The DPSIR framework has been adopted by the European Environment Agency. It is a general framework for organising information about state of the environment by identifying:

  • Driving forces: elements that have an influence on the system and that we cannot easily change (e.g. climate change, growth population)
  • Pressures: Human activities (e.g. urban development, tourism)
  • State of the environment: Changes actually observed (e.g. shift in ecology)
  • Impacts: Direct and indirect consequences of the pressures (e.g. loss of biodiversity)
  • Responses: actions or measures implemented to avoid the negative impacts or take advantage of new opportunities (e.g. new management measures)

Once the DPSIR elements are identified, they need to be linked. Thereby, the DPSIR is a useful tool to represent the cause-effect relationships between interacting components of social, economic, and environmental systems. This framework can encourage and support decision-making by pointing to the steps where it is possible to act to improve the situation (e.g. take new management measures, create partnerships).


For additional information

From Turner, R. K., Lorenzoni, I., Beaumont, N., Bateman, I. J., Langford, I. H.and McDonald, A. L., 1998. Coastal management for sustainable development: analysing environmental and socioeconomic changes on the UK coast. The Geographical Journal, 3: 164.

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