Browsing by Subject "indicators"

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  • Chen, Qiuzhen; Knickel, Karlheinz; Tesfai, Mehreteab; Sumelius, John; Turinawe, Alice; Isoto, Rosemary; Medyna, Galyna (2021)
    An important goal across Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), and globally, is to foster a healthy nutrition. A strengthening of the diversity, sustainability, resilience and connectivity of food systems is increasingly seen as a key leverage point. Governance arrangements play a central role in connecting sustainable, resilient farming with healthy nutrition. In this article, we elaborate a framework for assessing, monitoring and improving the governance of food systems. Our focus is on food chains in six peri-urban and urban regions in SSA. A literature review on food chain governance and a mapping of current agri-food chains in the six regions provide the basis for the elaboration of an indicator-based assessment framework. The framework is adapted to the specific conditions of SSA and related goals. The assessment framework is then used to identify the challenges and opportunities in food chain governance in the six regions. The first testing of the framework indicates that the approach can help to identify disconnects, conflicting goals and tensions in food systems, and to formulate strategies for empowering agri-food chain actors in transitioning toward more efficient, equitable and sustainable agri-food systems. The article is concluded with a brief reflection on the strengths and weaknesses of the framework and suggests further testing and refinement.
  • Hochkirch, Axel; Samways, Michael J.; Gerlach, Justin; Bohm, Monika; Williams, Paul; Cardoso, Pedro; Cumberlidge, Neil; Stephenson, P. J.; Seddon, Mary B.; Clausnitzer, Viola; Borges, Paulo A.; Mueller, Gregory M.; Pearce-Kelly, Paul; Raimondo, Domitilla C.; Danielczak, Anja; Dijkstra, Klaas-Douwe B. (2021)
    Measuring progress toward international biodiversity targets requires robust information on the conservation status of species, which the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species provides. However, data and capacity are lacking for most hyperdiverse groups, such as invertebrates, plants, and fungi, particularly in megadiverse or high-endemism regions. Conservation policies and biodiversity strategies aimed at halting biodiversity loss by 2020 need to be adapted to tackle these information shortfalls after 2020. We devised an 8-point strategy to close existing data gaps by reviving explorative field research on the distribution, abundance, and ecology of species; linking taxonomic research more closely with conservation; improving global biodiversity databases by making the submission of spatially explicit data mandatory for scientific publications; developing a global spatial database on threats to biodiversity to facilitate IUCN Red List assessments; automating preassessments by integrating distribution data and spatial threat data; building capacity in taxonomy, ecology, and biodiversity monitoring in countries with high species richness or endemism; creating species monitoring programs for lesser-known taxa; and developing sufficient funding mechanisms to reduce reliance on voluntary efforts. Implementing these strategies in the post-2020 biodiversity framework will help to overcome the lack of capacity and data regarding the conservation status of biodiversity. This will require a collaborative effort among scientists, policy makers, and conservation practitioners.
  • Shin, Bokyong; Rask, Mikko (2021)
    Online deliberation research has recently developed automated indicators to assess the deliberative quality of much user-generated online data. While most previous studies have developed indicators based on content analysis and network analysis, time-series data and associated methods have been studied less thoroughly. This article contributes to the literature by proposing indicators based on a combination of network analysis and time-series analysis, arguing that it will help monitor how online deliberation evolves. Based on Habermasian deliberative criteria, we develop six throughput indicators and demonstrate their applications in the OmaStadi participatory budgeting project in Helsinki, Finland. The study results show that these indicators consist of intuitive figures and visualizations that will facilitate collective intelligence on ongoing processes and ways to solve problems promptly.
  • Balleste, Elisenda; Blanch, Anicet R.; Mendez, Javier; Sala-Comorera, Laura; Maunula, Leena; Monteiro, Silvia; Farnleitner, Andreas H.; Tiehm, Andreas; Jofre, Joan; Garcia-Aljaro, Cristina (2021)
    The detection of fecal viral pathogens in water is hampered by their great variety and complex analysis. As traditional bacterial indicators are poor viral indicators, there is a need for alternative methods, such as the use of somatic coliphages, which have been included in water safety regulations in recent years. Some researchers have also recommended the use of reference viral pathogens such as noroviruses or other enteric viruses to improve the prediction of fecal viral pollution of human origin. In this work, phages previously tested in microbial source tracking studies were compared with norovirus and adenovirus for their suitability as indicators of human fecal viruses. The phages, namely those infecting human-associated Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron strain GA17 (GA17PH) and porcine-associated Bacteroides strain PG76 (PGPH), and the human-associated crAssphage marker (crAssPH), were evaluated in sewage samples and fecal mixtures obtained from different animals in five European countries, along with norovirus GI + GII (NoV) and human adenovirus (HAdV). GA17PH had an overall sensitivity of >= 83% and the highest specificity (>88%) for human pollution source detection. crAssPH showed the highest sensitivity (100%) and specificity (100%) in northern European countries but a much lower specificity in Spain and Portugal (10 and 30%, respectively), being detected in animal wastewater samples with a high concentration of fecal indicators. The correlations between GA17PH, crAssPH, or the sum of both (BACPH) and HAdV or NoV were higher than between the two human viruses, indicating that bacteriophages are feasible indicators of human viral pathogens of fecal origin and constitute a promising, easy to use and affordable alternative to human viruses for routine water safety monitoring.
  • Gonçalves, Paula; Vierikko, Kati; Elands, Birgit; Haase, Dagmar; Catarina Luz, Ana; Santos-Reis, Margarida (Elsevier BV, 2021)
    Environmental and Sustainability Indicators 11: 100131
    Cities face growing challenges and urban greenspaces (UGS) play a key role in improving cities liveability. UGS are complex socio-ecological systems and evidence-based and context-sensitive tools are needed to assist planning and manage environmentally sound and socially inclusive UGS. In this paper, we propose an innovative indicator-based tool to operationalize the biocultural diversity (BCD) framework in urban contexts, deriving from its three conceptual layers – materialized, lived and stewardship. Indicators proposed are bundled in themes representing essential components when assessing and analyzing urban BCD from a contextual and sensitizing perspective. The set of indicators highlight key features of socio-cultural and ecological systems, theirs links and interactions, both material and non-material, to capture the essence of biocultural diversity at site-level. By offering a uniform scoring system with the possibility to set site-specific benchmarks, these can be used in any type of greenspace of any city, while allowing different communities/neighborhoods/city councils to embrace different approaches to meet their objectives towards larger scale goals. Twelve urban parks in Lisbon were used as a test-bed for the indicator-based tool and proved its feasibility to gather an overall snapshot of all parks and to demonstrate the possibility to deepen the study to only two parks uncovering self-exclusion processes that otherwise would have remained hidden. The BCD tool brings together essential information scattered over several quality and good practices assessment tools and protocols and, by including indicators specifically addressing governance and stewardship, offers a policy-driven instrument able to capture trade-offs and/or synergies between ecological, social and political domains.
  • Taipalus, Katja (2005)
    Tests for unit roots in the log dividend yields, which are consistent with ´rational bubbles´ in stock prices, are conducted for S&P500 as well as for Finnish stock market indexes. In addition to the traditional unit root tests we split the data into 10-year segments and use frequency domain analysis to test for the presence of unit roots in the dividend yield data.The results strongly suggest existence of bubbles in the US as well as in Finland. Finally we develop a novel dividend yield-based method to track out periods when stock prices divert their fundamental level. This indicator produces promising results as it seems to have some forecasting ability concerning the booms and busts in the stock markets.
  • Forsius, Martin; Kujala, Heini; Minunno, Francesco; Holmberg, Maria; Leikola, Niko; Mikkonen, Ninni; Autio, Iida; Paunu, Ville-Veikko; Tanhuanpää, Topi; Hurskainen, Pekka; Mäyrä, Janne; Kivinen, Sonja; Keski-Saari, Sarita; Kosenius, Anna-Kaisa; Kuusela, Saija; Virkkala, Raimo; Viinikka, Arto; Vihervaara, Petteri; Akujarvi, Anu; Bäck, Jaana; Karvosenoja, Niko; Kumpula, Timo; Kuzmin, Anton; Mäkelä, Annikki; Moilanen, Atte; Ollikainen, Markku; Pekkonen, Minna; Peltoniemi, Mikko; Poikolainen, Laura; Rankinen, Katri; Rasilo, Terhi; Tuominen, Sakari; Valkama, Jari; Vanhala, Pekka; Heikkinen, Risto K (2021)
    The challenges posed by climate change and biodiversity loss are deeply interconnected. Successful co-managing of these tangled drivers requires innovative methods that can prioritize and target management actions against multiple criteria, while also enabling cost-effective land use planning and impact scenario assessment. This paper synthesises the development and application of an integrated multidisciplinary modelling and evaluation framework for carbon and biodiversity in forest systems. By analysing and spatio-temporally modelling carbon processes and biodiversity elements, we determine an optimal solution for their co-management in the study landscape. We also describe how advanced Earth Observation measurements can be used to enhance mapping and monitoring of biodiversity and ecosystem processes. The scenarios used for the dynamic models were based on official Finnish policy goals for forest management and climate change mitigation. The development and testing of the system were executed in a large region in southern Finland (Kokemäenjoki basin, 27,024 km2) containing highly instrumented LTER (Long-Term Ecosystem Research) stations; these LTER data sources were complemented by fieldwork, remote sensing and national data bases. In the study area, estimated total net emissions were currently 4.2 TgCO2eq a−1, but modelling of forestry measures and anthropogenic emission reductions demonstrated that it would be possible to achieve the stated policy goal of carbon neutrality by low forest harvest intensity. We show how this policy-relevant information can be further utilized for optimal allocation of set-aside forest areas for nature conservation, which would significantly contribute to preserving both biodiversity and carbon values in the region. Biodiversity gain in the area could be increased without a loss of carbon-related benefits.
  • Lyytimäki, Jari (John Wiley & Sons, 2012)
    Natural Resources Forum, 36(2): 101-108
    Indicators are commonly used as tools to identify and highlight socio-economic and ecological trends and to assess progress towards sustainability. Different quality criteria can be considered for indicators. This paper focuses on the timeliness of indicators used in the evaluation of sustainable development strategies. The analysis is based on indicators included in four assessment reports of the sustainable development strategy of the European Union and three assessment reports of the national strategy of Finland. Furthermore, a web-based national level indicator portal is analysed. The results show that the timeliness of indicators has generally not improved during the past decade and that indicators used in strategy evaluations have a time lag of approximately two years. It is suggested that more attention should be given to efforts to improve the timeliness of indicators in order to increase the effectiveness of the evaluations. More generally, it is suggested that greater emphasis should be put on the empirical research on actual use of indicators.
  • Alcamo, J.; Hordijk, L.; Kämäri, J.; Kauppi, P.; Posch, M.; Runca, E. (Elsevier, 1986)
  • Andersen, Jesper H.; Carstensen, Jacob; Conley, Daniel J.; Dromph, Karsten; Fleming-Lehtinen, Vivi; Gustafsson, Bo G.; Josefson, Alf B.; Norkko, Alf; Villnäs, Anna; Murray, Ciaran (2017)
    Much of the Baltic Sea is currently classified as 'affected by eutrophication'. The causes for this are twofold. First, current levels of nutrient inputs (nitrogen and phosphorus) from human activities exceed the natural processing capacity with an accumulation of nutrients in the Baltic Sea over the last 50-100 years. Secondly, the Baltic Sea is naturally susceptible to nutrient enrichment due to a combination of long retention times and stratification restricting ventilation of deep waters. Here, based on a unique data set collated from research activities and long-term monitoring programs, we report on the temporal and spatial trends of eutrophication status for the open Baltic Sea over a 112-year period using the HELCOM Eutrophication Assessment Tool (HEAT 3.0). Further, we analyse variation in the confidence of the eutrophication status assessment based on a systematic quantitative approach using coefficients of variation in the observations. The classifications in our assessment indicate that the first signs of eutrophication emerged in the mid-1950s and the central parts of the Baltic Sea changed from being unaffected by eutrophication to being affected. We document improvements in eutrophication status that are direct consequences of long-term efforts to reduce the inputs of nutrients. The reductions in both nitrogen and phosphorus loads have led to large-scale alleviation of eutrophication and to a healthier Baltic Sea. Reduced confidence in our assessment is seen more recently due to reductions in the scope of monitoring programs. Our study sets a baseline for implementation of the ecosystem-based management strategies and policies currently in place including the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directives and the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan.
  • Jähnig, Sonja C.; Baranov, Viktor; Altermatt, Florian; Cranston, Peter; Friedrichs-Manthey, Martin; Geist, Juergen; He, Fengzhi; Heino, Jani; Hering, Daniel; Hölker, Franz; Jourdan, Jonas; Kalinkat, Gregor; Kiesel, Jens; Leese, Florian; Maasri, Alain; Monaghan, Michael T.; Schäfer, Ralf B.; Tockner, Klement; Tonkin, Jonathan D.; Domisch, Sami (Wiley, 2020)
    WIREs Water 8 (2020)
    A recent global meta-analysis reported a decrease in terrestrial but increase in freshwater insect abundance and biomass (van Klink et al., Science 368, p. 417). The authors suggested that water quality has been improving, thereby challenging recent reports documenting drastic global declines in freshwater biodiversity. We raise two major concerns with the meta-analysis and suggest that these account for the discrepancy with the declines reported elsewhere. First, total abundance and biomass alone are poor indicators of the status of freshwater insect assemblages, and the observed differences may well have been driven by the replacement of sensitive species with tolerant ones. Second, many of the datasets poorly represent global trends and reflect responses tolocal conditions or nonrandom site selection. We conclude that the results of the meta-analysis should not be considered indicative of an overall improve ment in the condition of freshwater ecosystems.
  • Kahlert, Maria; Bailet, Bonnie; Chonova, Teofana; Karjalainen, Satu Maaria; Schneider, Susanne C.; Tapolczai, Kálmán (Elsevier, 2021)
    Ecological Indicators 130 (2021), 108088
    We developed and compared the performance of freshwater benthic diatom indices calculated from (i) traditional morphological species identification, (ii) Amplicon Sequence Variants (ASVs) obtained via DNA metabarcoding, and (iii) morphological traits to indicate eutrophication in rivers and lakes in Fennoscandia. Based on the results, we provided recommendations for the future routine use of diatom bioassessment tools in environmental monitoring and assessment. Our results show that ASVs are the most promising candidates to be used in environmental assessment. Indices based on ASVs correlated better with TotP concentrations than morphological taxa data, whereas the trait indices correlated least. We could see by studying the taxonomic assignments of the ASVs that traditional morphotaxa were divided up into several ASVs with different ecological profiles, which explained part of the better index performance and also encourages further studies on diatom diversity and ecological preferences. In general, ASV- and morphotaxon-specific optima differed slightly between streams and lakes, but were significantly correlated with each other. This means that it should be possible to develop a common index that is applicable in both streams and lakes, but boundary values with respect to TotP might need to be set separately for them. More knowledge on diatom traits is required to enable their use for environmental assessment.
  • Rosenström, Ulla; Lyytimäki, Jari (John Wiley & Sons, 2006)
    European Environment 16(1): 32-44
    Environmental indicators were developed mainly to improve information flows from scientists to policy-makers. This article discusses the importance of timely environmental data and investigates the influence of indicator-based reporting on the data timeliness of environmental reports by international organizations. Timeliness of information contributes to the quality and appeal of the reports, and to their role as early warning tools, and increases their usability by decision-makers in short-term decision cycles. The results of an analysis of 11 international reports by the European Environmental Agency (EEA) and the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) show a considerable time lag of three years on average, with only minor development towards more timely reporting. The results suggest that the introduction of environmental indicators has not improved the timeliness of reporting. In order to overcome these problems, the article recommends some methods for improving timeliness. These include better choice of indicators in smaller sets, use of preliminary data and outlooks, development of new indicators, publishing on the internet and more effective use of internet databases to avoid intermediate levels in data collection.
  • Tiitu, Maija; Viinikka, Arto; Ojanen, Maria; Saarikoski, Heli (Elsevier, 2021)
    Environmental Science & Policy 126 (2021), 177-188
    Worldwide urbanisation emphasises the importance of planning for cities that sustain and promote the well-being of their residents. The planning of a living environment that supports well-being requires both intersectoral cooperation between policy sectors and interaction between researchers and practitioners. With 12 case studies (of 11 Finnish municipalities and one city region), we provide a description of a knowledge co-production process originating from the use of a new planning-support tool called StrateGIS that can be used for discovering built-environment indicators for integrated planning for well-being. Based on spatial multi-criteria analysis, we also investigate how the tool fostered intersectoral discussion among practitioners during the process. Practitioner knowledge was merged with scientific knowledge at different stages of the process: in structuring the value tree, in setting the objectives, in selecting the criteria and in defining the spatial representation for each criterion. Intersectoral discussion during the process was seen as fruitful and relatively easy despite the different types of expertise present in the workshops. Based on our results, the local experts specialised in spatial data have an intermediary role between practitioners since they can build understanding of how data is translated into spatial information when using a spatial planning-support tool.
  • Erkkila, Tero; Piironen, Ossi (2020)
    For over a decade, global university rankings have played a growing role in the status competition in higher education. More recently, we have seen a proliferation in rankings of innovation and urbanization. In this article, we argue that while these new measurements bring with them some conceptual adjustments, they draw heavily on existing rankings and embrace the embedded competitive logic. Local rankings of innovation objectify higher education as an element of global competitiveness. Furthermore, we argue that this logical shift is made with the help university rankings that now come to bridge global competition and local innovation; the existing global university rankings are directly used in the composite indicators of local innovation or their methodology is copied. Consequently, political imaginaries of global competition are now projected to regional and city level.
  • Aura, Ossi (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2006)
    Economics and Society
    In a framework of Intellectual Capital (IC), the effects and interactions of a Worksite Fitness Program (WFP) policy was studied with a multidisciplinary approach. In a preliminary study, indicators for physical activity (PAI), physical fitness (PFI), activity in WFP on a regular (WFPI) and on a events basis (WFPE) were created in line with positive findings regarding the associations between physical activity and fitness patterns and sick leave, perceived health, and self-assessed work ability. The intensity of physical activity was found to be the most important variable to predict positive associations with the above mentioned wellness parameters. In four case study follow-up settings, the effects and interactions of physical activity and fitness patterns and the company’s WFP-policy on different elements of IC were studied. Qualitative methods were applied in constructing indicators and a descriptive IC measure for each case company. In cross-sectional and follow-up settings, several findings with respect to IC were found regarding physical activity in general and activity in WFP in particular. Findings were relatively strong in health and wellness related indicators in Human Capital, where, as also in Structural Capital indicators such as the company climate and employee-superior relationship, revealed positive associations. Physical activity patterns were found to act in minor role in Relational Capital. Overall, WFP was seen to be an integrated part of Structural Capital. From the viewpoint of Worksite Fitness Program as a phenomenon, this study positioned WFP as an active element of Intellectual Capital. The literature in the field of WFP emphasizes the role of WFP as an instrument to activate employees in physical activity, and thus promote their health and wellbeing. With the wider perspective the active and long range WFP policy can support a company’s Structural and Relational Capital in line with the fundamental role it has on Human Capital.