Alkaline soils

Soil with a high pH level (greater than 7.3). When soil pH is greater than 8.0, availability of nutrients like phosphorus or micronutrients (i.e., Zn, Cu, Mn, Fe, etc.) can be reduced. Soil pH greater than 8.3 can indicate high sodium or sodic soil problems and often drainage issues


Defined by the FAO as a “holistic and integrated approach that simultaneously applies ecological and social concepts and principles to the design and management of food and agricultural systems”. It promotes farming practices that mitigate climate change by reducing emissions, recycling resources, and prioritising local supply chains, among other benefits

Agronomic practices

Techniques, strategies, and practices used in the cultivation of crops. These include methods of planting, fertilisation, pest control, irrigation, and harvest

Bio-based feedstock

Type of renewable raw material derived from biological sources, such as plants, animals, and microorganisms. It is used in the production of bioplastics, biofuels, and other bio-based products. Bio-based feedstock is a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional petroleum-based feedstocks

Biodiversity indicators

Communication tools that summarise data on complex environmental issues. They are important for monitoring the status and trends of biological diversity and, in turn, feeding back information on ways to continually improve the effectiveness of biodiversity policies and management programmes


Knowledge-based production and use of natural/biological resources, together with biological processes and laws, that allow providing economic goods and services in an environmentally-friendly way


Process of improving the fertility of the land using biofertilisers (environmentally-friendly fertilisers that contains a carrier medium rich in live microorganisms). Biofertilisation is carried out to increase the organic matter in the soil and improve the growth of plants by combating diseases

Biomass cascade

When the energy from biomass is produced in a way that minimises excessive destructive effects on the biomass market and harmful effects on biodiversity. It means that natural resources should be used and recycled for as long as possible, and allocated to the most valuable purposes possible at each stage

Biomass feedstock

Organic matter can be used as a sustainable feedstock for a wide range of industrial applications and energy products. It is a key tool in the ongoing transition away from fossil-based raw materials. Energy crops is one of important use of biomass feedstocks

Biomass value chain

Sequential, interdependent economic activities including land use and feedstock production, conversion to energy or bio-based carriers, and variable markets using the end products


Facility or network of facilities that integrate biomass conversion processes and equipment to produce transportation biofuels, power, and chemicals from biomass


Compost is decomposed or well-rotted organic material. It can be made from a variety of organic materials, such as vegetable waste, leaves, grass clippings, and animal manure


Material remaining after the anaerobic digestion (decomposition under low oxygen conditions) of a biodegradable feedstock. Anaerobic digestion produces two main products: Digestate and biogas


Type of land degradation in dry lands in which biological productivity is lost leaving fertile areas arid and can be either due to natural processes or induced by human activities

Ecosystem services

Direct and indirect contributions that ecosystems provide for human well-being and quality of life. This can be in a practical sense, such as food and water provision and climate regulation, as well as cultural aspects such as reducing stress and anxiety


Process by which an entire body of water, or parts of it, becomes progressively enriched with minerals and nutrients, particularly nitrogen and phosphorus often associated with agricultural and farming activities

Fallow land

Arable land not under rotation that is set at rest for a period of time ranging from one to five years before it is cultivated again, or land usually under permanent crops, meadows or pastures, which is not being used for that purpose for a period of at least one year


Fenands are an important and unique wetland type. Fens are peat-forming wetlands that rely on groundwater input and require thousands of years to develop and cannot easily be restored once destroyed. Fens are hotspots of biodiversity, home to rare plants, insects, and small mammals

Harvesting technologies

Biomass harvesting and collection is an important step involving gathering and removal of the biomass from field, which is dependent on the state of biomass, i.e., grass, woody, or crop residue. The moisture content and the end use of biomass also affect the way biomass is collected

Healthy vs. Unhealthy soil

Healthy soil is teeming with life and nutrients, while unhealthy soil is challenged by erosion, intensive cultivation, invasive species, and more


Dark, organic material that forms in soil when plant and animal matter decays. Humus consists of half carbon, is stable in parts for centuries and is fed exclusively by biomass whose carbon comes from carbon dioxide in the air. Humus improves soil fertility, water retention, cation exchange capacity, nutrient availability, and soil health


Indirect land-use change (ILUC) occurs when the increased demand for feedstocks leads to agricultural expansion and the conversion of natural lands


Multiple cropping practice that involves the cultivation of two or more crops simultaneously on the same field. The most common goal of intercropping is to produce a greater yield on a given piece of land by making use of resources or ecological processes that would otherwise not be available by a single crop

Lignocellulosic fibres/biomass

Lignocellulosic biomass is the most abundantly available raw material on the Earth for the production of bio-based products. It can be broadly classified into virgin biomass, waste biomass, and energy crops. The first application of lignocellulosic biomass is to use lignocellulosic fibers as reinforcements in cementitious materials

Marginal lands

Land that is biophysically poor and land that is currently idle/fallow (economically marginal land for food crops), as well as land that is in crop production but losing soil organic matter, suffering from erosion or high nutrient run-off, or foregoing significant habitat value (socially marginal land for food crops)


System of agriculture for the profitable production of wetland crops under conditions that support the competitive advantage of these crops. It is also known as farming with high water tables


Terrestrial wetland ecosystems in which waterlogged conditions prevent plant material from fully decomposing. Consequently, the production of organic matter exceeds its decomposition, which results in a net accumulation of peat


Pellets are composed of biomass materials such as wood chips, bark sawdust, and other by-products that would otherwise end up in a landfill. By harnessing these by-products, wood pellet manufacturers can turn something that otherwise would be discarded into heating fuel

Pollinator effect

Pollinators are important vectors that provide multiple essential ecosystem services but are declining rapidly. Pollinators comprise highly diverse groups of animal species that transfer pollen in flowering plants

Post-harvesting technology

Application of scientific and engineering principles to the handling, storage, packaging, distribution, and sale of produce after it has been harvested. It is used to improve the quality and extend the shelf life of products

Saline soils

Excessive levels of soluble salts in the soil water (soil solution), high enough to negatively affect plant growth, resulting in reduced crop yields and even plant death under severe conditions

Soil Carbon sequestration/storage

Process by which carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere and stored in the soil carbon pool. This process is primarily mediated by plants through photosynthesis, with carbon stored in the form of soil organic carbon

Soil Organic matter

Primary source of carbon that gives energy and nutrients to soil organisms. It supports soil functionality because it improves the activity of microorganisms in the soil, and it can enhance biodiversity

Soil remediation

Application of proven technologies to mitigate and manage risks from contaminated soils that could be harmful to human health and the environment. Contaminated soil is often the result of historical industrial processes and unregulated waste disposal practices