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What are indicators and how do they relate to each other?

Submitted by admin on Wed, 05/13/2015 - 14:02

An indicator is a measure based on verifiable data that conveys information about more than the specific data set. For example, data on forest cover could be interpreted as an indicator of the following issues:

  • Change in forest resources as potential habitat
  • Progress in forest restoration
  • Change in forest carbon sequestration
  • Landscape condition from developmental pressure

Additional information can be found in the Biodiversity Indicators Partnership’s Guidance for National Biodiversity Indicator Development and Use.

The indicators in the Dashboard are grouped using the Pressure, State, Benefit, Response (PSBR) framework, which reflects a theory of change in establishing hypothesized connections among the components of the framework (see image below).

PSBR framework

Each indicator fits into one of four categories: Pressure, State, Benefit, or Response. The framework describes the relationship between the pressures human societies put on the state of ecosystem health; the benefits to human societies of improving the state of ecosystem health; and the responses designed to increase these benefits by reducing pressures. For example, the establishment of protected areas (conservation response) is predicted to reduce deforestation (pressure), which should in turn improve ecosystem health (state) and improve the quality of freshwater flowing to downstream human populations (benefit).