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Ecosystem Health Indicators

B Burkhard, F Mu ller, and A Lill, University of Kiel, Kiel, Germany


2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Introduction
Ecosystem Health Assessment and Indicators
Categories of Ecosystem Health Indicators
Commonly Applied Ecosystem Health Indicators
Applied Methods of Ecosystem Health Assessment
Conclusion
Summary
Further Reading
Introduction
The fundamentals of the ecosystem health concept have
been set already in the eighteenth century with the ideas
of the Scottish geologist James Hutton, who started to
describe the Earth as an integrated system. Later, the
writings about land sickness of the pioneering ecologist
Aldo Leopold in 1941 created the first roots of the eco-
system health concept. Since then, the definition of
ecosystem health has been constantly evolving toward
an integration of more and more human and societal
contexts in order to understand what is considered to be
healthy. In the United States and in Canada, the concept
of ecosystem health has been adopted in legislation and it
is part of international political programs, for example,
the so-called Rio convention on sustainable development.
Therefore, the assessment of ecosystem health does not
only take into account ecological components but also
requires a comprehension of social, economic, and cul-
tural dimensions. Hence, its definition is more
comprehensive than definition of human health. These
facts have to be reflected while defining appropriate sets
of indicators that can be applied within respective assess-
ments of ecosystem health.
Suitable indicator sets have to consider both the
structure and the function of ecosystems on different
spatial and temporal scales. As pointed out in various
studies, ecosystems on our planet already are and will
continue to be degraded under the pressure of increasing
human demands: anthropogenic impacts as deserti-
fication, acidification, forest decay, erosion, and
eutrophication have become more and more evident
during the last decades. There are no more ecosystems
on Earth which are not impacted by any human activity.
Hence, preventative and restorative strategies are
needed in order to achieve the health of regional and
global ecosystems on a long-term perspective. With
regard to different well-known and established indicators
for example species diversity or water quality, many of
the ecosystems on our planet can be considered
unhealthy. Several of their functions, especially those
needed to sustain life of the human community, have
become impaired. Consequently, ecosystem health has
been changed significantly, that is, because it refers to
systems that are manipulated to satisfy human needs.
This makes the difference to other related concepts, for
example some notions of ecological integrity, which
refers to the functioning of ecosystems based on nat-
ure-near, self-organized processes.
Generally speaking, an ecosystem is often called
healthy if it is stable (respectively resilient) and sustain-
able in the provision of goods and services used by human
societies (ecosystem services). This implies that it has the
ability to maintain its structure (organization) and func-
tion (vigor) over time under external stress (resilience).
Further ecological principles and theories like homeo-
stasis, diversity, complexity, emergent properties, or
hierarchy principles are closely related or included in
the concept of ecosystem health as it refers to complex
adaptive systems. These systems are characterized by
certain dynamics including sudden reconfigurations
from one state of organization to another. Some changes
can be inherently unpredictable. Both positive and nega-
tive feedback processes and cause and effect chains,
operating over a range of spatial and temporal scales,
predominate these dynamics.
Hence, ecosystem health represents the sustainability
of an ecosystem as a whole that needs a minimal external
support by management measures. It comprises biophy-
sical, socioeconomic, cultural, and human dimensions of
the environment. This notion of ecosystem health is clo-
sely interrelated to the ability of ecosystems to provide
and sustain ecosystem services.
In the beginning of the article, a short review of the
historic development of ecosystem health assessment and
indicators is given. Afterwards, different categories and
examples of corresponding ecosystem health indicators
are presented. This part is supplemented by several
examples of commonly applied ecosystem health indica-
tors from lake as well as from terrestrial ecosystems. At
the end, some examples of applied methods of ecosystem
health assessment are given.
1132 Ecological Indicators | Ecosystem Health Indicators
Ecosystem Health Assessment and
Indicators
The idea of ecosystem health assessment (EHA) has started
in the late 1980s. Since then, there have been wide discus-
sions about adequate concepts and methodologies. As the
individual ecosystems are never identical with reference to
basic features, it is challenging to find general and repro-
ducible approaches instead of case-specific techniques.
Furthermore, appropriate assessments have to bridge the
gaps between natural, socioeconomical, and health sciences
and to integrate human norms and values with the aim to
support sustainable management of natural resources.
As ecosystem health cannot be measured or observed
directly, surrogate measures (indicators) have to be applied
to assess it. These indicators should be backed by ecological
principles and systems theory. They should be suitable for
applications on varying temporal and spatial scales.
Parameters needed for their quantification have to be
obtainable and reproducible within ecological assessments.
Moreover, indicators have to give adequate information
about ecosystem quality trends, useful for managers and
scientists that take into account the complex cause and
effect chains in humanenvironmental systems. Different
values and processes have to be integrated in order to assess
the health of an ecosystem in relation to economic and
social aspects, regional and global environmental changes,
and alteration in the provision of ecosystem services and
their consequences for human well-being.
Categories of Ecosystem Health
Indicators
As ecosystems are extremely complex, any single indicator
cannot be completely representative with reference to all
possible demands, features, and conditions. Nevertheless,
there is a wide spectrum of indicators that can be used for
the assessment of ecosystem health. They can be classified
into different categories that include varying levels of
integration, ranging from rather reductionistic to holistic
indicators, integrating a broad range of environmental
information:

indicators based on the abundance of selected species;

indicators based on the concentration of selected


elements;

indicators based on ratios between different classes of


organisms or elements;

indicators based on ecological strategies or processes;

indicators based on ecosystem composition and struc-


ture; and

systems theoretical holistic indicators.


The identification of appropriate indicator-indicandum
(the phenomenon that has to be assessed) relations has to
be carried out thoroughly, especially while dealing with
holistic and highly aggregated indicators.
Commonly Applied Ecosystem Health
Indicators
In the following, some examples out of the huge amount
of specific indicators and sets of indicators are given.
Indicators Based on the Abundance of Selected
Species
These biological indicators cover the presence or absence
of selected species. Indicator species have to be selected in
order to be representative for a certain phenomenon or to
be sensitive to distinct changes. Hence, their appearance
and dominance is associated with a certain environmental
situation. The usage of this kind of indices implies on the
one hand a certain level of uncertainty; on the other, the
results can directly be linked to biological phenomena
which is useful for proper management of resources. In
the following, some examples will be outlined.
Saprobic classification
The saprobe system is a collection of organisms, that gives
information about the degree of water pollution. The
different pollution intensities (saprogenic stages) are related
to certain indicator organisms (e.g., bacteria, fungi, algae,
amoeba, mussels, worms, insect larvae, and fishes) and range
from polysaprobic (very highly polluted), -mesosaprobic
(highly polluted), -mesosaprobic (medium polluted) to
oligosaprobic (rather clean and clear water).
Bellans pollution index
Bellan considers aquatic species like Platynereis dumerilii,
Theosthema oerstedi, Cirratulus cirratus, and Dodecaria
concharum as water pollution indicators. Clear water is
indicated by species like Syllis gracillis or Typosyllis prolifera.
The equation of the Bellans pollution index can be for-
mulated as follows:
IP
X
dominance of pollution indicator species=dominance
of pollution clear water indicators:
If the index value is bigger than 1, a pollution disturbance
in the community is indicated.
AZTI Marine Biotic Index
For this indicator the soft bottom macrofauna is distin-
guished into five groups in accordance to their sensitivity
to increasing stress:
1. species that are very sensitive to organic enrichment
and eutrophication and that are only present under
unpolluted conditions;
Ecological Indicators | Ecosystem Health Indicators 1133
2. species that are indifferent to organic enrichment,
occur always in low densities and show no significant
variations over time;
3. species tolerant to excess organic matter enrichment
(these species can also be found under normal condi-
tions but usually their populations are supported by
organic enrichment);
4. second-order opportunist species, very often small
polychaetes; and
5. first-order opportunist species (deposit feeders).
AMBI biotic coefficient

0 %I 1:5 %II
3 %III 4:5 %IV 6 %V

=100
The AZTI marine biotic index (AMBI) results can be
classified as: normal (AMBI coefficient between 0.0 and
1.2), slightly polluted (1.2 and 3.2), moderately polluted
(3.2 and 5.0), highly polluted (5.0 and 6.0), or very
highly polluted (6.0 and 7.0). The AMBI has been
considered useful in terms of the application of the
European Water Framework Directive to coastal eco-
systems and estuaries.
Bentix
The Bentix is based on the AMBI but has only three
groups in order to avoid errors in the grouping of species
and to make the calculation of the index easier:

Group I. Species generally sensitive to disturbances.

Group II. Species that are tolerant to stress or distur-


bance. Populations may respond to organic enrichment
or other source of pollution.

Group III. First-order opportunistic species (pioneer,


colonizers or species which are tolerant to hypoxia).
Bentix f6 %I 2%II %IIIg=100
The Bentix results can be classified as: normal (4.56.0),
slightly polluted (3.54.5), moderately polluted (2.53.5),
highly polluted (2.02.5), or very highly polluted
(Bentix 0).
Macrofauna monitoring index
This index comprises 12 indicator species. Each of them is
assigned a score, based primarily on the ratio of its abun-
dance in control versus impacted samples. The index
value is the average score of those indicator species
which are present in the sample.
Benthic response index
The Benthic response index (BRI) is calculated as abun-
dance weighted average pollution tolerance of species
that occur in a sample. This is similar to the weighted
average approach used in gradient analysis.
Indicators Based on Concentration of Selected
Elements
Many assessments are based on measurements or mon-
itoring of concentrations or densities of selected elements
that can be linked with altering systems states. In the
context of environmental management, a link to anthro-
pogenic activities is convenient for example done with the
estimation of the level of eutrophication on the basis of
the total phosphorus concentration. Another typical
measurement is the pH value, referring to the activity of
hydrogen ions, which for instance can be linked to effects
of air pollution (acid rain).
Indicators Based on Ratios between Different
Classes of Organisms or Elements
Increase or decrease of one species in relation to another
can give useful information about changes in systems.
Depending on the problem and the system that has to
be investigated, different indices are applicable.
Nygards algal index
This index is used to evaluate the nutritional status of
lake ecosystems and their fertility. The index can be
calculated as a compound quotient out of:
Myxophycean chlorococcales centric
Euglenophyceae=desmids
Oligotrophic systems have a quotient between 0.01 and 1.0,
eutrophic systems between 1.2 and 2.5. Further Nygards
indices are based on ratios between Myxophyceae
and desmids, chlorococcales and desmids, centric and
pinnate diatoms or Euglenophyta and Myxophyceae
chlorococcales.
Diatoms/nondiatoms ratio
In the context of altering nutrient charges in aquatic
systems, the ratio of the major phytoplankton groups
diatoms versus flagellates (diatomsnondiatoms ratio)
can be used as indicator. Regarding for example eutro-
phication, nutrient reductions can be seen in a decrease in
flagellate abundance.
Indicators Based on Ecological Strategies or
Processes
Regarding ecosystems as entities of complex processes
and interactions, varying strategies and processes are
related to altering systems conditions caused by human
activities or different stages of natural development.
Process and rate indicators
One functional way to assess the health of ecosystems is to
measure or model indicators that represent important
1134 Ecological Indicators | Ecosystem Health Indicators
processes in the ecosystem from which conclusions for the
whole system can be drawn. Primary production or
growth rates are among the most commonly used indica-
tors. The cycling of matter, water, or energy between the
different components of a system and the transformation
of matter, water, or energy into different forms are main
processes in natural systems. Examples are cycling of
nitrogen or phosphorus, the fixation of energy by plant
photosynthesis or the water cycle based on precipitation,
runoff, and evapotranspiration.
Indicators based on ecological strategies
Further indices consider the distinct behavior of different
taxonomic groups under environmental stress situations,
for example, the nematodes/copepods index. Some
authors have criticized these indices because of their
dependence on parameters such as water depth and sedi-
ment particle size and also because of their unpredictable
pattern of variation depending on the type of pollution.
More recently, indices for example the polychaetes/
amphipods ratio or the index of r/K strategists, which
consider all the benthic taxa, were developed.
Index of r/K strategists
In a rather stable system with infrequent disturbances, the
competitive dominants in most communities are
k-selected or conservative species with the attributes of
large body size and long life span. They are usually
dominant in terms of total biomass, but not dominant in
number. R-selected or opportunistic species with shorter
life spans are usually numerically dominant but do not
represent a large proportion of the total biomass of the
community. After a more significant disturbance, con-
servativespecies are usually less favored and the
opportunistic species can become dominant as well inbio-
mass as in number. Thus, the analyses of r- and K-
strategists distributions can be used for the indication of
ecosystem health.
Often, different feeding strategies of organisms are
used to describe ecosystem conditions and developments.
Infaunal index
For the assessment of the trophic infaunal index, the
macrobenthos species are divided into four groups:
1. suspension feeders,
2. interface feeders,
3. surface deposit feeders, and
4. subsurface deposit feeders.
The infaunal index is calculated with the following
equation:
ITI 100 100=3
0n1 1n2 2n3 3n4=n1 n2 n3 n4
n1, n2, n3, and n4 are the number of individuals that are
sampled in each of the four species groups. If the ITI
value approaches 100, suspension feeders are dominant
what indicates an environmental disturbance.
Indicators Based on Ecosystem Composition
and Structure
Ecosystems are dynamic systems that show varying com-
positions and structures during their different stages of
development or due to perturbations. Different indicators
to describe systems composition and structure are
existing.
ShannonWiener index
Indices based on the diversity values are very common.
One of the most often used is the ShannonWiener index,
developed by C. E. Shannon and W. Wiener. This index
originates in information theory and assumes that indivi-
duals are sampled at random out of a community which is
indefinitely large, and that all the species are represented
in the sample.
The ShannonWiener index is calculated by the
following equation:
H9
X
p
i
log
2
p
i
In this equation, p
i
is the proportion of individuals found
in species i. The values of this index can vary between 0
and 5. H9 reaches a maximum value if the individuals of
all species occur with the same density. Other indices
based on the diversity value are for example the Pielou
Evenness index, the Brilloun index, the Margalef
index, the BergerParker index, the Simpson index, and
K-dominance curves.
Food webs
Food webs describe the connection of plants and animals
which depend upon each other referring to the flow of
energy. Organisms are assigned to different trophic levels
that classify their position in the food chain which is
determined by the number of energy transfer steps to
that level. In general, food webs become more complex
during the development of a system. Hence, their struc-
ture and composition can be used to assess the condition
and stage of development of a system. Network theory
plays an important role for the interpretation of food web
structures.
Ascendency
Ascendency and related indices are abstract concepts for
the quantification of the size and organization of flows in
systems using information-theoretic terms. Ascendency
values indicate the overall status of dynamic systems in
a quantitative fashion and show the limits of system
Ecological Indicators | Ecosystem Health Indicators 1135
growth and development. The response of a system to
perturbations can be measured which is useful in the
context of ecosystem health.
Systems Theoretical Holistic Indicators
Indicators based on systems theory have high potentials to
represent complex issues in a holistic manner, but they
tend to be rather abstract and difficult to communicate.
Vigor, organization, and resilience (V-O-R model)
Measures of vigor, organization (or performance), and
resilience are often used to assess ecosystem health.
However, they are more easily described in theory than
quantified in practice. Vigor is usually represented by
activity, metabolism, or primary productivity. A study of
the Great Lakes Basin (North America) showed the
decline in the abundance of fish and infertility of agricul-
tural soils within the basin as an example of reduced vigor.
Organization represents the diversity and number of
interactions between system components. An example,
also from the Great Lakes, is the reduced morphological
and functional diversity of fish associations that occurs
under multiple stresses. Resilience is normally under-
stood as a systems capacity to maintain structure and
function in the presence of (external) stress. When resi-
lience is exceeded, the system can shift to an alternate
state. A prime example is the shift from benthic to pelagic
dominated fish associations in the Laurentian Lower
Great Lakes Basin. In this approach ecosystem health is
closely related to the concepts of stress ecology where
vigor, systems organization, resilience and the absence of
signs of ecosystems distress are the main factors for the
health of a system.
Exergy indices
Further holistic indicators are the exergy index and the
specific exergy index. Exergy is derived from thermody-
namics and measure the energy fraction that can be
transformed into mechanical work. In ecosystems, the
captured exergy is used to build up biomass and struc-
tures during succession. Hence, exergy can be used as a
measure of biomass, structure, energy, and information
stored in the biomass. Therefore, more complex organ-
isms and systems also have more built in exergy than
simpler ones. Specific exergy is defined as exergy per
biomass. Both exergy and specific exergy can be used as
indicators for ecosystem health. Relations between the
exergy values and other ecosystem health characteristics
like diversity, structure, or resilience can be found. For
example, specific exergy expresses the dominance of the
higher organisms as they per unit of biomass carry more
information (they have higher -values). A very
eutrophic ecosystem has a very high exergy due to the
high concentration of biomass, but the specific exergy is
low as the biomass is dominated by algae with low
-values. The combination of exergy index and the
specific exergy index gives usually a more satisfactory
description of ecosystem health than the exergy index
alone, because it considers the diversity and the life
conditions for higher organisms.
The holistic ecosystem health indicator
The holistic ecosystemhealth indicator (HEHI) was devel-
oped in 1999 in Costa Rica as an integrative indicator
which might be an appropriate tool for assessing
and evaluating health of managed ecosystems. The HEHI
follows a hierarchical structure starting with three main
branches: ecological, social, and interactive. Measures
about the condition and trend of the ecosystems are
organized within the ecological branch. Socioeconomic
measures concerning the community dependent on
the ecosystem or affected by management decisions are
organized within the social branch. The interactive
branch includes measures relating to land-use and
management decisions that characterize the interactions
between the human communities and the ecosystem.
Furthermore, each branch is subdivided into categories
or criteria.
The indicators belonging to the categories serve as
measures for the performance of each category. If we for
example take soil quality, this is a category within the
ecological branch and it can be measured using indicators
such as microbial biomass, water infiltration, compaction,
etc. Each category is given a target or a benchmark, which
is based on references available in scientific literature,
policies, etc. For example, a water-quality indicator can
have a target defined by legal limits specified by the
administrative authority in charge, while a target for a
productivity indicator may be defined by a combination
of the capacity of the system and objectives set by
stakeholders.
NRCS indicator selection model
The National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
of the US Department of Agriculture assigned an NRCS
indicators action team in 1994 which developed an
indicator selection model for the use of indicators in
evaluations of ecosystem conditions.
The team identified framing questions for four differ-
ent ecosystem aspects namely: ecosystem processes,
recovery processes, landscape and community structure,
and abiotic features. The framing questions represent a
minimum set of diagnostic questions, which need to be
answered when doing comprehensive evaluations of eco-
system conditions or health. The questions are asked at all
scales of ecosystem evaluation:
1136 Ecological Indicators | Ecosystem Health Indicators
System processes. The questions asked at system pro-
cesses are as follows:
1. Are precipitation and groundwater resources captured,
stored, used and released in a safe and stable manner?
2. Are kinds and flows of chemicals (minerals, nutrients,
other) and energy in balance and optimized for plant
and animal communities and biomass production
requirements?
3. Are annual cash flows, technical assistance, and con-
servation incentives timely and adequate for desired
community and land user incomes?
Recovery processes. The questions asked at recovery pro-
cesses are as follows:
1. Are soil, water, air, plant, and animal resources and
biophysical processes in place and in a condition to
allow timely and full recovery from stresses and dis-
turbances and to meet management objectives?
2. Are social and economic systems available to allow
land users and communities and the resources they
manage to recover from environmental and socioeco-
nomic stresses?
3. Are there human and animal resource health concerns
associated with the management of present or planned
enterprises?
Landscape and community structure. The questions asked
at Landscape and community structure are as follows:
1. Do landscape features and patterns facilitate use,
protection and optimization of ecosystem processes?
2. Do commodity markets, investment capital and public
programs encourage land uses, enterprises and
resource management that are compatible with
ecosystem processes?
3. Are decision-making processes available to commu-
nities and individuals to resolve conflicts regarding
current and desired uses, management and protection
of natural resources?
4. Does the social infrastructure (healthcare, education,
multicultural recognition, etc.) support and promote
the desired quality of life for the communities and
individuals?
Abiotic features. The question asked at this scale is: Are
current and planned land uses and desired future condi-
tions suited to the abiotic conditions (e.g., stream
temperature, flow velocities, riffle/pool ratios, riparian
shading, climate, topography, soils, and geology)?
Within the next step, for all ecosystem components
(environmental, ecological, socioeconomic, cultural, or
political factors), which are considered to be necessary
elements of the respective system, appropriate indicators
are listed. These indicators are the quantitative or quali-
tative tools in this model to assess the status, condition, or
trend of a given ecosystem attribute or component. The
underlying assumption for the use of such indicators is
that relationships can be inferred between a relatively
easily measured ecosystem attribute (i.e., litter distribu-
tion and amount) and the more difficult to measure
ecosystem components or processes (i.e., energy flow
and nutrient cycling).
Applied Methods of Ecosystem Health
Assessment
The concept of ecosystem health has been criticized for
being too fuzzy and not concrete enough for practical
application. Nevertheless, it found entry in different man-
agement strategies and definitions of political targets. For
example, in principle 7 of the Rio declaration of 1992, it
has been claimed that States shall cooperate in a spirit of
global partnership to conserve, protect and restore the
health and integrity of the Earths ecosystem. More
recently, the consideration of ecosystem health was
integrated into the ecosystem approach of the convention
on biological diversity (CBD) and in connection to the
precautionary principle which is part of the environ-
mental and nature conservation strategies in different
countries. Furthermore, the ecosystem health concept
was implemented in the strategies of the OSPAR and
the HELCOM commissions for the protection of marine
environments or in the European Union Water
Framework Directive. The development of appropriate
monitoring and indicator systems and methods to assess
ecosystem health in practice are main targets of these
initiatives.
Three examples for methods for possible ways of eco-
system health assessment applications are given in the
following. The first one, the ecosystem health index
method (EHIM) is based on a combination of different
subindicators which are synthesized into index values
using individual weighting factors. Whereas in the ecolo-
gical model method (EMM), modeling procedures are
used to quantify indicator values, the direct measurement
method (DMM) is based on values that are measured
directly or calculated indirectly for the assessment of
ecosystem health.
Ecosystem Health Index Method
For this method, a synthetic ecosystem health index
(EHI) in a scale of 0100 has been developed in order to
quantitatively assess the state of ecosystem health. The
worst health state exists when EHI is zero. To make
description easier, the EHI was divided into five cate-
gories: 020% (worst health state), 2040% (bad health
state), 4060% (middle health state), 6080% (good
Ecological Indicators | Ecosystem Health Indicators 1137
health state), and 80100% (best health state). Five steps
are necessary to calculate the EHI:
1. selection of basic and additional ecosystem indicators;
2. calculation of sub-EHIs for all selected indicators;
3. determination of weighting factors for all selected
indicators;
4. calculation of synthetic EHI using sub-EHIs and
weighting factors for all selected indicators; and
5. assessment of ecosystem health based on synthetic EHI
values.
Ecological Model Method
Five steps are applied when using EMM:
1. determination of the model structure and complexity
according to ecosystem structure;
2. establishment of an ecological model by creating a
conceptual diagram, developing model equations as
well as estimating model parameters;
3. calibration of the model in order to assess its suitability
in application to ecosystem health assessment process;
4. calculation of the ecosystem health indicators; and
5. assessment of the ecosystem health using the values of
the indicators.
Direct Measurement Method
The DMM is used by applying the following three steps:
1. identification of relevant indicators which are needed
for the assessment process;
2. direct measurement or indirect calculation of the
selected indicators; and
3. assessment of ecosystem health based on the resulting
indicator values.
Conclusion
There is a broad range of ecosystem health indicators
available. Depending on the questions to investigate,
such indicator sets can be combined and used to supple-
ment each other in order to carry out holistic ecosystem
health assessments. Indicators applicable for all different
kinds of research and management questions have not
been developed so far. Another critical point is the avail-
ability of data for the quantification of respective
indicators on suitable spatial and temporal scales. If eco-
system health indicators are linked to existing monitoring
networks, appropriate data sets should be on-hand.
Further data can be derived by modeling or appropriate
surrogates have to be found. Especially, the linkage with
social, economic, and land-use data can give valuable
information with regard to the effects of human action
on the state of ecosystems.
Summary
Ecosystem health is a concept that integrates environ-
mental conditions with the impacts of anthropogenic
activities in order to give information for a sustainable
use and management of natural resources. Therefore,
related indicators have to reflect these anthropogenic
impacts to represent the complex cause and effect rela-
tions in humanenvironmental systems. Different
indicator concepts and exemplary sets of indicators are
presented within the text. The focal categories are indi-
cators based on: the abundance of selected species, the
concentration of selected elements, ratios between differ-
ent classes of organisms or elements, ecological strategies
or processes, and ecosystem composition and structure
and systems theoretical holistic indicators.
See also: Average Taxonomic Diversity and Distinctness;
Benthic Response Index; BergerParker Index;
k-Dominance Curves; Margalefs Index; ShannonWiener
Index; Simpson Index; Specific Exergy as Ecosystem
Health Indicator.
Further Reading
Callicott JB (1995) A review of some problems with the concept of
ecosystem health. Ecosystem Health 1(2): 101112.
Costanza R and Mageau M (1999) What is a healthy ecosystem?
Aquatic Ecology 33: 105115.
Costanza R, Norton BG, and Haskell BD (eds.) (1992) Ecosystem
Health: New Goals for Environmental Management. Washington,
DC: Island Press.
Jrgensen SE, Costanza R, and Xu F-L (2005) Handbook of Ecological
Indicators for the Assessment of Ecosystem Health. London:
CRC Press.
Lackey RT (2001) Values, policy, and ecosystem health. BioScience
51: 437444.
Mun oz-Erickson TA and Aguilar-Gonzalez BJ (2003) The use of
ecosystem health indicators for evaluating ecological and social
outcomes of the collaborative approach to management: The case
study of the Diablo Trust. Proceedings of National Workshop
Evaluating Methods and Environmental Outcomes of Community-
Based Collaborative Processes. Utah: Snowbird Center.
Patil GP, Brooks RP, Myers WL, Rapport DJ, and Taillie C (2001)
Ecosystem health and its measurement at landscape scale: Toward
the next generation of quantitative assessments. Ecosystem Health
4(7): 307316.
Rapport DJ (ed.) (2003) Managing for Healthy Ecosystems. Boca Raton:
Lewis Publisher.
Rapport DJ and Singh A (2006) An ecohealth-based framework for state
of environment reporting. Ecological Indicators 6: 409428.
Ulanowicz RE (1997) Ecology, the Ascendant Perspective. NewYork:
Columbia University Press.
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