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TABLE 3 State of the Environment—Local Ecosystems

Valued Environmental Attributes (VEAs)

Safe drinking water (quantity and quantity)

Maintenance of hydrological and geomorphological functions (see regional menu)

Food safety (freedom from contaminants, undesired organisms)

Air quality (visibility, outdoor, indoor, workplace)

Pleasant climate (e.g., temperature, precipitation)

Tree cover

Natural control of pest and exotic (non-native) species


Nutrient flows/cycles

Productivity of commercially, recreationally valued species

Local biodiversity and biotic integrity; healthy population of local keystone and other desired species

Local environmental diversity

Proximity of homes to jobs, shopping, schools, parks, civic facilities

Access to local and regional transport (roads, public transport); safe routes for non-motorized traffic (sidewalks, bike paths)

Land availability for various uses: residential and commercial constructions, agriculture, transportation corridors, parks, etc.

Utilities (electricity, communications network, etc.)

Sanitation (disposal, treatment, recycling options)

Recreationally, aesthetically valued locations/sites/vista

Other aesthetically and culturally valued attributes

— Quiet

— Absence of noxious odors

— Cultural and Historical sites and districts

Conditions and Changes of Human and Natural Origin

Quantity and distributions of land and water suitable for various human uses

Local climate

Pollutant levels, proliferation of disease vectors in air, water, soil, food

Proliferation of unwanted exotic species, less desired native species

Local habitat alteration/fragmentation, destruction

Trophic structure and functioning of ecosystems, including energy transfer, nutrient flows, etc.

Biological community structure: species diversity, niche structure, etc.

Condition of key species (individuals and populations), body burdens of chemicals; population size and dynamics

Extent and distribution of paved surfaces, etc.

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