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Towards a Conceptual Framework for Social-Ecological Systems Integrating Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services with Resource Efficiency Indicators

Institute of Social Ecology (SEC), Alpen-Adria Universitaet Klagenfurt-Wien-Graz, Schottenfeldgasse 29, A-1070 Vienna, Austria
Institute for Ecological Economics, Vienna University of Business and Economics, Welthandelsplatz 1/D5, 1020 Vienna, Austria
German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), Halle-Jena-Leipzig, Deutscher Platz 5e, 04103 Leipzig, Germany
Institute of Biology, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Am Kirchtor 1, 06108 Halle (Saale), Germany
Cátedra Infraestruturas de Portugal-Biodiversidade, CIBIO/InBIO, Universidade do Porto, Campus Agrário de Vairão, 4485-661 Vairão, Portugal
Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML), Leiden University, P.O. Box 9518, 2300 RA/Einsteinweg 2, 2333 CC Leiden, The Netherlands
Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research TNO, Van Mourik Broekmanweg 6, 2628XE Delft, The Netherlands
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Vincenzo Torretta
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 201;
Received: 23 October 2015 / Revised: 9 February 2016 / Accepted: 9 February 2016 / Published: 25 February 2016
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
PDF [2330 KB, uploaded 25 February 2016]


In this article we develop a comprehensive conceptual framework for resource efficiency indicators with a consistent link of resource use to the socio-economic system and activities therein as well as to the natural system and its ecosystem functioning. Three broad groups of indicators are defined: (1) resource use indicators representing pressures on the environment; (2) resource efficiency indicators relating resource use indicators to the socio-economic side; and (3) environmental impact indicators linking resource use impacts on the state of the natural system. Based on this conceptual framework we develop a structure for possible resource efficiency indicators and conduct a RACER evaluation on the Relevance, Acceptance, Credibility, Easiness and Robustness of indicators. With the RACER evaluation, we identify areas where indicators are well established and available as well as areas where indicators still need further development or even need to be designed first. View Full-Text
Keywords: resource efficiency; biodiversity; ecosystem services; indicators resource efficiency; biodiversity; ecosystem services; indicators

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Eisenmenger, N.; Giljum, S.; Lutter, S.; Marques, A.; Theurl, M.C.; Pereira, H.M.; Tukker, A. Towards a Conceptual Framework for Social-Ecological Systems Integrating Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services with Resource Efficiency Indicators. Sustainability 2016, 8, 201.

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