Chapter 3 Planning and Gathering Data

This chapter will help you think about what to include in your assessment, and what data to look for. You should use previous assessments as guidance, but not be constrained by them. You’ll need to think about the priorities and characteristics for your assessment, and how to represent them within the OHI framework. The following chapter ((Chapter ??)) will introduce you to the Planner Guide spreadsheet to help organize your ideas collaboratively with your team.

3.1 Overview and Resources

There is a lot of planning and decision-making involved in an OHI assessment. To help you along, we try to provide as much guidance, code, and as many examples as possible. Here are some places to look for help as you go:

publications: blogs:

This cartoon represents the four key points in the Best Practices publication (Lowndes et al. 2015). You’ll start by building the conceptual framework for your assessment, and then remaining true to that framework as you gather data and develop goal status models that could represent ocean health for your assessment. You will also need to define spatial boundaries along the way, because you will need to gather data at that spatial scale. Documenting and sharing the process is also critical, so that you remember what you did and why you did, your team remembers what they did and why they did it, people outside your team understand what you did and why you did it, and when your assessment is repeated in the future to track changes in ocean health, others can repeat your assessment and build from it. The Toolbox will help you organize and communicate these details, and all the code you write can be rerun

3.2 Where to start

We recommend starting with goals: how will you model status and trend? Status alone accounts for most of a goal’s score.

You will need to plan conceptually, but ground your planning in what data are really available to use in your assessment. When you’re ready, you will prepare data and goal status and trend models as the “tailored” portion of your assessment, and use our ohicore R package for the final calculations.

3.3 Goals: modeling status and trend

Start with the ten goals in the global assessment; are they relevant?

See for details about what each goal represents, as well as examples from how goals were modeled in previous assessments.

Use the Planner Guide (Chapter ??) to help you think through and organize your thoughts and data.

3.4 Resilience

In the OHI, we think about resilience as the social, institutional, and ecological factors that positively affect the ability of a goal to be delivered to people.

To think about resilience, you will need to spend time exploring governance actions that have occurred within your assessment area (or at an even larger spatial scale, ex: nationally) that directly affected ocean policy and/or specific ocean pressures in your assessment area. The majority of the work will be looking up what legislation exists, how well it addresses specific ocean pressures, when it was introduced, and detailing the changes. This may also include gathering reports that document enforcement and compliance with key regulations or effectiveness metrics through time and space. Oftentimes, reports may be qualitative, which means there are no data. This means you may need to translate written reports into quantitative metrics, which you can do with your team and through discussions with local experts.

3.4.1 Types of Resilience

Similar to pressures, resilience will ultimately be included in an OHI assessment through the OHI Toolbox by having a data layer for each resilience measure, with information for each region within the study area.

Ideally, each pressure measured in the OHI should have a corresponding resilience measure, which is meant to ‘balance’ the pressures that negatively affect ocean health. The Ocean Health Index considers resilience in three categories:

  1. ecological integrity
  2. pressure-specific regulations aimed at addressing ecological pressures
  3. social integrity

The first two measures address ecological resilience while the third addresses social resilience. Ideally, for any resilience measure, you would have three tiers of information:

  • Existence of regulations: Are regulations in place to appropriately address the ecological pressure?
  • Implementation and enforcement: Have these regulations been appropriately implemented and are there enforcement mechanisms in place?
  • Effectiveness and compliance: How effective have the regulations been at mitigating these pressures and is there compliance with these regulations? Ecological integrity

Ecological integrity is about general resilience within the ecosystem. You will be looking for the qualities that make an ecosystem strong to anything that could happen to it. If your ecosystem was affected by something, how easily could it bounce back to anything? Pressure-specific regulations

Pressure-specific regulations are intended to address ecological pressures, and are measured as laws, regulations. Social integrity

Social integrity is about general resilience within the society You will be looking for the qualities that make a society strong to anything that could happen to it. So any metric of how stable a society is goes here. If your society got hit with something, how easily could it bounce back to anything?

3.4.2 How to begin

When you begin thinking about potential resilience metrics, you also need to think about whether data may be available. A good place to start is to see what data were used for other assessments, and see if you have better data in your region. For example, for social integrity the OHI Global assessment uses the World Bank’s World Governanace Indicators, do you have something better within your assessment area? In the US West Coast Assessment Like USWC did (and in BC Canada well-being).

When beginning a search for resilience metrics to counteract pressures to your system, there are three levels of questions you can ask yourself to begin to get to the heart of if regulations exist that address these pressures and how effective the implementation, enforcement, and compliance with these regulations is:

  1. Does a regulation exist that appropriately addresses a specific pressure?
  2. Is the regulation being appropriately complied with?
  3. Are there mechanisms in place supporting enforcement of the regulation?

Here are some specific questions you can begin to ask yourself when thinking about how to counter specific pressures (Pressure-specific regulations). In this spreadsheet we organize these questions around the pressures used in Global assessments, but these questions can be tailored to any number of pressures or groups of pressures depending on what is included in your own regional assessment.