About GEMS Social and Economic Metrics

Search Full Metrics List

Filter metrics by project type, socioeconomic outcomes, metric scale (project or program), tier (level of difficulty), and find measurement protocols for project scale metrics. Our list does not include biophysical or ecological metrics (see more on existing ecological monitoring guidance).

Search Full Metrics List

About Metrics

For each social and economic outcome, we identified a set of prioritized metrics that meet the SMARTs criteria (PDF) Our social and economic metrics include traditional economic market values (such as number of jobs created), benefit relevant indicators (length of shoreline with reduced erosion near public infrastructure), and distributional equity (whether all communities have equal access to the benefits). More information on measures of social and economic value that were not included.

Scale refers to the scope of the data collection.

magnifying glass

Project scale metrics could feasibly be measured and reported by individual projects.


Program scale metrics are for cumulative, regional scale results and often need to be measured or modeled for a suite of projects by a third party. Program scale measures can also be developed by aggregating project scale data.


Tier refers to the ease of data collection related to how much the relevant outcome changes due to the project. Measures of who is affected and how they are affected (included in the measurement protocols) are not classified in this way.

gauge pointing to first stop

Tier 1 metrics are relatively low-effort and easy to measure.

gauge pointing to second stop

Tier 2 metrics would require additional effort and expertise for data collection and/or analysis.

light bulb

Research and development (R&D) metrics are not fully established, or required data are not readily available.



A metric was identified for every outcome associated with a project type in the ecosystem service logic models. To provide a short list of metrics for consistency, comparison, and rolling up results, we identified a set of core metrics for each project category. Core metrics are strongly linked (likely to show a significant change due to the intervention) to at least half of the project types within a category.


Metric protocols provide methods and resources for quantifying


how much each metric changes after project implementation

group of people

who is affected by these changes


Measurement protocols are coming soon for all project-scale, tier 1 and tier 2 metrics. Developing measurement protocols for program-scale metrics was not within the scope of this project, but we explain how these types of metrics might be measured in the future.


For each measurement protocol, we have developed additional methods around equity that will help practitioners answer the following questions:

  1. To which communities is the project accessible, physically and otherwise?
  2. Are the services and disservices of the intervention available to all potentially affected groups?
  3. How are benefits distributed across communities of concern and underrepresented groups?

For each metric, we recommend using a combination of several methodologies, depending on the project type or metric of interest. These methods include identifying community demographics, integrating equity questions into existing surveys, hosting workshops and focus groups, and engaging in community and participatory mapping. There are other equity considerations that are not addressed by the GEMS resources – see other equity considerations.

Considering and delivering equity in the context of environmental management interventions is multifaceted, and can include both the process and the outcomes of intervention. For our work, we focus on the outcomes of the intervention. As such, equity refers to both access to and distribution of projects, resources, support, empowerment, or other benefits in such a way that individuals or groups that are most in need receive the necessary support for attaining and maintaining well-being. Likewise, equity includes the distribution of costs in such a way that there is not an unnecessary or disproportionate burden placed on any group, and especially marginalized populations.


Image credits: The Noun Project: Fithratul Hafizd - magnifying glass; Karl Schaeffler - binoculars; Icons Bazaar - gauges; Maxim Kulikov - light bulb; chappara - ruler; Oksana Laysheva - people.