Monday, April 15, 2024

Ecosystem Assessment Concepts



Definitions of terms mentioned on the UK NEA website can be found below. These have been taken from Appendix D  of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment's Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Policy Responses Report.

Biodiversity: The variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems.


Driver: Any natural or human-induced factor that directly or indirectly causes a change in an ecosystem.


Driver, direct: A driver that unequivocally influences ecosystem processes and can therefore be identified and measured to differing degrees of accuracy.


Driver, indirect : A driver that operates by altering the level or rate of change of one or more direct drivers.


Ecosystem: A dynamic complex of plant, animal and micro-organism communities and their non-living environment interacting as a functional unit.


Ecosystem approach: A strategy for the integrated management of land, water, and living resources that promotes conservation and sustainable use. An ecosystem approach is based on the application of appropriate scientific methods focused on levels of biological organization, which encompass the essential structure, processes, functions, and interactions among organisms and their environment. It recognizes that humans, with their cultural diversity, are an integral component of many ecosystems.


Ecosystem assessment: A social process through which the findings of science concerning the causes of ecosystem change, their consequences for human well-being, and management and policy options are brought to bear on the needs of decision-makers.


Ecosystem services: The benefits provided by ecosystems that contribute to making human life both possible and worth living.


Ecosystem service degradation: For provisioning services, decreased production of the service through changes in area over which the services is provided, or decreased production per unit area. For regulating and supporting services, a reduction in the benefits obtained from the service, either through a change in the service or through human pressures on the service exceeding its limits. For cultural services, a change in the ecosystem features that decreases the cultural benefits provided by the ecosystem.

Policy-maker: A person with power to influence or determine policies and practices at an international, national, regional, or local level.


Scenario: A plausible and often simplified description of how the future may develop, based on a coherent and internally consistent set of assumptions about key driving forces (e.g., rate of technology change, prices) and relationships. Scenarios are neither predictions nor projections and sometimes may be based on a ‘‘narrative storyline.’’ Scenarios may include projections but are often based on additional information from other sources.


Valuation: The process of expressing a value for a particular good or service in a certain context (e.g., of decision-making) usually in terms of something that can be counted, often money, but also through methods and measures from other disciplines (sociology, ecology, and so on).

Value: The contribution of an action or object to user-specified goals, objectives, or conditions.


Well-being: Human well-being has multiple constituents, including basic material for a good life, freedom and choice, health, good social relations, and security. The constituents of well-being, as experienced and perceived by people, are situation-dependent, reflecting local geography, culture, and ecological circumstances.


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