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The human ecosystem model presented in an accompanying article in this issue (Machlis et al. 1997) has several applications. One such application is as an organizing concept in selecting social indicators for ecosystem management. This article describes a contemporary example of such an application using the Upper Columbia River Basin (UCRB). Social indicators are statistics that can be collected over time and used for policy and management. The human ecosystem model provides a rationale for selecting specific social indicators to assess socioeconomic conditions.
Approaches to natural resource management are often based on a presumed ability to predict probabilistic responses to management and external drivers such as climate. They also tend to assume that the manager is outside the system being managed. However, where the objectives include long-term sustainability, linked social-ecological systems (SESs) behave as complex adaptive systems, with the managers as integral components of the system. This paper presents an evolving approach to analyzing resilience in SESs, as a basis for managing resilience. We propose a framework with four steps, involving close involvement of SES stakeholders.
Emerging recognition of two fundamental errors under-pinning past polices for natural resource issues heralds awareness of the need for a worldwide fundamental change in thinking and in practice of environmental management. The first error has been an implicit assumption that ecosystem responses to human use are linear, predictable and controllable. The second has been an assumption that human and natural systems can be treated independently.
As the magnitude of human impacts on the ecological systems of the planet becomes apparent, there is increased realization of the intimate connections between these systems and human health, the economy, social justice, and national security. The concept of what constitutes “the environment” is changing rapidly. Urgent and unprecedented environmental and social changes challenge scientists to define a new social contract. New fundamental research, faster and more effective transmission of new and existing knowledge to policy- and decision-makers, and better communication of this knowledge to the public will all be required to meet this challenge.
A critical challenge in supporting climate change adaptation is improving the linkage between climate-impacts and vulnerability research and public and private planning and management decisions. We highlight the need for bottom-up/top-down vulnerability assessment, bringing together bottom-up knowledge of existing vulnerabilities with top-down climate-impact projections, as a transparent basis for informing decisions intended to reduce vulnerability.
We explore the social dimension that enables adaptive ecosystem-based management. The review concentrates on experiences of adaptive governance of social-ecological systems during periods of abrupt change (crisis) and investigates social sources of renewal and reorganization.
This paper describes the evolution of a general group decision making or negotiation support procedure for water resources planning at a strategic level (such as regional development planning), based on principles of multicriteria decision analysis.
Understanding the social dimensions of conservation opportunity is crucial for conservation planning in multiple-use landscapes. However, factors that influence the feasibility of implementing conservation actions, such as the history of landscape management, and landholders’ willingness to engage are often difficult or time consuming to quantify and rarely incorporated into planning. We examined how conservation agencies could reduce costs of acquiring such data by developing predictive models of management feasibility parameterized with social and biophysical factors likely to influence landholders’ decisions to engage in management.
These toolboxes are a compilation of resources on current issues in wilderness management.
This resource library is compiled by the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance and features a broad range of topics and delivery types for environmental professionals.