainage basin that does not allow outflow to other waterbodies such as rivers or oceans.
Member statesStates that joined a particular international treaty.
MetamorphicThe result of the transformation of an existing rock type, the protolith, in a process called metamorphism, which means 'change of form'.
Meteorological droughtOccurs when precipitation is below normal or average for a prolonged period of time.
MicrocreditA programme that extends small loans to very poor people for self-employment projects that generates income, allowing them to support themselves and their families.
MicrograntA financial grant aimed at funding the piloting of new and promising transboundary initiatives, on the development and dissemination of best practices, and on exchanges of lessons learned in environmental and natural resource management.
MicroorganismThe collective term for organisms that cannot be seen by the unaided human eye. Examples of microorganisms include bacteria, yeasts, protozoa, blue-green algae, and some fungi.
MicroscopeScientific instrument used to magnify objects too small to be seen with the naked eye.
MicroscopicToo small to be seen with the naked eye.
Mid-latitude cyclonesMid-latitude cyclones originate in areas of low pressure located between 30 degrees and 60 degrees latitude. These cyclones can be responsible for storms that exist for about 3 to 10 days moving in a generally west to east direction.
Middle income countryGross national income per capita of USD $936- 3,705.
Middle stone ageThe Middle Stone Age (or MSA) was a period of African Prehistory between Early Stone Age and Late Stone Age. It began around 300,000 years ago and ended around 50,000 years ago.
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)The eight goals (MDGs) – which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015 –form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and all the world’s leading development institutions.
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA)The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment assessed the consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being. From 2001 to 2005, the MA involved the work of more than 1,360 experts worldwide. Their findings provide a state-of-the-art scientific appraisal of the condition and trends in the world’s ecosystems and the services they provide, as well as the scientific basis for action to conserve and use them sustainably.
Mitigation measuresActions undertaken to reduce or eliminate potential negative effects or consequences.
Mm3Million cubic metres (1000 m³).
MolluscsInvertebrate animals with a soft body and, usually, a hard shell. Examples include snails, clams, mussels and related animals.
Monetary accountsAn account in which the currency is the only unit of measure.
Monitoring (resource or environmental)Sampling various media at set intervals over time in order to determine the state of the environment and any temporal or spatial trends.
MonsoonA wind from the southwest or south that brings heavy rainfall to southern Asia in the summer and the rain that accompanies this wind.
MorphologyA term used to describe the shape of the land or a landscape. Also see Geomorphology.
MultivalentRelating to the association of three or more homologous chromosomes during the first division of meiosis.
MutagenicCapable of causing a mutation in an organism.