Environment statistics is the application of statistical methods to environmental science. It covers procedures for dealing with questions concerning both the natural environment in its undisturbed state and the interaction of humanity with the environment. Thus weather, climate, air and water quality are included, as are studies of plant and animal populations.
Statistics is a branch of mathematics dealing with data collection, organization, analysis, interpretation and presentation. In applying statistics to, for example, a scientific, industrial, or social problem, it is conventional to begin with a statistical population or a statistical model process to be studied. Populations can be diverse topics such as "all people living in a country" or "every atom composing a crystal". Statistics deals with all aspects of data, including the planning of data collection in terms of the design of surveys and experiments. See glossary of probability and statistics.
Environmental science is an interdisciplinary academic field that integrates physical, biological and information sciences to the study of the environment, and the solution of environmental problems. Environmental science emerged from the fields of natural history and medicine during the Enlightenment. Today it provides an integrated, quantitative, and interdisciplinary approach to the study of environmental systems.
The United Nations Framework for the Development of Environment Statistics (FDES) defines the scope of environment statistics as follows: The scope of environment statistics covers biophysical aspects of the environment and those aspects of the socio-economic system that directly influence and interact with the environment. The scope of environment, social and economic statistics overlap. It is not easy – or necessary – to draw a clear line dividing these areas. Social and economic statistics that describe processes or activities with a direct impact on, or direct interaction with, the environment are used widely in environment statistics. They are within the scope of the FDES.
Sources of data for environmental statistics are varied and include: surveys related to human populations and the environment, records from agencies managing environmental resources, maps and images, equipment used to examine the environment, and research studies around the world. A primary component of the data is direct observation, although most environmental statistics use a variety of sources.
Environmental statistics covers a number of types of study:
Coordination of Information on the Environment (CORINE) is a European programme initiated in 1985 by the European Commission, aimed at gathering information relating to the environment on certain priority topics for the European Union. Since 1994, the European Environment Agency (EEA) integrated CORINE in its work programme. EEA is responsible for providing objective, timely and targeted information on Europe's environment.
Environmental studies is a multidisciplinary academic field which systematically studies human interaction with the environment in the interests of solving complex problems. Environmental studies brings together the principles of the physical sciences, commerce/economics and social sciences so as to solve contemporary environmental problems. It is a broad field of study that includes the natural environment, the built environment, and the sets of relationships between them. The field encompasses study in basic principles of ecology and environmental science, as well as associated subjects such as ethics, geography, anthropology, policy, politics, urban planning, law, economics, philosophy, sociology and social justice, planning, pollution control and natural resource management. There are also many degree programs in Environmental Studies including the Master of Environmental Studies and the Bachelor of Environmental Studies.
Human geography is the branch of geography that deals with the study of people and their communities, cultures, economies, and interactions with the environment by studying their relations with and across space and place. Human geography attends to human patterns of social interaction, as well as spatial level interdependencies, and how they influence or affect the earth's environment. As an intellectual discipline, geography is divided into the sub-fields of physical geography and human geography, the latter concentrating upon the study of human activities, by the application of qualitative and quantitative research methods.
Social science is a category of academic disciplines, concerned with society and the relationships among individuals within a society. Social science as a whole has many branches. These social sciences include, but are not limited to: anthropology, archaeology, communication studies, economics, history, human geography, jurisprudence, linguistics, political science, psychology, public health, and sociology. The term is also sometimes used to refer specifically to the field of sociology, the original "science of society", established in the 19th century. For a more detailed list of sub-disciplines within the social sciences see: Outline of social science.
Ecotourism is a form of tourism involving visiting fragile, pristine, and relatively undisturbed natural areas, intended as a low-impact and often small scale alternative to standard commercial mass tourism. It means responsible travel to natural areas, conserving the environment, and improving the well-being of the local people. Its purpose may be to educate the traveler, to provide funds for ecological conservation, to directly benefit the economic development and political empowerment of local communities, or to foster respect for different cultures and for human rights. Since the 1980s, ecotourism has been considered a critical endeavor by environmentalists, so that future generations may experience destinations relatively untouched by human intervention. Several university programs use this description as the working definition of ecotourism.
Agroecology is the study of ecological processes applied to agricultural production systems. Bringing ecological principles to bear in agroecosystems can suggest novel management approaches that would not otherwise be considered. The term is often used imprecisely and may refer to "a science, a movement, [or] a practice". Agroecologists study a variety of agroecosystems. The field of agroecology is not associated with any one particular method of farming, whether it be organic, integrated, or conventional, intensive or extensive. However, it has much more in common with organic and integrated farming.
Environmental health is the branch of public health concerned with all aspects of the natural and built environment affecting human health. Environmental health is focused on the natural and built environments for the benefit of human health. The major subdisciplines of environmental health are: environmental science; environmental and occupational medicine, toxicology and epidemiology.
Life-cycle assessment is a technique to assess environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a product's life from raw material extraction through materials processing, manufacture, distribution, use, repair and maintenance, and disposal or recycling. Designers use this process to help critique their products. LCAs can help avoid a narrow outlook on environmental concerns by:
Environmental psychology is an interdisciplinary field that focuses on the interplay between individuals and their surroundings. It examines the way in which the natural environment and our built environments shape us as individuals. The field defines the term environment broadly, encompassing natural environments, social settings, built environments, learning environments, and informational environments.
Environmental assessment (EA) is the assessment of the environmental consequences of a plan, policy, program, or actual projects prior to the decision to move forward with the proposed action. In this context, the term "environmental impact assessment" (EIA) is usually used when applied to actual projects by individuals or companies and the term "strategic environmental assessment" (SEA) applies to policies, plans and programmes most often proposed by organs of state. Environmental assessments may be governed by rules of administrative procedure regarding public participation and documentation of decision making, and may be subject to judicial review.
Environmental policy is the commitment of an organization or government to the laws, regulations, and other policy mechanisms concerning environmental issues. These issues generally include air and water pollution, waste management, ecosystem management, maintenance of biodiversity, the protection of natural resources, wildlife and endangered species. Concerning environmental policy, the importance of implementation of an eco-energy-oriented policy at a global level to address the issues of global warming and climate changes should be accentuated. Policies concerning energy or regulation of toxic substances including pesticides and many types of industrial waste are part of the topic of environmental policy. This policy can be deliberately taken to direct and oversee human activities and thereby prevent harmful effects on the biophysical environment and natural resources, as well as to make sure that changes in the environment do not have harmful effects on humans.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to ecology:
DPSIR is a causal framework for describing the interactions between society and the environment: Human impact on the environment and vice versa because of the interdependence of the components.
As of 2005, Nigeria has the highest rate of deforestation in the world according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Between 2000 and 2005 the country lost 55.7% of its primary forests, and the rate of forest change increased by 31.2% to 3.12% per annum. Forest has been cleared for logging, timber export, subsistence agriculture and notably the collection of wood for fuel which remains problematic in western Africa.
Official statistics are statistics published by government agencies or other public bodies such as international organizations as a public good. They provide quantitative or qualitative information on all major areas of citizens' lives, such as economic and social development, living conditions, health, education, and the environment.
Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) describes indigenous and other forms of traditional knowledge regarding sustainability of local resources. As a field of study in anthropology, TEK refers to "a cumulative body of knowledge, belief, and practice, evolving by accumulation of TEK and handed down through generations through traditional songs, stories and beliefs. It is concerned with the relationship of living beings with their traditional groups and with their environment." Such knowledge is commonly used in natural resource management as a substitute for baseline environmental data to measure changes over time in remote regions that have little recorded scientific data.
Environmental social science is the broad, transdisciplinary study of interrelations between humans and the natural environment. Environmental social scientists work within and between the fields of anthropology, communication studies, economics, geography, history, political science, psychology, and sociology; and also in the interdisciplinary fields of environmental studies, human ecology and political ecology, social epidemiology, among others.
The Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management (JEAPM) is an interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal covering policy and decision-making relating to environmental assessment, with the aim of exploring "the horizontal interactions between assessment and aspects of environmental management ... and thereby to identify comprehensive approaches to environmental improvement involving both qualitative and quantitative information".
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to social science:
Population and Development Review is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the Population Council. It was established in 1975 and the editor-in-chief is Landis MacKellar. The journal covers population studies, the relationships between population and economic, environmental, and social change, and related thinking on public policy. Content types are original research articles, commentaries, data and perspectives on statistics, archival documents on population issues, book reviews, and official documents from population agencies or related organizations.
Natural capital accounting is the process of calculating the total stocks and flows of natural resources and services in a given ecosystem or region. Accounting for such goods may occur in physical or monetary terms. This process can subsequently inform government, corporate and consumer decision making as each relates to the use or consumption of natural resources and land, and sustainable behaviour.
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