Pressure-State-Response Framework: Basic Components

One possible diagram for the PSR framework is shown in the previous page. An alternative diagram illustrating the same relationships is shown here.

The PSR framework lays out the basic relationships amongst:

Source: Capacity building for integrated environmental assessment and reportingPressure

These are often classified into underlying factors or forces such as population growth, consumption or poverty. The pressures on the environment are often considered from a policy perspective as the starting point for tackling environmental issues, and, from an indicator viewpoint when they are perhaps more readily available for analysis since they can be derived from socio-economic, environmental and other monitiring databases.


The state refers to the condition of the environment that results from the above pressures, e.g. the levels of air pollution, land degratation or deforestation.  The staste of the environment will, in turn, affect human health and well-being as well as the socio-economic fabric of society.  For example, increased land degradation will lead to one or a combination of the following: decreased food production, increased food imports, increased fertilizer use, malnutrition, etc.  It is important to have an understanding of both the State of the Environment as well as the indirect effects. Indicators of state should be designed to be responsive to the pressures and at the same time facilitate corrective action.


The response component of the PSR framework relates to the actions taken by society either individually or collectivly, that are designed to ease or prevent negative environmental impacts, to correct existing damage, or to conserve natural resources. These responses may include regulatory action, environmental or research expenditure, public opinion and consumer preference, changes in management strategies, and the provision of environmental information. Responses should be designed to act on the pressures but may at the same time also have an impact modifying the indicators of state.


Pinter, L., Cressman, D.R. & Zahedi, K. (1999). Capacity Building for Integrated Environmental Assessment and Reporting: Training Manual. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) & Ecologistics International Ltd.   Click here to view this document in Acrobat format  (2412 KB)

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