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Reviewing targets and indicators for the ecosystem approach - NR0119

This project will evaluate the range of indicators that relate to the natural environment, currently used by Defra and other government departments and agencies, for their consistency with an ecosystems approach.

Many of the currently used indicators and targets relate to specific aspects of the natural environment, for instance populations of individual species or concentrations of particular pollutants, but do not give an overall perspective on the health of ecosystems. This project will examine which of the currently used indicators, or combinations of indicators, can best be used monitor the health of ecosystems as a whole and the sustainable supply of ecosystem services on which we depend. It will also recommend where new indicators or targets are needed and how best to go about setting them.
There are presently a range of indicators used by Defra and across government that relate to the natural environment (see Section 1 below). However there are no indicators or targets used specifically to address whole ecosystem status and there is a clear need for a more coherent approach to ecosystem management across departments, agencies and areas of work. Indicators of whole ecosystem status must reflect the interconnectedness of ecosystems, which exhibit feedbacks and cascades operating at different spatial and temporal scales. Some of the indicators and targets that currently exist, however, may act as proxies for ecosystem level indicators either singly or in combination.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Reviewing Targets and Indicators for the Ecosystem   (40k)
• Final Report - Annex : All indicators   (222k)
• Final Report - Annex : All Indicators (Ecosystem services)   (339k)
• Final Report - Annex : All indicators (pressures)   (242k)
• Final Report - Annex : Reviewing Targets and Indicators for the Ecosystem Approach   (702k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2007

To: 2008

Cost: £24,918
Contractor / Funded Organisations
University - Liverpool
Natural Environment              
Fields of Study
Ecosystems Approach