A Framework for Identifying Indicators of Ecosystem Contributions to Human Well-Being

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Mar 06, 2013

There’s a lot of natural resource management data to be collected—but what data will best facilitate an analysis of human well-being? In an article recently published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, co-author Dr. Jim Boyd, SESYNC’s Director of Social Science and Policy, investigates a clear framework that could result in more useful and relevant data collection.


The lack of a clear framework identifying data to link ecosystems to analyses of human well-being has been highlighted in numerous studies. To address this issue, we applied a recently developed economic theory termed “final” ecosystem goods and services – the biophysical features and qualities that people perceive as being directly related to their well-being. The six-step process presented here enabled us to identify metrics associated with streams that can be used in the analysis of human well-being; we illustrate these steps with data from a regional stream survey. Continued refinement and application of this framework will require ongoing collaboration between natural and social scientists. Framework application could result in more useful and relevant data, leading to more informed decisions in the management of ecosystems.

Read the entire article here.

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