Index and Indicators

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Index and Indicators

he integrity of an ecosystem is typically assessed through its ability to provide goods and services on a continuous basis. Together with the air we breathe, the provision of clean water is arguably the most fundamental service provided by ecosystems. Yet, human activities have fundamentally altered inland water ecosystems and their catchments. As a consequence species dependant on inland waters are more likely to go extinct, and future extinction rates of freshwater animals could be up to 5 times higher than for terrestrial animals.

Water quality refers to the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of a water body. These characteristics determine how and for what water can be used and the species and ecosystem process it can support.

An index published monthly by the Conference Board used to predict the direction of the economy’s movements in the months to come. The index is made up of 10 economic components, whose changes tend to precede changes in the overall economy. These 10 components include:

1. the average weekly hours worked by manufacturing workers
2. the average number of initial applications for unemployment insurance
3. the amount of manufacturers’ new orders for consumer goods and materials
4. the speed of delivery of new merchandise to vendors from suppliers
5. the amount of new orders for capital goods unrelated to defense
6. the amount of new building permits for residential buildings
7. the S&P 500 stock index
8. the inflation-adjusted monetary supply (M2)
9. the spread between long and short interest rates
10. consumer sentiment

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