Selection criteria for ecosystem condition indicators

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The UN SEEA EA aims to systematically assess ecosystems' extent, condition, and societal services. Assessing ecosystem condition, crucial yet complex, requires consistent guidelines. SEEA EA defines ecosystem condition as overall quality, quantified by metrics of abiotic and biotic characteristics. A key challenge is identifying suitable metrics for diverse ecosystem types. This paper establishes a clear framework for developing transparent and operational ecosystem condition indicators for use in accounting and assessment studies. Based on SEEA EA documentation and targeted reviews, 12 criteria are categorized into conceptual (emphasizing relevance and meaning) and practical (focusing on validity and simplicity) roles. Two additional criteria ensure comprehensive and concise metric sets. Recognizing ecosystems' role in climate and biodiversity crises, integrating their condition into national economic planning is essential. The proposed framework facilitates selecting concise, credible indicators through transparent and scientific methods, enhancing global standardization in SEEA EA. Moreover, it offers utility beyond ecosystem accounting, potentially benefiting broader ecological and sustainability indicator contexts.
Czúcz, B., Keith, H., Maes, J., Driver, A., Jackson, B., Nicholson, E., Kiss, M., & Obst, C.
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