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Constituents of Well-being

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              constituents of well-being are the aspects of human well-being that are improved 
              through the use of ecosystem services or the knowledge that these services exist 

'Constituents of Well-being' in the context of the Framework is the term given to the different aspects of human well-being that people experience through the use or knowledge of ecosystem services. People value ecosystem services because they contribute positively to their lives in terms of these different constituents. Both how, and how much, people value (different) ecosystem services influences the ways in which people manage, or fail to properly manage ecosystem service provision. Much of how people value ecosystem services is based upon their perceptions, and frequently people are unaware of the ways ecosystem services may be benefiting them.

SEQ stakeholders favoured determining the value of ecosystem services in terms of the constituents of well-being (COWB) of the SEQ community. The COWB approach, rather than monetary valuations, is adopted in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA), on which the Framework is based. Stakeholders considered that many ecosystem services are not easily valued in monetary terms. For example, what is the monetary value of 'Effect on Social Interactions' or 'Spiritual and Religious Values'. Monetary values for ecosystem services are typically assumed by economists to depend on people’s 'willingness to pay' for their provision or prevention of loss. But such expressions of value depend at the same time on people’s ability to pay as well as their willingness to pay. The values and priorities of households with limited incomes therefore do not count as meaningfully as those of wealthy households.

For the purposes of the Framework, 15 COWB, dependent on ecosystem services, have been specified and described, providing a comprehensive view of how ecosystem services contribute to the well-being of individuals and the SEQ community. The inventory of COWB was developed from a number of sources, including expert advice from social scientists and work published by the MA, Abraham Maslow, Manfred Max-Neef, Robert Costanza and others. Consistent with the MA, these constituents have been grouped under 5 Categories of well-being. They are listed and described in Table 1.

Table 1: Well-being Categories and descriptions.

Well-being Category Description 
Existence  The basic materials for life.
Health  The capacity to cope with change.
Security  The ability to cope with constant change at variable rates.
Good Social Relations  The achievement of collective benefits at acceptable costs.
Freedom of Choice and Action  The ability to choose who, where, what, when and why.

The magnitude of contribution different ecosystem services make to different COWB vary. Participants in the Expert Panels were asked to score (on a scale of 0 - 5) the magnitude of the contribution each ecosystem service makes to each COWB relative to the contribution made by other ecosystem services. For example, a score of 5 suggests an ecosystem service contributes strongly to a specified COWB relative to other ecosystem services, whereas a score of 0 suggests no connection between the two. More information on the scoring system can be obtained under About the Framework. The complete matrices showing the scores are located in the Quick Index. Users of this information should also be familiar with the information in Framework Boundaries and Key Principles. The full inventory of COWB is presented in Table 2. By clicking on the name of any constituent, more information can be obtained, such as how and to what extent each ecosystem service contributes to that COWB.   

Table 2: Lists and descriptions of constituents of well-being.

Well-being Category
Constituent of
Well-being
Description
Existence Breathing Humans require air to breathe.
Drinking Humans require sufficient water to survive.
Nutrition Humans require sufficient nutritious food to survive.
Shelter Humans require shelter from the elements such as wind, rain, cyclones, the sun and fire.
Health Physical Health Physical health is the general condition of a person - to be free from illness, injury or pain. Physical health is required to manage morbidity and live a fuller life. 
Mental Health Mental health describes a level of psychological well-being. It is related to possessing a 'sense of self' within a social context. It includes spiritual well-being and retaining a sense of vitality, feeling well and happy.
Security Secure and Continuous Supply of Services The capacity of a system to continue to provide the ecosystem services necessary for an acceptable level of human well-being now and into the future - includes quantity, quality and sustainability. This relates to the resilience of an ecosystem to ecological and anthropocentric shocks or stresses such as drought, floods, pests, nutrient loads, harvesting etc.
Security of Person Humans need to feel free from bodily harm. The provision of a safe environment - protected from natural disasters and from social conflict.
Security of Health Freedom from disease, hunger and from psychological disturbances. The capacity for humans to cope (mentally and physically) with impacts resulting from changes in the provision of ecosystem services (includes prevention as well as cure).
Secure Access to Services Securing access to ecosystem services is required for consumptive purposes, food production, development, employment and sanitation, proximity of service to the individual/community and how easily the service can be physically accessed and transported.
Security of Property The provision of a safe environment to support man-made structures and other assets - property protection from natural disasters and social conflicts e.g. safe harbours to moor boats; protection of property from land slides, storms, winds, waves; protection of livelihoods (e.g. farming, plantations) from drought and floods.
Good Social Relations Family Cohesion Family cohesion refers to the relationships and operational links between individuals who recognise each other as part of the same family unit. The 'avoidance of tensions and conflicts over a declining resource base, opportunities to observe and learn from nature, the ability to express cultural and spiritual values' and the ability to participate in nature based activities is important to family cohesion.
Community and Social Cohesion Community and social cohesion refers to the relationships and operational links between groups, cultures and communities. It is related to feelings such as having a sense of community, belonging to a larger group, altruism, friendship and mutual respect. The 'avoidance of tensions and conflicts over a declining resource base, opportunities to observe and learn from nature, the ability to express cultural and spiritual values' and the ability to participate in nature based activities is important to community and social cohesion.
Freedom of Choice and Action Social and Economic Freedom The ability of society and the individual to meet their physical and psychological desires, extending beyond those of simply existing.
Self Actualisation Self-actualisation is the quest to become the best you can be. It involves deciding what you want from life and then doing what is necessary to get what you want. Self actualisation is an ongoing process that both requires and improves personal creativity, innovation and identity (which in turn is often expressed in artistic, technological and scientific creativity, innovation and identity for a community, business or organisation). It requires a sense of self, self esteem and meaning and purpose of life. Self-actualisation empowers an individual to freely make choices and partake in actions that can strongly influence decisions regarding ecosystem services and wellbeing.

In order to prioritise ecosystem services in terms of their contribution to the well-being of the SEQ community, Experts were asked to score (on a scale of 1 - 10) the relative importance of each COWB relative to other COWB. The ranking of COWB, in terms of their importance to the well-being of the SEQ community, based on the scores provided by the Experts, is shown in Table 3 below. A ‘mean’ is the arithmetic average of a set of scores, calculated as the total score divided by the number of scores provided. ‘Standard deviation’ measures the dispersion of the scores around the mean value. In the case of developing the Framework, it indicates how closely the Experts agreed when providing the relevant scores. A low number indicates a high degree of agreement, whereas a higher number indicates less agreement. 

 

Table 3: The relative importance of constituents of well-being to the well-being of the SEQ community.

Constituent of Well-being Mean Score Standard Deviation Priority Order

Breathing

 10

 0.00

 1

Drinking

 10

 0.26

 2

Nutrition

 10

 0.92

 3

Shelter

 9

1.87

 4

Physical Health

 8

2.29

 5

Mental Health

 7

1.50

 6

Secure and Continuous Supply of Services

 7

2.58

 7

Security of Health

 7

2.17

 8

Security of Person

 6

1.67

 9

Community and Social Cohesion

 6

2.36 

 10

Secure Access to Services

 6

2.70

 11

Family Cohesion

 5

 2.29

 12

Security of Property

 5

 2.59

 13

Social and Economic Freedom

 5

 2.79

 14

Self Actualisation

 3

 3.17

 15

It is recognised that the values of (different) ecosystem services to different individuals or socio-economic groups may  vary across SEQ both demographically and spatially. For example, residents who have lived in SEQ longer may have different perceptions and values towards some ecosystem services than to others, as well there might be differences across age groups. Also, it is possible residents in the western catchments (primarily the rural/agricultural areas of SEQ) may have different perceptions and values towards some ecosystem services than those in the eastern catchments (primarily urban/coastal residents). Although all humans may have similar attitudes and values towards the same basic constituents, the MA states that the well-being experienced by humans at any given time and location is "situation-dependent reflecting local geography, culture, and ecological circumstances". A series of community and Traditional Owner workshops are planned for each of the sub-regions in SEQ to accommodate regional and demographic differences and adapt the Framework to capture the relevant ecosystem service values. This information will be incorporated in the website at a later stage.