The framework is consistent with a hierarchical view of ecosystems, allowing for the spatial nesting of environmental information, compatible with community- or ecosystem- (place-) based approaches to environmental management.
It is compatible with assessment-driven approaches to indicator selection.4
In the last several years a number of organizations have been focusing on the development of environmental indicators that can be used to measure environmental quality, conditions, and trends. Like economic indicators (e.g., unemployment rates, cost-of-living index), environmental indicators hope to provide the public and decision-makers with directional measures of change that will allow for a more informed public and improved environmental planning and decision-making. There are many definitions for environmental indicators that appear in the literature, however the operational definition that we use in this paper is:
An environmental indicator is an environmental or environmentally related variable or estimate, or an aggregation of such variables into an index, that is used in some decision-making context: