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Developing a System of Sustainability Indicators for the Lake Balaton Region

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Developing a System of Sustainability Indicators for the Lake Balaton Region

Lake Balaton has a long history of scientific research and monitoring, making it one of the best studied lakes in the world. Although this may be the case, the abundance of scientific data is in stark contrast with the paucity of systematized, regularly updated trend information available to the general public and decision-makers in an easy-to-access format. Information is not only scattered across countless agencies, often it is available only after paying a considerable fee. The purpose of creating this paper was to describe how an indicators system is created and used as a platform to compare environmental, economic and social trends in an environmentally sensitive area with heavy dependence on tourism. Compiling cross-cutting datasets presents a variety of problems: there are many data gaps, few consistent time series and the data (collected at considerable expense) are frequently left to sit in formats that make it useless except to the most dedicated experts. This greatly limits comprehensive analyses between economic, social and environmental domains. Republished with permission of the Hungarian Journal of Landscape Ecology.