Non-invasive, beneficial plants (not noxious weeds) that have adapted to the specific locality; provide habitat and require little or no maintenance.
A remote, undeveloped area, intentionally preserved as wilderness to provide intact habitat for wildlife. While it may be accessible on foot, it is not maintained via trails or other access routes and is categorized in land management plans as a protected ecosystem.
A report that describes the existing, pre-development environmental conditions of a site.
A professional method or procedure, accepted or prescribed as being the most effective way to achieve stated goals. Established techniques or methodologies that, through experience and research, have proven to lead to a desired result. Also known as best management practices.
Items that can break down into natural materials in the environment without causing harm and are capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms.
Caskets and shrouds capable of being decomposed or biodegraded by bacteria or other living organisms; often made of plant or animal fiber (wicker, sea grass, paper, linen, cotton, wool, willow, bamboo, etc.). Metals, glues, resins, plastics, and other synthetics that are non-biodegradable are not recommended.
The size, depth, ratio, and distance of burial plots from each other in an acre of a cemetery. Green burial plots are typically larger than conventional burial plots and are determined by terrain.
BURIAL GROUND, CEMETERY, AND PRESERVE
Burial ground, cemetery, and preserve are all different names used in relation to conservation burial grounds.
BURIAL PLOT, BURIAL SPACE
The space in which a body is buried.
The number of people, animals, or crops which a region can support without environmental degradation.
The act of preserving, protecting, or restoring the natural environment, natural ecosystems, vegetation, and wildlife.
CONSERVATION BURIAL GROUND
A type of natural cemetery that is established in partnership with a conservation organization and includes a conservation management plan that upholds best practices, and provides perpetual protection of the land according to a conservation easement or deed restriction.
A voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust (or government agency) that permanently limits the uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values.
CONSERVATION MANAGEMENT PLAN
A working plan that is a tool for identifying and implementing the practices needed to properly manage a conservation property.
Objectives which seek to identify values of the land that are important to preserving and restoring native habitat, hosting species, watersheds, and other defining features that support ecological, biological, and human communities.
Nonprofits and governmental entities organized to acquire, monitor, and manage land, rivers, forests, and other natural resources in order to preserve and protect them through prudent management.
Set of internal rules aimed at conserving or restoring a declining species, a community, an ecosystem, or a natural or semi-natural site.
Evaluation of a property for its conservation features and resources—such as wildlife and plant habitat, connectivity, water quality, working lands—that deserve preservation or protection through deliberate action.
Sharing a common border; touching.
Historic, scenic, and recreational assets of significant value, such as: evidence of early cellar holes, barns, outbuildings, orchards, agricultural buildings or artifacts, or recreational structures; vista views, water frontage, unique natural features, or sky views; logging or other forestry or agricultural roads or pathways for walking or hiking. [See Natural Resources Inventory]
The dead person.
Private agreement listed in the deed that restricts the use of the land.
ECOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT (EcIA)
A document that provides information, guidance, and support for changes in land management regarding agricultural, forestry, and other activities; may be conducted on its own or as part of a broader environmental assessment that identifies and evaluates the possible impact on ecosystems and assists in formulating plans that ensure best biodiversity outcomes. [See Best Practices]
Objectives that seek to understand the nature of environmental influences on individual organisms, their populations, and communities. Ecological objectives are the measurable actions that support realization of stated ecological goals.
Refers to a species whose natural range is restricted to a particular area.
A fund required by most states for long-term cemetery maintenance; some cemeteries call it a “perpetual care fund", “care and maintenance trust fund”, or “long-term restoration fund".
The act of digging a grave.
A naturally formed stone harvested directly from the earth on or near the cemetery property; they may be engraved, left in their natural form on a grave surface, and not polished or set in footings.
The plants of a particular region, habitat, or geological period.
The branch of science that deals with the history of the earth, especially as recorded in rocks.
Items placed or arranged to enhance the appearance of the grave. Site appropriate native plantings are not considered decoration, but help fulfill grieving families’ need to “leave a mark” that makes the grave prettier. However, true grave decorations that do not fit in with a natural aesthetic are discouraged (some conservation burial sites do not allow them at all). This includes coping (surrounding the grave with an oval of stone), holiday decorations, beer or liquor bottles, framed photos, etc. Cut flowers are encouraged, but not those that contain invasive seeds. Other acceptable grave decorations include transient items such as bird nests, etc.
An outer burial container that only covers the top and side of the casket, usually made of plastic, fiberglass, or metal. [See Outer Burial Container]
A way of caring for the dead with minimal environmental impact that aids in the conservation of natural resources, reduction of carbon emissions, protection of worker health, and the restoration and/or preservation of habitat. Green burial necessitates the use of non-toxic and biodegradable materials, such as caskets, shrouds, and urns.
GREEN BURIAL GROUND
Green burial ground or a green burial cemetery is a generalized term often used synonymously with natural burial ground.
HYBRID BURIAL GROUND
A cemetery that allows vaults and offers green burial.
The branch of science concerned with the properties of the earth's water, and especially its movement in relation to land.
Plants that grow so profusely that they take over. Usually not native, though there are some natives which can take over in areas that have been altered. Being non-native does not mean that a plant is invasive.
In the context of conservation burial should focus on ecological restoration and design. To the extent possible, infrastructure should be green. Plant material should be site appropriate in terms of habitat and locale, with a focus on local cultivars.
The process of honoring the dead by marking where a burial has taken place; can include an engraved headstone or stone monument with a written account of the person being commemorated, a QR code, a photo, object, or in the case of a green or natural burial, a fieldstone, wooden bench, tree, shrub, or sculptural art using natural materials. Memorialization in conservation burial grounds is minimal, consists of natural materials, and preferably those derived from the conserved property.
Memorials/grave markers in conservation burial can be live as in memorial vegetation; inert as in stones, benches or naming opportunities; or virtual memorials based on GPS that provides more than names and dates. These memorials can be site specific to the graves themselves or at some distance (as in a cenotaph or memorial wall with names inscribed). In all cases, the memorials should not detract from a natural aesthetic, and if possible should be ecologically functional and appropriate to the ecological and geological context.
The act of observing, checking, or keeping a continuous record of something. Easement monitoring is conducted on a scheduled basis to observe the condition of the conservation easement property to determine whether it is in compliance with easement terms.
Plants that are indigenous to a specific habitat. Native plants include those species understood as indigenous, occurring in natural associations in habitats that existed prior to significant human impacts and alterations of the landscape.
NATURAL BURIAL GROUND
A type of cemetery that allows full body interment in the ground, without embalming, using a biodegradable container, and without a grave liner or vault. Cremated remains and pet remains may be accepted in natural burial grounds if legally allowed by the state and the individual burial ground agrees.
NATURAL RESOURCES INVENTORY
A document that inventories the natural resources of an area, collects the data in a usable format and interprets the findings. Natural resource inventories provide solid baseline data for long-term monitoring and management and allow for comparisons between existing and desired conditions.
OUTER BURIAL CONTAINER
An outer burial container is either a burial vault or a grave liner that encases a casket or shrouded body. Both are used to support the soil around the casket from subsidence in most non-green burial cemeteries to minimize cemetery maintenance by keeping the lawn flat for mowing. [See Vault and Grave Liner]
The practice of renewing, restoring, or assisting in the recovery and management of degraded, damaged, or destroyed ecosystems and habitat. Restoration cemeteries may have areas in need of environmental restoration of plant systems, or need supplementation to provide optimum habitat for wildlife to restore the proper balance to the ecosystem within and surrounding the burial ground. Along with improving biodiversity, restoration ecology also involves developing sustainable cultural practices and providing regional and historical context.
A container made of concrete, plastic or metal, that encloses a coffin or casket to help prevent a grave from sinking and provide some protection from the elements. The vault is installed into the grave. At the burial, the casket is placed inside the vault and sealed. Generally, outer burial containers are not required by state or local laws, but they are oftentimes required by conventional cemeteries to prevent the grave from collapse due to heavy maintenance equipment and ground settling. Also known as burial vault, grave vault, cemetery vault. [See Outer Burial Container]
A weed is a plant that is not valued where it is growing. It usually is known to have vigorous growth and can be native or non-native.
Landscaping that conserves water by using plants with low water needs, soil amendments that retain moisture, and mulching to reduce evaporation; intended to eliminate or greatly reduce artificial irrigation. [See Landscaping]
Without love of the land, conservation lacks meaning of purpose, for only in a deep
and inherent feeling for the land can there be dedication in preserving it.
— Sigurd F. Olson