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Ecological indicator

    '''Ecological indicators''' are used to communicate information about ecosystems and the impact human activity has on ecosystems to groups such as the public or government policy makers Ecosystems are complex and ecological indicators can help describe them in simpler terms that can be understood and used by non-scientists to make management decisions For example the number of different beetle taxa found in a field can be used as an indicator of biodiversity
    Many different types of indicators have been developed They can be used to reflect a variety of aspects of ecosystems including biological chemical and physical Due to this diversity the development and selection of ecological indicators is a complex process
    Using ecological indicators is a pragmatic approach since direct documentation of changes in ecosystems as related to management measures is cost and time intensive For example it would be expensive and time consuming to count every bird plant and animal in a newly restored wetland to see if the restoration was a success Instead a few indicator species can be monitored to determine success of the restoration
    “It is difficult and often even impossible to characterize the functioning of a complex system such as an eco-agrosystem by means of direct measurements The size of the system the complexity of the interactions involved or the difficulty and cost of the measurements needed are often crippling”

    Policy evaluation

    Ecological indicators play an important role in evaluating policy regarding the environment


    Indicators contribute to evaluation of policy development by:
    • Providing decision-makers and the general public with relevant information on the current state and trends in the environment
    • Helping decision-makers better understand cause and effect relationships between the choices and practices of businesses and policy-makers versus the environment
    • Assisting to monitor and assess the effectiveness of measures taken to increase and enhance ecological goods and services