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Selecting Human Dimensions Economic Indicators for South Florida Coastal Marine Ecosystems

Author(s): Lee, Donna J.; Grace M. Johns; Vernon R. Leeworthy


Place of Publication: Miami, Fla.

Publication Type: Report

Date of Publication: 2013

Reference Information: MARES Whitepaper

Extent of Work: 43 pp.

Keywords: MARES; human dimensions; indicators; economics

Abstract: The Marine and Estuarine Goal Setting for South Florida (MARES) project is developing a suite of indicators and indices that can provide an integrated assessment of the South Florida coastal marine ecosystem. Indicators, in this context, incorporate data on one or more variables to assess conditions in the coastal marine environment and communities of people who depend on it. In the latter case, human dimensions (HD) indicators use data that are either economic or non-economic in character to assess the services and benefits that the ecosystem provides to people. These are known as human dimensions indicators because they relate to the human dimensions of the ecosystem. The development of human dimensions indicators is proceeding along two paths: HD economic indicators and HD non-economic indicators. This distinction was made due to differences in human dimensions science methodologies and the expertise of the researchers involved in the MARES project. This whitepaper describes the development and initial application of five human dimensions economic indicators and related total system indices. The indicators assess conditions related to the Ecosystem Services of recreation, food supply, ornamental resources, and property protection. Scoring these indicators is based on year-to-year changes in a related metric, for example: the annual number of park visitors. The scoring includes adjustments to take into account the influence of other factors, such as conditions in the economy and currency exchange rates, that are not related to the level of ecosystem service but can also contribute to a change in the metric. Therefore, the resulting score reflects the economic benefits received due to the quality and quantity of ecosystem services.

Availability: Available from the MARES website ( and

Related Attachment: Download file (.pdf)