An assessment tool for sub-catchment to catchment scale indicators of sustainability a case study in south west Victoria, Australia
Anneke Juliana Richards and Anne M. Wallis, Deakin University, Australia
Sustainability and sustainable development have become extremely significant concepts in recent years. Considering the amount of research on the concepts the fact that there are no accepted standard methods for measuring system sustainability is a deficiency. If there is no way of measuring sustainability, there is no way of knowing whether sustainable development strategies are working. This lack of standard methods is mainly due to the complex nature of sustainable development, requiring incorporation of social, economic, environmental and institutional sub-systems. Assessments need to focus on interactions between sub-systems that reflect system processes and need to investigate influences of changing spatial scale on them. Previous research has been dominated by the use of indicators to aid assessment. Despite this there have been limited studies focusing on interactions between indicators or the effects of changing spatial scale on them.

The research reported in this paper represents an attempt to produce a practical, indicator-based sustainability assessment tool incorporating all these elements is based on relationships between indicators determined considering spatial influences. Through the use of an existing sustainability indicator set and data currently available, relationships will be determined using Arcview Geographic Information Systems (GIS), correlation analysis and Principal Component Analysis (PCA). Indicator interactions will be identified at two spatial scales and compared to determine impacts of changing spatial scale. Further PCA and multiple regression analyses will then be used to reduce the complexity of the indicator set. These findings will be incorporated into a practical indicator-based assessment tool through the adoption of the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) combined with GIS techniques that will then be validated. Once validated the tool can be used to aid in guiding planning and decision-making regarding sustainable development in the Glenelg Hopkins catchment, Victoria; while also moving towards producing a standard set of procedures for assessing sustainability.

View Full Paper in PDF FORMAT