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Ecosystem health towards sustainability

Yonglong Lu, Ruoshi Wang, Yueqing Zhang, Hongqiao Su, Pei Wang, Alan Jenkins, Rober C. Ferrier, Mark Bailey, Geoff Squire
2015 Ecosystem Health and Sustainability  
Ecosystems are becoming damaged or degraded as a result of stresses especially associated with human activities. A healthy ecosystem is essential to provide the services that humans and the natural environment require and has tremendous social and economic value. Exploration of the definition of ecosystem health includes what constitutes health and what it means to be healthy. To evaluate ecosystem health, it is necessary to quantify ecosystem conditions using a variety of indicators. In this
more » ... dicators. In this paper, the main principles and criteria for indicator selection, classification of indicators for different kinds of ecosystems, the most appropriate indicators for measuring ecosystem sustainability, and various methods and models for the assessment of ecosystem health are presented. Drivers, sustainability, and resilience are considered to be critical factors for ecosystem health and its assessment. Effective integration of ecological understanding with socioeconomic, biophysical, biogeochemical, and public-policy dimensions is still the primary challenge in this field, and devising workable strategies to achieve and maintain ecosystem health is a key future challenge.
doi:10.1890/ehs14-0013.1 fatcat:yayuc6itvnay5oen752yhm5ivq