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Ecosystem Management Approach

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by Jennifer Dever on 17 November 2013

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Transcript of Ecosystem Management Approach

Ecosystem Management Approach
E. A. - HOLISTIC Conservation influenced by Leopold:
Ecosystem Management is Challenging!
What is an ecosystem? "leaky" boundaries
What information should be collected, and how should it be interpreted?
The need for a unified vision - Who is in charge?
Conflicting interests among stakeholders.
Translational Scientists are a MUST! INFORMED policy!
Adaptive management is the Key!
Hallmarks of the Ecosystem Approach:
Includes the whole system, and not just parts of it
Considers the effects of activities on adjacent ecosystems
Based on a broad spatial and temporal scale
Recognizes that change is inevitable
Focuses on interrelationships among the components of the environment and between living and non-living things
Includes consideration of the natural environment, society and economy & emphasizes collaborative decision making
Is based on natural geographic units (defined by ecological boundaries) such as watersheds
Incorporates the concepts of sustainability & uses adaptive management
Management unit = whole ecosystem
Time Scale = long term

Ecosystem Approach - a better way
Recognizes the interrelated nature of air, land, water and all living beings rather than geopolitical boundaries and departmental divisions.
Calls for creative partnerships that look at natural boundaries, such as watersheds, as the unit of management.
E.A. endorsed at the fifth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CoP 5 in Nairobi, Kenya; May 2000) as the primary framework for action under the Convention.

Natural Processes are Part of Ecosystem Management
Management must protect ecological processes that determine the characteristics of the ecosystem

Old way - influenced by Pinchot:
Federal land use – value/protect only part of the ecosystem as a resource
Treat populations as commodities within ecosystems
Manipulate processes of ecosystems to boost desired species’ populations
Management UNIT = Individual species (or subset)
Separate Agencies manage separate populations
US Forest service, manage specific tree populations
US Fish & Wildlife, manage various animal populations
Does NOT consider the abiotic component
Management goals based on a short time scale

Number of threatened species too high
Optimizing for one species may create poor habitat for others
Less valuable species go unnoticed
Source/scope of problems outside a single agency’s jurisdiction
Difficult to get broad base support for local resources


why the old way doesn't work:

Ecosystem management considers humans and all living components as one interacting system
No one problem or issue can be isolated from the rest of the system
Seeks sustainable human use
Management should be decentralized to the lowest point possible
Emphasizes interaction between stakeholders


1. Treats a specified ecological system as the fundamental unit to be managed
2. Has a desired outcome of assuring the persistence of structure, function, products and services of the system
3. Uses naturally occurring, landscape-scale processes
4. Determines management objectives through cooperative decision making
Tenets of Ecosystem Management
– saw the land as a system of interdependent processes and he believed in enlightened management that focused on managing ecological processes, not individual populations
Sustainable management at an ecosystem level will only succeed when human welfare & economic considerations are taken into account
Economic considerations must not prevent good ecological stewardship & also, institutions cannot be too rigid…

WHO is a STAKEHOLDER?
People who want to or should be involved in a decision or action because they have some interest or stake in it, they:
Have a real or perceived interest in the resource, its use, its protection
Are dependent on a resource
Have a belief that management decisions will directly or indirectly affect them
Pay for the decision
Are in a position of authority to review the decisions

SUCCESSION
DISTURBANCE
Fire
Flooding
Herbivory & Predation
There is an impact of established species upon their environments…causes changes in environmental conditions.
Succession: series of progressive changes in an area with one community replacing the other until a climax community is created.

Habitat heterogeneity
Species diversity
Nutrient uptake
Nutrient loss from soil
Erosion and surface runoff
Stream flow rates
Establishment of early successional species

Disturbance Impacts
Regulate habitat, energy flow, nutrient cycling, plant nutrition
prevent vertical development, reduce litter and soil nutrients
Remove biomass, expand plant root zones
Create openings
Increase compaction of soil

HERBIVORES & PREDATORS: small scale disturbance agents
"Land-use change in the unprotected part of the ecosystem may disrupt ecological function and biodiversity within the protected area"
(from Hansen et al., 2011)
Hansen et al. 2011
native sawgrass blooms after fire
post rim-fire, Yosemite
Can affect species abundance/composition
Many keystone species are predators, and help maintain community structure

Role of Nongovernmental Organizations
Raise funds from private sources
Conduct research and monitoring
Build capacity for conservation work
Educate the public
Pressure public leaders to support conservation
Purchase/secure habitat
Build Consensus about conservation strategies and actions
Engage in litigation to force conservation action
Finance public campaigns in support of conservation legislation or public funding
Adaptive Management
Employs structured process of learning by doing
Design, manage & monitor projects so that managers can learn from actions
Scientific Approach
Follow-up monitoring (one region), using feedback to influence future actions
Controlled replicates (multiple regions/plots)
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