Measures, Scores, and Trends

The first graph here shows the qualities, questions, indicators, and measures used in wilderness character monitoring at the USDA Forest Service. Qualities of wilderness character on the left are paired with one or more monitoring questions, which in turn are answered by one or more indicators, each with one or more trendable measures.

Measures represented by a filled black circle are required for all wilderness areas. When an indicator has a group of measures represented by hollow black circles, one or more of these measures is required. Measures represented by a hollow grey circle are optional. Lastly, measures represented by a filled grey circle (down at the bottom) are required where relevant.

In addition to these 28 standard measures, a wilderness area may use a custom measure to capture trends based on other available data. In most cases we don't use every possible measure to represent an indicator.

Imagining that some wilderness area has selected a subset of measures for analysis, we redraw our graph to show the selected measures and their scores. Measures are now on the left, and these flow into the indicators, which answer the questions, which finally inform the qualities of wilderness character on the right.

Measure icons now indicate the selection status and trend score for the measure. Selected measures will have a color icon to indicate an upward, stable, or downward reported trend. Unselected measures are shown as hollow grey circles.

Trend scores are summed at each level to get a positive, zero, or negative value for the parent indicator, question, or quality. Magnitude of summed trends is not considered -- two downward trends sum to a downward trend, not a 'double downward'.

Our theoretical wilderness area here shows one upward, one downward, and three stable scores for the five qualities on the right side of the graph. These scores sum to zero (1 + -1 + 0 + 0 + 0 = 0), so wilderness character is neither increasing or decreasing based on these measures.