EPA Science Inventory

Indicators and Methods for Constructing a U.S. Human Well-being Index (HWBI) for Ecosystem Services Research

Citation:

SMITH, L. M., H. M. SMITH, J. L. CASE, AND L. HARWELL. Indicators and Methods for Constructing a U.S. Human Well-being Index (HWBI) for Ecosystem Services Research. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-12/023, 2012.

Description:

Humans are dependent upon the services provided by nature, and unless we effectively account for the range of values from ecosystems in our efforts to protect the environment, we cannot sustain human well-being. In light of this dependence, a national measure of well-being is needed which is responsive to changes in the provisioning of ecosystem services as well as service flows from economic and social sectors. To conceptualize the eco-human linkages we must identify the measurable components of well-being that can be related to ecosystem service provisioning. The indicators and metrics used in existing well-being indices provide a basis for developing a core set of domains to develop such a composite measure of well-being; however these indices lack the ability to link well-being endpoints specifically to service flows from different types of capital. This report suggests a core set of well-being domains that can be linked to ecosystem services via their relationship to economic, environmental and societal well-being. The development of indicators and metrics used as domain measures are described and the methodologies for constructing a composite human well-being index (HWBI) are detailed. The HWBI is intended to be used as a sustainability indicator for evaluating the provisioning of ecosystem, economic and social services in a predicting modeling framework, allowing decision makers to use alternate scenarios to assess potential impact on communities.

Purpose/Objective:

This product was prepared in fulfillment of APM 176 for FY11 to develop a report on methods development of an index of well-being and the indicators to be used at local, regional, and national scales.

URLs/Downloads:

Indicators and Methods for Constructing a U.S. Human Well-being Index (HWBI) for Ecosystem Services Research

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (PUBLISHED REPORT/REPORT)
Start Date: 08/26/2013
Completion Date: 08/26/2013
Record Last Revised: 06/18/2014
Record Created: 03/23/2012
Record Released: 03/23/2012
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 242106

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LAB

GULF ECOLOGY DIVISION

ECOSYSTEM ASSESSMENT BRANCH