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Sustainability Indicators Sustainability Indicators Measuring the Immeasurable? Second edition Simon Bell and Stephen Morse London • Sterling,VA First edition published by Earthscan in the UK and USA in 1999 This second edition first published in 2008 Copyright © Simon Bell and Stephen Morse, 2008 All rights reserved ISBN-13: 978-1-84407-299-6 Typeset by MapSet Ltd, Gateshead, UK Printed and bound in the UK by TJ International Ltd, Padstow, Cornwall Cover design by Susanne Harris For a full list of publications please contact: Earthscan Dunstan House, 14a St Cross Street London, EC1N 8XA, UK Tel: +44 (0)20 7841 1930 Fax: +44 (0)20 7242 1474 Email: email@example.com Web: www.earthscan.co.uk 22883 Quicksilver Drive, Sterling,VA 20166-2012, USA Earthscan publishes in association with the International Institute for Environment and Development A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Bell, Simon, 1957 July 30– Sustainability indicators : measuring the immeasurable? / Simon Bell and Stephen Morse – 2nd ed p cm Includes bibliographical references and index ISBN-13: 978-1-84407-299-6 (pbk.) Environmental indicators Sustainable development–Statistical methods Environmental monitoring–Statistical methods I Morse, Stephen, 1957– II.Title GE140.B45 2008 338.9'27–dc22 2008003017 The paper used for this book is FSC-certified and totally chlorine-free FSC (the Forest Stewardship Council) is an international network to promote responsible management of the world’s forests Contents List of Figures,Tables and Boxes List of Acronyms and Abbreviations Foreword Acknowledgements ix xiii xvii xxi Part I The Bad Application of Good Science? Sustainability and Sustainability Indicators Introduction and objectives Two roots of sustainability The meaning of sustainability Space and time in sustainability System quality Sustainability in practice Indicators of ecosystem health Sustainability indicators and indices Sustainability indicators: A realistic and reasonable approach to measuring sustainability? 3 10 14 17 20 22 27 Sustainability Indicators in Practice Introduction and objectives Maximum sustainable yield Problems with applying maximum sustainable yield Maximum sustainable yield as a sustainability indicator Sustainability indicators in marine ecosystems: The AMOEBA approach Conclusions 45 45 48 55 60 41 62 69 vi Sustainability Indicators Indicators, Cities, Institutions and Projects Introduction and objectives Sustainable communities Institutional sustainability Projects, appraisal and sustainability 75 75 78 84 92 Part II The Application of Grounded and Pragmatic Systemisism Paradigms and Professionals Introduction and objectives Changes in thinking: From science to systems The demise of narrow scientism Systems approaches to problem-solving A range of systems approaches A problem-solving approach:The soft systems method Problem description:The learning organization approach Appraisal:The participatory rural appraisal approach Project handling:The logframe approach An overview of systemic approaches New definitions and new thinking: Holism, eclecticism, systemisism and future casting Emerging premises for SI development 101 101 104 106 110 114 115 117 119 122 125 Projects and Sustainability Indicators Introduction and objectives The project scenario for SIs The stakeholder scenario for SIs: Participation and coalition Accommodating multiple views of sustainability Introducing the systemic sustainability analysis idea: The Imagine Approach 133 133 136 140 142 Imagine: An Example of a Systemic Sustainability Analysis Introduction and objectives Step 1:The beginning of the process – understand the context Step 2: Identify the main SIs and the band of equilibrium Step 3:The development of AMOEBA and scenario-making Step 4: Review and meta-scenario-making Step 5: Publicity, publicizing and marketing the message – influencing policy Conclusion: Renewing the cycle 153 153 157 170 181 187 126 131 147 189 191 Contents vii Part III Where Next? Humility and Honesty Sustainability Indicators: The Rhetoric and the Reality Introduction and objectives Managing expectation in the projectified world order Organic and empowering approaches compared to inorganic and dehumanizing approaches Culture change The essential need for reflective practice Future research priorities Epistemological questions The systemic approach Participatory SIs in social development projects and research Assessment of SIs References Index 195 195 197 199 201 203 204 205 206 206 206 209 223 List of Figures,Tables and Boxes Figures F.1 C.1 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 C.2 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 2.10 C.3 C.4 4.1 4.2 Overview of the book Chapter in context The roots of the modern view of sustainability System quality and sustainability Importance of the reference point for gauging sustainability The two broad approaches to using environmental indicators Fish distribution in the Cynon River system in South Wales, UK Change in biodiversity (Shannon–Wiener Index, H) along the River Cynon in South Wales The concept behind sustainability indicators (SIs) Chapter in context Examples of population growth curves Example of an age distribution Main elements contributing to population change The concept of maximum sustainable yield in harvesting a population The Schaefer model employed to determine MSY based on the fishery yield for a particular fishing effort Population growth curves based on the equation in Box 2.4 Schaefer model fitted to data from the Peruvian anchovy fishery Example of an AMOEBA approach to presenting sustainability indicators Biomass of trout and bullhead and numbers of midges at four sampling stations on the River Cynon relative to station C1 (the reference condition) Biomass of trout and bullhead and numbers of midges at four sampling stations on the River Cynon relative to station C2 (the reference condition) Chapter in context Chapter in context A continuum of research approaches A systems view of a particular context xix 13 16 23 25 26 28 46 50 52 52 53 53 56 58 65 67 68 76 102 105 113 .. .Sustainability Indicators Sustainability Indicators Measuring the Immeasurable? Second edition Simon Bell and Stephen Morse London • Sterling,VA First edition published by Earthscan in the. .. I The Bad Application of Good Science? Sustainability and Sustainability Indicators Introduction and objectives Two roots of sustainability The meaning of sustainability Space and time in sustainability. .. System quality Sustainability in practice Indicators of ecosystem health Sustainability indicators and indices Sustainability indicators: A realistic and reasonable approach to measuring sustainability?
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