The IEA framework in the Puget Sound Partnership Biennial Science Work Plan

The 2009-2011 Biennial Science Work Plan specifies the use of the IEA framework by the Puget Sound Partnership "to

From the report:

Integrated Ecosystem Assessment as an organizing framework to analyze information

An Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (IEA) provides a framework to develop linkages among the threats/drivers (stressors), environmental goals, and social/economic goals (Levin et al., 2008). The IEA is an iterative and ongoing process that includes:

  • Refining ecosystem goals and objectives into more quantitative metrics, or the best set of ecological, social and economic ecosystem indicators. Thresholds associated with certain levels of ecosystem function are identified so they can serve as indicators and benchmarks against which restoration and protection activities are judged.
  • Conducting risk analyses to improve understanding of ecosystem status and to estimate how major drivers and threats affect the ecosystem. Developing qualitative and quantitative models that relate the most important drivers/stressors to outputs of ecosystem goods and services helps to identify the most imperiled parts of the system, and the likely causes of depressed status. Models of drivers, pressures, states, impacts, responses (DPSIR, EEA 2006, CEROI 2008) are the basis for a common understanding with policy makers and the public about how drivers (anthropogenic and natural) collectively affect current ecosystem states, and which drivers and pressures have the largest impact on indicators. Risk assessment and model development requires mining existing data to improve understanding of historical conditions and stressors and to predict future trajectories. Model development also reveals important scientific knowledge gaps that, with policy input, can become the basis of exploratory and directed research activities. Exploratory studies help identify and explain threats, conditions and impacts not routinely evaluated, and can help ensure that the Partnership can respond to newly emerging issues.
  • Developing and evaluating policy strategies for meeting ecosystem goals and objectives. Qualitative and quantitative models become the tools for predicting how policy decisions affect future ecosystem states (scenarios planning) based on a common set of assumptions. These scenarios can also address or highlight the most important set of scientific and socioeconomic (human well-being) uncertainties and effectively convey to policymakers what we know and do not know (Baker et al. 2004, Peterson et al. 2002).
  • Monitoring of ecosystem indicators and management effectiveness. Synthesis of this information is a key component of the assessment stage of adaptive management. In addition, information from monitoring will support updates and refinements of risk analyses and may also support re-evaluation of indicators, thresholds, and benchmarks.

The analyses and models developed during the IEA process identify conceptual and information gaps. This information may be used to both focus Puget Sound research efforts and improve ecosystem monitoring programs.

Download the latest Biennial Science Work Plan.