Managing our Natural Resources

Hey everyone, I read a good article on ecosystem management and thought it would tie into several of the main themes of 509. This paper is about how we manage ecosystems and the changes in our management styles and approaches that have taken place over the years. This article applies to many of the topics we have covered this semester and pushes our way of thinking more toward the idea of sustainability in regards to our natural resources.

One more thing that applies to this article and 509 in general. I was presenting at the Midwest Fish and Wildlife conference a few days ago and thought they came up with a pretty interesting idea for the theme of the conference that fits well here "Limited Resources, Unlimited Potential." Just an interesting idea that can challenge our way of thinking.

Introduction: Ecosystem management is a difficult topic, because different people define it in different ways.
There are consistent elements—systems thinking, deeper understanding of complex and dynamic ecological/social systems, more consideration of different space/time scales, ecological boundaries, adaptive management for uncertainty, and collaborative decision making; however, the decision makers operate and value them differently.
The movement advances in spite of this disagreement, and the lack of national consensus allows different groups to make experiments which have shown success, and striving for some ecosystem approach is better than nothing.
Some approaches to ecosystem management:
1. Environmentally sensitive multiple use: satisfies many human needs, but acknowledges the need to respect the environment’s limits to keep those needs fulfilled in the long run
2. Ecosystem approach to research management: work with understanding of systems, and focus on health and integrity, usually of segments of the ecosystem, such as particular wildlife populations
3. Ecoregional management: focuses on maintaining health of the ecosystem of a land, such as plants, water, etc.
Also mentions old prevailing managements focusing on output—dominant, which focuses on one human need and the maximum yield, and multiple management, which focuses on multiple needs and maintaining a continuous yield, and contrasts the other three with these. The former of these two was the norm for many years and the latter in much of the 20th century, and in some way those still prevail today. Some thinkers espoused at least one of the three time to time, and they are appearing more and more lately.
Yaffee indicates that your background and conception of the definition of ecosystem management has a huge influence on how you handle ecosystem management. You background can hinder your thinking to look at all areas of ecosystem management prohibiting one to completely understand the entire concept. This is another reason why multiple people with different areas are needed in developing an ecosystem management plan to make sure that you are doing your best to cover the continuum.
It’s important to know the different ways to think of ecosystem management to understand your ways of thinking and those of others, and understand why we think them. Then, we can apply them to our daily practices, and the policies we hope to adopt within all areas of the ecosystem management paradigm. We also need a good balance of time to understand the difficulty and figure something out and be able to act.

Citation: Yaffee, Steven L. Three Faces of Ecosystem Management. Conservation Biology, Pages 713-725. Volume 13. No. 4. August 1999.

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