Ecosystem Service Indicators
An indicator is an observable value that is representative of a specific phenomenon of concern. Indicators provide a measurable proxy for scientists, managers, and policy- and decision-makers to understand trends in complex ecological processes such as ecosystem services. As such, indicators are highlighting the links between social and environmental change influencing the capacity of ecosystems to maintain provisioning, regulating, and cultural services. They are usually used for a specific purpose, for example to “provide a policy-maker with information about progress toward a goal” (TEEB 2010)1) . In order to provide benefit, practitioners must effectively quantify the link between the indicator and the phenomenon of concern. Spatially-explicit approaches have been widely used to map a multitude of indicators, by merging theory and practice to advance sustainable planning and decision-making. In the analysis and evaluation of complex environmental interactions, remote sensing plays an important role and is widely used in the mapping and assessment of ecosystem properties and functions. The term “indicator” is most often used in the fields of ecosystem services, ecology, and environmental planning.
Examples of indicators for ecosystem services in mountain areas can be found in the 1st Report 2013-2014 of the Working Group “Mountain Forests” of the Alpine Convention.2)
Other Definitions/ Similar Terms:
Indicators for Ecosystem Services:
- The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity: Ecological and Economic Foundations, TEEB (2010).7)