Measuring progress toward sustainability goals is a multifaceted task. International,
regional, and national organizations and agencies seek to promote resilience
and capacity for adaptation at local levels. However, their measurement systems may
be poorly aligned with local contexts, cultures, and needs. Understanding how to build
effective, culturally grounded measurement systems is a fundamental step toward supporting
adaptive management and resilience in the face of environmental, social, and
economic change. To identify patterns and inform future efforts, we review seven case
studies and one framework regarding the development of culturally grounded indicator
sets. Additionally, we explore ways to bridge locally relevant indicators and those of
use at national and international levels. The process of identifying and setting criteria
for appropriate indicators of resilience in social-ecological systems needs further documentation,
discussion, and refinement, particularly regarding capturing feedbacks
between biological and social-cultural elements of systems.
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