California Department of Fish and Wildlife

What is the Driver-Linkage-Outcome (DLO) Approach?

The fundamental approach employed through the DRERIP conceptual model development effort is a “driver-linkage-outcome” approach that uses deterministic models of ecosystem components linked together with cause-and-effect relationships of interacting variables and outcomes.

  • Drivers are physical, chemical, or biological forces that control the species or system of interest.
  • Linkages are cause-and-effect relationships between drivers and outcomes.
  • Outcomes are response variables (such as reproductive success, growth, and mortality) that the conceptual model is attempting to explain. In the context of the DRERIP species conceptual models, "ultimate" outcomes reflect population or system-level responses to drivers.

The diagram below show a simple example of a driver-linkage-outcome conceptual model showing only one driver (nutrients) and one outcome (plant growth).

driver-linkage-outcome diagram

Figure 1. Conceptual model approach – Driver - Linkage - Outcome.