A taxonomy of environmental indicators was developed to inform management of aquatic ecosystems, and its utility was evaluated through application within the Chesapeake Bay Program. We considered a set of 82 metrics generated by this Program, using qualitative assessment of descriptive materials. We found that 30 of these metrics conveyed sufficient information about the larger system to be considered true indicators. These 30 were classified according to the proposed taxonomy into one or more of five types: condition, evaluation, diagnostic, communication, or futures. We also evaluated the scales at which these indicators function temporally and spatially. We conclude that only a limited number of indicators are designed to be diagnostic and/or designed to forecast future conditions. The scale analyses suggest the indicator set is not focused on local scales and/or the watershed component of the Bay system. The taxonomy succeeds in framing an assessment of existing indicator sets that can productively guide future development efforts.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis