Indicators of Ecological Integrity

  • Marc SchallenbergEmail author
  • Mary D. de Winton
  • David J. Kelly


Freshwater Ecological Integrity (EI) incorporates the concepts of ecosystem “health”, unimpaired structure, composition and function and a capacity for self-renewal and, as such, it is a holistic advance over standard water quality metrics for assessing lake condition. In the New Zealand freshwater context, EI has been defined as a composite of nativeness, pristineness, diversity and resilience to perturbations. Measurable lake attributes have been proposed and calibrated against pre-impaired “reference” conditions for different lake types. Related to EI, LakeSPI (Submerged Plant Indicator) also assesses lake ecological condition and has been calibrated for a wide range of New Zealand lakes. These EI approaches are thus able to measure departures from reference conditions (or other defined endpoints) and for all these reasons, EI approaches are beneficial for setting lake restoration goals or targets and for tracking the success and progress of restoration activities. Recently, EI approaches have been making inroads with regard to environmental policy and monitoring. This chapter discusses the current development and future possibilities for using EI to help restore degraded lakes.


Anthropogenic pressures Reference state Attributes Multimetric LakeSPI 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marc Schallenberg
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mary D. de Winton
    • 2
  • David J. Kelly
    • 3
  1. 1.University of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand
  2. 2.National Institute of Water and Atmospheric ResearchHamiltonNew Zealand
  3. 3.Cawthron InstituteNelsonNew Zealand

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