Going Beyond the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment: An Index System of Human Well-Being

Author(s):

Wu Yang, Thomas Dietz, Daniel Kramer, Xiaodong Chen, Jianguo Liu

Journal or Book Title: PLoS One

Volume/Issue: 8(5)

Page Number(s): e64582

Year Published: 2013

Abstract:

Understanding the linkages between ecosystem services (ES) and human well-being (HWB) is crucial to sustain the flow of ES for HWB. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) provided a state-of-the-art synthesis of such knowledge. However, due to the complexity of the linkages between ES and HWB, there are still many knowledge gaps, and in particular a lack of quantitative indicators and integrated models based on the MA framework. To fill some of these research needs, we developed a quantitative index system to measure HWB, and assessed the impacts of an external driver – the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake – on HWB. Our results suggest that our proposed index system of HWB is well-designed, valid and could be useful for better understanding the linkages between ES and HWB. The earthquake significantly affected households' well-being in our demonstration sites. Such impacts differed across space and across the five dimensions of the sub-index (i.e., the basic material for good life, security, health, good social relations, and freedom of choice and action). Since the conceptual framework is based on the generalizable MA framework, our methods should also be applicable to other study areas.

DOI: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0064582

Type of Publication: Journal Article

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