Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Display All Information

Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 9177
Title: Evaluating Indicators of Human Wellbeing for Ecosystem-Based Management
Author: Sara Jo Breslow, Allen Margaret, Danielle Holstein, Brit Sojka, Raz Barnea, Xavier Basurto, Courtney Carothers, S. Charnley, Sarah Coulthard, Nives Dolsak, Jamie Donatuto, Carlos Garcia-Quijano, Christina Hicks, Arielle Levine, Michael B. Mascia, K. C. Norman, Melissa R. Poe, Terre Satterfield, Kevin St. Martin, P. S. Levin
Publication Year: In press
Journal: Ecosystem Health & Sustainability
Issue: 12
DOI: 10.1080/20964129.2017.1411767

The interdependent goals of environmental sustainability and social justice
require an understanding of how environmental change and management
decisions affect human wellbeing. This paper presents a structured
framework for measuring human wellbeing for ecosystem-based
management (EBM). Scientists and managers use indicators to assess
status and trends in integrated ecosystem assessments (IEAs). To improve
the social science rigor and success of EBM, we developed a systematic and
transparent approach for evaluating indicators of human wellbeing for an
IEA. Our process is based on a comprehensive conceptualization of human
wellbeing, a scalable analysis of management priorities, and a set of
indicator screening criteria tailored to the needs of EBM. We tested our
approach by evaluating more than 2,000 existing social indicators related
to ocean and coastal management of the US West Coast. We focused on
two foundational attributes of human wellbeing: resource access and selfdetermination.
Our results suggest that existing indicators and data are
limited in their ability to reflect linkages between environmental change
and human wellbeing, and extremely limited in their ability to assess social
equity and justice. We reveal a critical need to produce new social
indicators that are specifically tailored for environmental questions, and
data that is disaggregated by social variables in order to measure equity.
In both, we stress the importance of collaborating with the people whose
wellbeing is to be assessed. Our framework is designed to help
governments and communities fully conceptualize human wellbeing and
carefully assess the complex tradeoffs inherent in environmental decisionmaking

Theme: Ecosystem approach to improve management of marine resources
Foci: Provide scientific support for the implementation of ecosystem-based management
Describe the interaction between human activities, particularly harvest of marine resources, and ecosystem function.