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Biodiversity indicators help us measure and monitor a) pressures or threats, such as trends in land and water use, habitat loss or invasive species, b) the state of species and ecosystems, such as the health of species or integrity of ecosystems, c) the conservation response, such as the protection of important biodiversity areas, and/or d) benefits to people, such as the ecosystem services that freshwater provides. Fine scale indicators may be developed to inform local decisions on the ground, such as determining the degree to which restoration or management practices are working. Broad scale indicators that aggregate information may be developed to report on the benefits of national environmental policy and conservation investments.

A rough-skinned newt (Taricha granulosa) in Opal Creek Wilderness, Oregon. The condition of amphibian populations can often be an important indicator of freshwater ecosystem health. Photo by Dave Huth.