Ecosystem Management

In this chapter, you will learn:
  1. 1.

    What ecosystem management is

  2. 2.

    How and why the concept of ecosystem management developed

  3. 3.

    The scientific basis of ecosystem management

  4. 4.

    Methods of implementing ecosystem management and what they can accomplish


One definition of an ecosystem is all the organisms in a given area interacting with the physical environment so that a flow of energy leads to trophic structure, biotic diversity, and material cycles (Odum 1971). Put simply, ecosystems are energy- and nutrient-processing systems with physical structures and functions that circulate matter and distribute energy. Although the ecosystem concept dates to the early twentieth century, the idea of managing ecosystems is relatively new. Of all modern efforts in conservation, none has proven more elusive in definition or more controversial in implementation than “ecosystem management.” As conservationist Michael Bean wrote, “rarely has a concept gone so directly from obscurity to meaninglessness without any intervening period of coherence” (Bean 1997). Less cynically but not more optimistically, Berry et al. (1998) noted that, “No single operational definition of ecosystem management exists, although its basic principles are understood.”


Geographic Information System Ecosystem Management Great Yellowstone Ecosystem Isle Royale Wallabia Bicolor 
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