Indicators are how you will be able to measure performance in scenario planning and implementation. Think of it just like the dashboard in a car or truck where you have a number of indicators that inform you about the performance of your vehicle. For example, you have a speedometer to tell you how fast the vehicle is moving, you have a fuel gauge so you know how much fuel is left before you hit a critical threshold of running out of gas, and you normally also have a temperature gauge so you know how hot the engine is and therefore how well your cooling system is working. These are all indicators.
Defining an appropriate set of indicators at the earliest stages of the planning process is crucial because it influences many subsequent decisions including the study area boundary, how the landscape is stratified, and what data and information will be needed.
What makes a good indicator?
Read just about any Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and this is the answer you will find. And of course the project will bring significant benefits or we wouldn’t be contemplating it. #Duh
But think about this for a moment. If there are no significant negative effects, shouldn’t the environment be pretty much pristine? It’s not pristine – so what gives here?
We the public ask the assessors the wrong question. Now, I am most familiar with the process in Canada, but it is my understanding that to a large extent, EIA’s around the world approach project assessments similarly. To greatly simplify it, the question we ask those who must assess the benefits and costs of proposed projects goes something like this, “compared to today, will there be any residual (left over) negative effects after we apply mitigation (first aid)?”
The key here...