Our Environment is the complex of factors (those of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere) that act upon an organism or ecological community and ultimately determine its form and survival.
Environment, Human: The aggregate and interaction of all the external conditions and influences affecting the life and development of an individual or society.
Environmental Analysis: Determining the probable effect of a project upon the renewable resources, considering the physical, biological, natural, social, and economic factors and their relations. This analysis is made in accordance with section 102 (2) (c) of NEPA (PL 91-190) with later amendments.It is also the process of preparing an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement and the decision about whether to prepare an environmental assessment or impact statement. It is an analysis of alternative actions and their predictable short-term and long-term environmental effects.
Environmental Analysis Report (EAR): A report on environmental effects of proposed Federal actions which may require an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) under section 102 of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The EAR is an "in-house" document of varying degrees of formality that becomes the final document on environmental impacts for those projects that, because their effects are minor, do not require a formal EIS. Although not formally prescribed under NEPA, the EAR is the document normally used to determine whether section 102 of NEPA applies to the project in question, and as such is subject to court challenge if no EIS is filed.
Environmental Assessment (EA): A public document that serves to
- (1) provide sufficient evidence and analysis for determining whether to prepare an environmental impact statement or to find no significant impact and;
- (2) aid in agency's compliance with the NEPA when no environmental impact statement is necessary.
Environmental Corridor (Buffer, Buffer Strip, Buffer Zone, Greenway): A strip of land designed to protect the natural environment of an area and to prevent undesirable encroachment such as commercial development along a stream. Also a thin habitat connecting two similar areas and said to reduce "fragmentation."
Environmental Effect: An outcome, result, or consequence to the environment brought about by some force, project, or action. Primary (direct) impacts are generally caused by action inputs (such as road construction). Secondary (indirect) impacts commonly result from action outputs, (such as improved access leading to overload of recreation visitors).
Environmental Impact Analysis (Environmental Analysis, Environment Assessment, Environmental Impact Assessment): An activity that considers, estimates, and evaluates, using a systematic, interdisciplinary approach, the physical, natural, and social factors, the probable effects of a plan or proposed project upon local systems. An assessment precedes an EIS.
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS): A statement of environmental effects required for major Federal actions under Section 102 of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and released to the public and other agencies for comment and review. It is a formal document that must follow the requirements of NEPA, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) guidelines, and directives of the agency responsible for the project proposal. The Final EIS is a revision of the draft environmental impact statement and includes public and agency responses to the draft. It must meet legal requirements and is the document used as a basis for judicial decisions concerning compliance with NEPA. An impact statement includes the following points:
- (1) the environmental impact of the proposed action,
- (2) any adverse impacts which cannot be avoided by the action,
- (3) the alternative courses of action,
- (4) the relationships between local short-term uses of the human environment and maintaining and enhancing long-term productivity,
- (5) a description of the irreversible and irretrievable commitment of resources which would occur if the action were accomplished.
The draft is the DEIS and the final statement the FEIS.
Environmental Impact Statement, Draft (DEIS, Draft Environmental Statement): The version of the statement of environmental effects required for major Federal actions under section 102 of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and released to the public and other agencies for comment and review. It is a formal document that must follow the requirements of NEPA, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Guidelines, and directives of the agency responsible for the project proposal. The Draft and Final EIS are for information only. A finding of a significant loss or hazard, alone, cannot prevent a project being started. Many states and communities have environmental impact assessment laws.
Environmental Management System (EMS of the USFS): The part of the overall management system that includes organizational structure, planning activities, responsibilities, practices, procedures, processes, and resources for developing, implementing, achieving, reviewing, and maintaining the environmental policy of the planning unit. EMS audits are systematic and documented verification of whether the EMS conforms to audit criteria set by the organization and results communicated to managers.
Environmental Modification: Deliberate or unintentional changes produced by people that act upon an organism or community to influence its development or existence.
Environmental Planning: Planning which considers the environment as a physical and biological system, one that is spatial, having direct experiential and sensory surroundings, and one that is a primary conditioner of physical and psychological development, health, and longevity for each human. It is strongly concerned with human activities taking place in the outdoors and those that reconcile their demands for and impacts upon the environment. It seeks to ensure that policies, programs, designs and actual developments incorporate forecasts of the effects upon environmental amenity and natural system functions and structures so as to anticipate, evaluate, and prepare for the consequences of decisions in light of present and future values.
Environmental Psychology: That area of psychology which deals with environmentally induced behavior or mental states of individuals or groups, e.g., where "behavioral psychology" may attempt to alter self concepts through operant conditioning, "environmental psychology" seeks to determine how the every-day physical environment affects human behavior. It is also a study of human perception of elements in the environment or of different types of environmental settings. Perception includes direct sensory knowledge and cognitive discrimination expressed in terms of preference rated on a scale of desirability. It also includes learning and the knowledge of how a set of behaviors (e.g., littering, vandalism, and hunting) is changed.
Environmental Quality: The perceived condition, the sum of the forces and factors which influence people's satisfaction and health in their work, leisure, living conditions, and community. Management, conservation, preservation, restoration, or improvement can enhance it in cultural and natural systems. Major systems of concern are areas of natural beauty; water, land, and air; biological resources and select ecosystems; geological, archeological, and historical; and resources perceived to be of great future value. "Quality" may be high or low. It may be present without people, but human perception, valuation, and judgement are needed to arrive at its expression. Individuals perceive it; a group expression (e.g., various statistical or consensus values) about it may be derived. Environmental Reports:
- (1) Environmental analysis report (EAR). A report on environmental effects of proposed federal actions which may require an environmental impact statement (EIS) under section 102 of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The EAR is an "in-house" document of varying degrees of formality that becomes the final document on environmental impacts for those projects that, because their effects are minor, do not require a formal EIS. Although not formally prescribed under NEPA, the EAR is the document normally used to determine whether section 102 of NEPA applies to the project in question, and as such is subject to court challenge if no EIS is filed. If a formal EIS is prepared, an existing EAR becomes the information base for the EIS. See Environmental Impact Statement, Final.
- (2) Environmental impact statement (EIS, 102 statement, environmental statement). A document prepared by a federal agency in which anticipated environ mental effects of a planned course of action or development are evaluated. A federal statute (section 102 of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969) requires that such statements be prepared. It is prepared first in draft or review form, and then, in final form. Although "environmental impact statement" (EIS) is the popularly used term, some prefer the term "environmental statement" (ES), feeling that EIS is an inaccuracy due to the negative connotations of the word "impact." Section 102 (C) of NEPA mentions that impacts, effects, alternatives, etc. will be contained in the required "detailed statement." Consequently, to name one feature and to exclude others is inaccurate. Thus, the draft is the DES and the final statement the FES.
- (3) Environmental Impact Statement, draft (see DEIS, draft environmental statement, DES). See Environmental Impact Statement and Environmental Impact Statement, Final.
- (4) Environmental impact statement, final (EIS, final environ mental statement, FES) The final version of the statement of environmental effects required for major federal actions under section 102 of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). It is a revision of the draft environmental impact statement to include public and agency responses to the draft. This term is also used for similar statements prepared to comply with state and local laws patterned after NEPA.
Environmental Science: A multi- and inter-disciplinary science attempting to measure and evaluate the influence of people on the structure, function and relations of systems upon which humans depend, and the influence of management on these systems and their contributions to human objectives.
Environmental System: A general phrase meaning a specified or defined set of interacting components in the environment, understood to have some degree of integrity, often having the characteristics of a general system. It may be a farm, a forest, or a watershed and is usually more general and inclusive of human factors than "ecosystem."