You are here
Integrated Ecosystem-Based Management
How does it work?
Ecosystem-based management is a framework for developing effective management plans based on an accepted set of guiding principles. An ecosystem-based management plan should:
- Emphasize the health of the whole ecosystem ahead of the concerns of special interests;
- Be focused on a particular place, with boundaries that are scientifically defined;
- Account for the ways in which things or actions in that place affect each other;
- Consider the way things or actions in this place can influence or be influenced by things or actions on land (like dams or fertilizers in the watershed), in the air (like air pollution), or in different parts of the ocean (like fishing or oil spills); and
- Integrate the concerns of the environment, society, the economy and our institutions.
These guiding principles and some of the underlying structure of this Web site are based on the 2005 Scientific Consesnsus Statement on Marine Ecosystem-based Management and updated peer-reviewed publications.
How is ecosystem-based management different?
Ecosystem-based management is a long-term, integrated approach that recognizes humans are part of and have significant influences on their environments. It is a shift away from conventional management paradigms that are often jurisdictional, short term and consider humans to be independent of nature. An ecosystem-based management plan includes adaptive management strategies and trade-offs, whether between ecosystem services, management strategies or other components of the plan, that are made as explicitly as possible.
Below are resources to assist practitioners with taking an ecosystem-based approach to terrestrial and marine management in the context of protected area network design and implementation. Ecosystem-based management is a realtively new field and much of the literature is recent and still emerging. Recent publications for marine protected areas (MPAs) provide guidance on creating MPA networks to achieve multiple objectives (e.g., fisheries and biodiversity). In the terrestrial field, a recent publication entitled Pacific Integrated Island Management provides excellent guidance for maximising effectiveness of integrated island management.
A Community-based Approach to Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management; a Guide for Pacific Island Countries
Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC). 2010. A Community-based Approach to Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management; a Guide for Pacific Island Countries. Noumea, New Caledonia.
These guidelines are intended to help communities, government agencies and non-governmental organisations in Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) work together to develop and implement community-owned fisheries management plans for a designated area. Although the guide covers all types of management, community-based fishery management areas are essentially all types of protected areas.
Biophysical Principles for Designing Resilient Networks of Marine Protected Areas to Integrate Fisheries Biodiversity and Climate Change Objectives in The Coral Triangle
Fernandes, L, Green, A., Tanzer, J., White, A., Alino,P.M., Jompa, J., Lokani, P., Soemodinoto,A., Knight, M., Pomeroy, B., Possingham, H., Pressey, B. 2012. Biophysical Principles for Designing Resilient Networks of Marine Protected Areas to Integrate Fisheries Biodiversity and Climate Change Objectives in The Coral Triangle. Report prepared by The Nature Conservancy for the Coral Triangle Support Partnership.
Designing Marine Protected Area Networks to Achieve Fisheries Biodiversity and Climate Change Objectives in Tropical Ecosystems: A Practitioners Guide
Green, A., White, A., Kilarski, S. (Eds.) 2013. Designing Marine Protected Area Networks to Achieve Fisheries Biodiversity and Climate Change Objectives in Tropical Ecosystems: A Practitioners Guide. The Nature Conservancy, and the USAID Coral Triangle Support Partnership, Cebu City, Philippines.
This guide provides a set of biophysical principles to help practitioners design networks of marine protected areas to achieve fisheries sustainability, biodiversity conservation and ecosystem resilience in the face of climate change. The document refers to and draws upon much of the latest scientific evidence concerning fisheries and protected area design.
The Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) Tools Network is a premier source of information about planning and management tools in the United States and internationally. Its mission is to promote healthy ecosystems and communities through the use of tools that help incorporate ecosystem-based thinking into management decisions.
FAO Technical Guidelines for Fisheries Management. 2011. Fisheries Management, Marine Protected Areas and Fisheries. FAO, UN, Rome, Italy.
These guidelines were developed to provide guidance on the use of marine protected areas (MPAs) in the context of fisheries. They look specifically at fisheries features of MPAs, but also address the interface between fisheries management and biodiversity conservation and provide support for MPAs with multiple objectives.
Island Innovations: Leveraging the Environment for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States
Small Island Developing States are pioneering integrated and inclusive approaches to sustainable development through comprehensive ridge-to-reef approaches that address the ‘whole island’ issues of conserving land, water and ocean resources while adapting to climate change, enhancing local capacity and generating economic growth.
Mainstreaming ecosystem services and biodiversity into agricultural production and management in the Pacific Islands
The document introduces best practices for integrating biodiversity and ecosystem services into agriculture for the Pacific region, including: diversification and integration of farming systems (cropping,
agro-forestry and agro-silvipastoral systems); strengthening resilience of production systems and landscapes to the adverse effects of climate change or pest outbreaks; soil biodiversity to enhance soil health, nutrient transformation, soil decontamination, climate regulation; and ecological management to minimise chemical use. It also links ecotourism and agricultural zones to support environmental protection and