Multi-attributed environmental index construction

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Abstract

This paper presents a framework for constructing multi-attributed indices to measure welfare derived by a region's citizenry from environmental resources. The framework provides a procedure for integrated regional accounting. The process of index construction is based on stakeholder consultation combined with multi-attribute utility theory (MAUT). It is illustrated by developing a water service index for the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) region in Queensland, Australia. This involved a survey of 901 visitors and residents. The index shows how scientific information can be merged with societal preferences for competing water services to attain an overall measure of performance. Results report regional welfare resulting from alternative policy scenarios and the impact of individual indicators on whole-of-system performance. Regional welfare was found to be strongly influenced by instream heavy metal concentrations, coral cover and sediment exports. The process for index construction developed here could be applied for a multitude of environmental issues. It can provide a single unifying measure of performance when an environmental resource delivers numerous services measured in multiple monetary and non-monetary units. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Hajkowicz, S. (2006). Multi-attributed environmental index construction. Ecological Economics, 57(1), 122–139. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2005.03.023

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