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OHI+ = Independent Assessments at Any Scale
OHI+ assessments are conducted by independent groups that use the Index approach to measure ocean health in their regions, countries, states, and communities. These assessments can be used by managers to incorporate local information and priorities at the spatial scale where policy and management decisions are made.
Independent assessments use the same framework as the global assessments, but allow for exploration of variables influencing ocean health at the smaller scales where policy and management decisions are made. Goal models and targets are created using higher resolution data, indicators, and priorities, which produce scores better reflecting local realities. This enables scientists, managers, policy makers, and the public to better and more holistically understand, track, and communicate the status of local marine ecosystems, and to design strategic management actions to improve overall ocean health.
WHY CONDUCT AN OHI+ ASSESSMENT?
The reasons for conducting an assessment vary from context to context. Perhaps you want to better understand ocean and coastal health in your region, or you are actively engaging in ecosystem-based management, or you are facilitating a multi-stakeholder collaborative planning and target setting process. Regardless of your reasons, conducting your own assessment will establish a baseline estimation of the status of ocean health in your study area, and use that information to determine how well you are meeting, exceeding, goal targets in certain indicators.
Assessments provide opportunity put in place a multi-stakeholder collaborative process. In our experiences engaging with various countries around the world, the most effective assessments are those where the process of conducting the assessment was just as valuable (if not more) than the final results. This is because the assessment process serves as a forum to engage stakeholders from multiple backgrounds (scientific, civil society, government, private sector, NGOs, etc.) to discuss local preferences and priorities, understand the interactions between various activities, and collaboratively establish management targets.
On the technical side, the process is also valuable because it allows the users to synthesize collections of data, scientific findings, and management efforts. An important theme throughout this process it to find metrics that are meaningful your area.
ExplorE OHI-SCIENCE.ORG TO GET STARTED
OHI-Science.org is the primary resource for Ocean Health Index (OHI) scientific information, tools, and instruction and provides access to freely-available data, methods and information on completed and ongoing OHI assessments. These resources can be used by anyone to lead independent OHI+ assessments.
Learn more at OHI-Science.org