Multiple performance indicators as standard to assess and quantify the ecological condition of a site
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Ecological sustainability focuses on the application of ecological principles to justify modifications to the environment to meet the human needs of present and future generations. Sustainability can only be achieved with responsible and reasonable decision-making practices in place to guide anthropogenic modifications of the environment to justify economic wealth and human well-being. The application of sound scientific knowledge is needed to set a standard for the use of natural resources responsibly. The right of every person including the rights of future generations to enjoy an environment, which is not harmful to his or her health and well-being, mandate all decision-makers to protect the environment. In practice, it means that one cannot manage what one cannot measure. Sustainable ecological management is possible only through measuring the ecological condition of a site. A need exists to report to be transparent about the successes of recovery. Ecological monitoring is suggested before and after development of a site, irrespective of the scale and impacts of development. This study proposes an index as standard and instrument for consistent assessment and measurement of the ecological condition of a site. Ecological principles and concepts recognise landscape features and attributes which were applied to list and assess 44 ecological landscape indicators by allocation of a rate and a weight value that is regarded as the basis of this site index. These multiple indicators represent measurable site attributes that capture complex qualitative and quantitative information and can be used as a practical standard method of benchmarking. Reliable scientific data are proposed to be used for integrated standard audit reports to determine and address environmental risk. A site was randomly selected to test the index and to compile a management report based on sound scientific data. The numeric score calculated by the index confirms that the assessment value differs from the ecological value communicated by the developer.