Event Title

Conceptualizing and Operationalizing Human Wellbeing for Ecosystem-Based Management

Presentation Abstract

The wellness of people and nature are interdependent, and thus the notion of human wellbeing has taken root in conservation science. But what exactly is human wellbeing, how is it coupled with environmental change, and how might it be conceptualized for ecosystem assessments? This paper introduces a comprehensive, structured and transparent conceptual framework of human wellbeing designed to guide the development and analysis of indicators for ecosystem-based management. We define human wellbeing as a state of being with others and the environment, which arises when human needs are met, when individuals and communities can act meaningfully to pursue their goals, and when individuals and communities enjoy a satisfactory quality of life. We propose four major social science-based constituents of wellbeing: connections, capabilities, conditions, and cross-cutting domains. The latter includes the domains of equity and justice, security, resilience, and sustainability, which may be assessed through cross-cutting analyses of other constituents. To operationalize the framework, we outline a process for identifying policy-relevant attributes of wellbeing that can guide ecosystem assessments, and discuss issues regarding context, feasibility, indicators and data, and social difference. Developed for the US West coast, the framework may be adapted for other regions and scales, such as the Salish Sea, with appropriate modifications. Ultimately, our goal is to provide a tool to better link conservation strategies to interrelated improvements in human wellbeing.

Session Title

Integrating Social Science into Ecosystem-Based Management

Conference Track

People

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (2016 : Vancouver, B.C.)

Document Type

Event

Location

2016SSEC

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

Text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Conceptualizing and Operationalizing Human Wellbeing for Ecosystem-Based Management

2016SSEC

The wellness of people and nature are interdependent, and thus the notion of human wellbeing has taken root in conservation science. But what exactly is human wellbeing, how is it coupled with environmental change, and how might it be conceptualized for ecosystem assessments? This paper introduces a comprehensive, structured and transparent conceptual framework of human wellbeing designed to guide the development and analysis of indicators for ecosystem-based management. We define human wellbeing as a state of being with others and the environment, which arises when human needs are met, when individuals and communities can act meaningfully to pursue their goals, and when individuals and communities enjoy a satisfactory quality of life. We propose four major social science-based constituents of wellbeing: connections, capabilities, conditions, and cross-cutting domains. The latter includes the domains of equity and justice, security, resilience, and sustainability, which may be assessed through cross-cutting analyses of other constituents. To operationalize the framework, we outline a process for identifying policy-relevant attributes of wellbeing that can guide ecosystem assessments, and discuss issues regarding context, feasibility, indicators and data, and social difference. Developed for the US West coast, the framework may be adapted for other regions and scales, such as the Salish Sea, with appropriate modifications. Ultimately, our goal is to provide a tool to better link conservation strategies to interrelated improvements in human wellbeing.