West Hawai‘i - Indicators
Indicators reflect the status of key components of an ecosystem
To achieve sustainable management of any ecosystem, it is necessary to identify and monitor indicators that detect important changes in the state of an ecosystem. Indicators are specific, well-defined and measurable variables that have been proven to reflect the status of some component of the ecosystem and provide a practical means to judge changes in ecosystem attributes related to the achievement of management objectives. An important prerequisite for indicator development is the availability of reliable and robust information at an appropriate spatial and/or temporal scale.
Ecosystem indicators compiled by the West Hawai‘i IEA span a wide range of ecosystem components, from climatic and oceanographic drivers of ecosystem change to the states of ecological and human communities and associated activities. As part of the West Hawai‘i IEA a suite of indicators have been assembled to help track the status and trends in key social-ecological processes in West Hawai‘i and are presented in the West Hawai‘i Ecosystem Status Report.
Although we have assembled a suite of ecosystem indicators to help track the status and trends in key social-ecological processes in West Hawai‘i, many gaps remain. Additionally, our understanding of ecosystem dynamics and the myriad of social-ecological interactions occurring in the region continues to expand and evolve. As such, the evaluation and synthesis of information and development of ecosystem indicators is an adaptive and continual process.
Selecting the Indicators
To aid in the selection of ecosystem indicators, it is often useful to employ a conceptual modeling framework that identifies the focal ecosystem components. The below Conceptual Ecosystem Models (CEMs) were employed to aid indicator selection. This ensures the indicators that are selected reflect the status of key drivers, pressures, states, ecosystem services, and responses in the ecosystem.