State of the Environment

The term State of the Environment normally relates to an analysis of trends in the environment of a particular place. This analysis can encompass aspects such as water quality, air quality, land use, ecosystem health and function, along with social and cultural matters.

The Pressure-State-Response Framework

Human activity places pressure on many aspects of the environment. For instance, deforestation results in the invasion of weed species, habitat displacement, and, when undertaken on a large scale, adversely affects air quality and carbon dioxide sequestration.

Examples of pressures under the Pressure-State-Response ("PSR") framework include: pollutants discharged from factories, or draining into a river from the land; it could be the removal of forest from the land or over-harvesting by fishermen or hunters. [ [http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/ser/ser1997/html/chapter1.3.html Box 1.2: The Pressure-State-Response framework] , Chapter One: Introduction, The State of New Zealand’s Environment 1997, Report Ref. ME612, Ministry for the Environment, Wellington, New Zealand.]

In this framework, only pressures introduced by human interaction with the environment is considered. Natural pressures such as extreme weather is only considered in the context of human-induced climate change (i.e. global warming).

A "state" is the condition of the environment at a particular time. This is assessed by measuring various aspects of the atmosphere, air, water, land and organisms. [ [http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/ser/ser1997/html/chapter1.3.html Box 1.2: The Pressure-State-Response framework] , Chapter One: Introduction, The State of New Zealand’s Environment 1997, Report Ref. ME612, Ministry for the Environment, Wellington, New Zealand.]

The European Environment Agency has extended the pressure-state-response framework to include driving forces and impacts (see DPSIR).

State of the Environment Reporting

State of Environment reports have been prepared by countries such as New Zealand [ [http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/ser/ser1997/ The State of New Zealand’s Environment 1997] , Report Ref. ME612, Ministry for the Environment, Wellington, New Zealand.] and Australia. [State of the Environment 2006 (SoE 2006), [http://www.environment.gov.au/soe/2006/ On line web page] , [http://www.environment.gov.au/soe/2006/publications/report/pubs/soe-2006-report.pdf Portable document format] , Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Canberra, Australia.] State of the Environment reporting is also undertaken fairly extensively throughout New Zealand by territorial and regional authorities.

References

External links

* [http://www.grida.no/soe/ The State of the Environment Gateway] , GRID-Arendal/United Nations Environment Programme, Arendel, Norway, retrieved 2 February 2008.


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