Regional sustainability is an important focus for natural resource management. Measuring how social and economic systems are progressing to sustainability is therefore a critical need. But it is dependent upon the development of analytical and methodological tools to measure progress, particularly, we argue, at the regional level. Achieving sustainability at the regional scale is important since it's at this scale where social institutions and ecological functioning are most closely linked. However, our recent study that evaluated the effectiveness of current sustainability assessment methods at the regional scale found methods developed for the global, national and state scales are not entirely effective at assessing sustainability at this spatial scale. Following on from this critique, we developed and tested a new method for assessing sustainability, which we believe is applicable at the regional scale. The framework, Sustaining Human Carrying Capacity (SHCC), evaluates the sustainability of regional human activities by considering the pressures these activities have on regional ecosystems. SHCC was tested and evaluated at the regional scale, demonstrating its potential to be an effective method for monitoring sustainability. It also has potential to be used to inform the community and decision makers about the sustainability of their region, and help guide strategic planning to progress sustainability.
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