Glossary

C

Capacity developmentThe process whereby people, organisations and society as a whole unleash, strengthen, create, adapt and maintain capacity over time OECD (2006).
Cape of Good HopeA rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of South Africa. There is a very common misconception that the Cape of Good Hope is the southern tip of Africa and the dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, but in fact the southernmost point is Cape Agulhas, about 150 kilometres (90 mi) to the southeast. However, when following the coastline from the equator, the Cape of Good Hope marks the psychologically important point where one begins to travel more eastward than southward. Thus the rounding of the cape in 1488 was a major milestone in the attempts by the Portuguese to establish direct trade relations with the Far East.
Carbon dioxideChemical formula: CO2. It is a gas at standard temperature and pressure and exists in Earth's atmosphere in this state. Carbon dioxide is used by plants during photosynthesis. It is produced during respiration by plants, and by all animals.
CarcinogenicA substance that can result in the development of a cancer.
CarnivoreOrganisms that feed on other animals.
Carrying capacityThe extent to which an ecosystem or resource can withstand pressure from external forces such as degradation, climate variability, population increase and internal use.
Cascade interactionOccurs when one group of organisms indirectly affects another group by feeding on the animals that would have eaten them.
Cash cropsIn agriculture, a cash crop is a crop which is grown for money. The term is used to differentiate from subsistence crops, which are those fed to the producer's own livestock or grown as food for the producer's family.
CatchmentThe area drained by a river or body of water. Also called catchment basin. (Catchment normally is a synonym for river basin. However, in this river awareness kit this term is often used in the sense of sub-bacia.)
Catchment management agenciesAgencies responsible for implementing the best principles for integrated water management such as the integration of surface and groundwater management, public participation and community involvement and self-financing of water management groups by user groups (van Koppen et al 2005).
CBD (Convention on Biological Diversity)An agreement signed by 150 world leaders at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. The goals of the CBD include the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits from genetic resources.
CBNRM (Community Based Natural Resource Management)Both a conservation and rural development strategy, involving community mobilisation and organisation, institutional development, comprehensive training, enterprise development, and monitoring of the natural resource base by local communities.
Child mortalityAlso known as under-5 mortality it refers to the probability that a child will die before the age of 5.
CholeraAn infectious gastroenteritis ailment caused by the ingestion of the bacterium Vibrio cholerae.
Chromic vertisolsA vertisol is a soil with a high content of expansive clay that forms deep cracks in drier seasons; chromic refers to a chroma (colour intensity) of 1.5 or above as opposed to pellic, which is 1.5 or below.
Chronic povertyChronic poverty is poverty that is experienced over an extended period of time.
ClayeyResembling or containing clay.
ClimateThe long - term average of weather in a particular region.
Climate changeClimate change as referred to in the observational record of climate occurs because of internal changes within the climate system or in the interaction between its components, or because of changes in external forcing either for natural reasons or because of human activities.
Climate classificationSee Köppen climate classification.
Climate variabilityChanges in climate around the globe over time. The term climate variability is often used to denote deviations of climate statistics over a given period of time (such as a specific month, season or year) from the long-term climate statistics relating to the corresponding calendar period.
Climatic patternsA reccuring characteristic of the climate.
ClimaxDescribes a state of balance that is reached through ecological succession (development and change in composition of vegetation communities in an area over time).
ClimeSynonym of Climate.
Coefficient of variationStatistical parameter describing the change of a stochastic variable in time or space, expressed as the ratio of the standard deviation to the mean.
CollectorsConsume fine to very fine organic particles suspended in the water (filtering collectors or filter-feeders) or deposited on the stream bed (collector-gatherers).
ColouredsIn the South African, Namibian, Zambian, Botswana and Zimbabwean context, the term Coloured (also known as Bruinmense, Kleurlinge or Bruin Afrikaners in Afrikaans) refers or referred to an ethnic group of mixed-race people who possess some sub-Saharan African ancestry.
CommercialNon-governmental, pertaining to a business.
Commodity pricesThe price of goods which are supplied without qualitative differentiation across a market (such as petroleum, milk or copper). The price of, e.g., petroleum is universal, no matter who supplies it.
Common pool resourceA resource from which it is not feasible to exclude users, and for which consumption is subtractive. Incentives to improve individual welfare by overusing common pool resources can lead to depletion of the resource for all. An example of a common pool resource is a common grazing pasture or an unregulated lake fishery.
Common property resourcesRenewable natural resources with the characteristics of a common pool resource (i.e., subtractive consumption, difficult to exclude users) but to which access is controlled in some manner, typically by the group or unit that manages the resource.
Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM)Both a conservation and rural development strategy, involving community mobilisation and organisation, institutional development, comprehensive training, enterprise development, and monitoring of the natural resource base by local communities.
CompactAn agreement, treaty, or contract. The term compact is most often applied to agreements among states or between nations on matters in which they have a common concern.
Comparative advantageA country has a comparative advantage over another if in producing a commodity it can do so at a relatively lower opportunity cost in terms of the forgone alternative commodities that could be produced.
Compulsory licensingCompulsory licensing is a mechanism created in the South Africa National Water Act to allow DWAF to review all the water use in an area to ensure that there is equal opportunity to apply to use water, water is shared fairly and used efficiently and water is kept clean and unpolluted.
Confined aquiferAquifer overlain and underlain by an impervious or almost impervious formation.
ConservationThe protection, maintenance, rehabilitation, restoration and enhancement of natural resources and includes the management of the use of natural resources to ensure the sustainability of such use.
ConsumersAn organism that feeds on other organisms or dead organic matter; see also heterotroph.
ContouringA system of planting row crops perpendicular to the natural slope to reduce soil erosion, protect soil fertility and use water more efficiently.
ConurbationWhen a number of cities, large towns and larger urban areas merge to form one continuous urban area through population growth and physical expansion.
Convective rainfallThe formation of precipitation due to surface heating of the air at the ground surface. With sufficient heating, the mass of air becomes warmer and lighter than the air in the surrounding environment, and begins to rise, expand and cool. Saturation occurs after sufficient cooling, and leads to precipitation.
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)An agreement signed by 150 world leaders at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. The goals of the CBD include the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits from genetic resources.
Conveyance lossesWater evaporation and seepage from surface water sources and man-made water transportation facilities, such as irrigation channels.
Cost recoveryThe extent to which users are charged for goods and/or services to generate revenue to cover the costs of provision.
Critically endangeredFacing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.
CultivatedTo prepare and use the land for growing crops.
CultivationPreparation and use of land for growing specifically agricultural crops in an organised system. Often requires irrigation, land management practices and the introduction of fertilisers.
Cultural diversityA result of cultural adaptations and livelihoods that are created through linkages between languages, social systems, customs knowledge systems, local histories and interaction with the environment.
CumulonimbusAn extremely dense, vertically developed cumulus with a relatively hazy outline and a glaciated top extending to great heights, usually producing heavy rains, thunderstorms, or hailstorms.
CumulusA dense, white, fluffy, flat-based cloud with a multiple rounded top and a well-defined outline, usually formed by the ascent of thermally unstable air masses.
Customary lawTraditional common rule or practice that has become an intrinsic part of the accepted and expected conduct in a community, profession, or trade and is treated as a legal requirement.
CuvelaiA river in Southern Africa.
CyanobacteriaA large and diverse group of bacteria capable of photosynthesis. Also known as blue-green algae.