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  • Conceptualizing HWB for EBM-ESP-Revised

    Rights statement: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Environmental Science and Policy. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Environmental Science and Policy, 66, 2016 DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2016.06.023

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    Available under license: CC BY-NC-ND: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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Conceptualizing and operationalizing human wellbeing for ecosystem assessment and management

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
  • Sara J. Breslow
  • Brit Sojka
  • Raz Barnea
  • Xavier Basurto
  • Courtney Carothers
  • Susan Charnley
  • Sarah Coulthard
  • Nives Dolsak
  • Jamie Donatuto
  • Carlos Garcia-Quijano
  • Christina Hicks
  • Arielle Levine
  • Michael B. Mascia
  • Karma Norman
  • Melissa Poe
  • Terre Satterfield
  • Kevin St. Martin
  • Phillip S. Levin
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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>12/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Environmental Science and Policy
Volume66
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)250-259
Publication statusPublished
Early online date12/08/16
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

There is growing interest in assessing the effects of changing environmental conditions and management actions on human wellbeing. A challenge is to translate social science expertise regarding these relationships into terms usable by environmental scientists, policymakers, and managers. Here, we present a comprehensive, structured, and transparent conceptual framework of human wellbeing designed to guide the development of indicators and a complementary social science research agenda for ecosystem-based management. Our framework grew out of an effort to develop social indicators for an integrated ecosystem assessment (IEA) of the California Current large marine ecosystem. Drawing from scholarship in international development, anthropology, geography, and political science, we define human wellbeing as a state of being with others and the environment, which arises when human needs are met, when individuals and communities can act meaningfully to pursue their goals, and when individuals and communities enjoy a satisfactory quality of life. We propose four major social science-based constituents of wellbeing: connections, capabilities, conditions, and cross-cutting domains. The latter includes the domains of equity and justice, security, resilience, and sustainability, which may be assessed through cross-cutting analyses of other constituents. We outline a process for identifying policy-relevant attributes of wellbeing that can guide ecosystem assessments. To operationalize the framework, we provide a detailed table of attributes and a large database of available indicators, which may be used to develop measures suited to a variety of management needs and social goals. Finally, we discuss four guidelines for operationalizing human wellbeing measures in ecosystem assessments, including considerations for context, feasibility, indicators and research, and social difference. Developed for the U.S. west coast, the framework may be adapted for other regions, management needs, and scales with appropriate modifications.

Bibliographic note

This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Environmental Science and Policy. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Environmental Science and Policy, 66, 2016 DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2016.06.023