The earth's population has grown eleven-fold in the last 300 years, therefore there are fewer resources and less space available for each individual, living thing: hence the biodiversity crisis. Human use of resources has increased at a greater rate than population growth. Agricultural and natural resources use and efficiency gains will be required to stop ecosystem degradation. All ecosystems have biological and physical limits, are complex and interconnected in space and time, are constantly changing in only partially predictable ways, and are renewable. Sustainable development, though a nebulous statement of intent, affirms maintaining healthy, productive land and natural resources. Ecosystem management can be defined as the process of seeking to produce (i.e., restore, sustain or enhance) desired conditions, uses, and values of complex communities or organisms that work together with their environments as integrated units. The working guidelines for implementing ecosystem management include the key steps of delineating ecosystems, statements of problems, assessing and understanding choices, and acting, learning, and adapting. The necessary steps are getting people involved; working within the scope of the processes; integrating information, technology, management, and research; revitalizing conservation education and interpretation; and, developing, monitoring, and evaluating vital signs of ecosystem health. Biological diversity, the variety of life, is valuable within an ecosystem for ecological, economic, educational, and aesthetic reasons and, thus, its conservation should be included in ecosystem management. To fully shape ecosystem perspectives in land and resource management, social, biological, and physical sciences must become better integrated. By using the working principles of the model known as adaptive management, ecosystem management can develop a new model for the scientific basis of conservation-interdisciplinary teams working with all constituencies to address both short-and long-term relationships between people and the land.
"Factors influencing the context and principles of ecosystem management,"
Natural Resources and Environmental Issues: Vol. 5
, Article 2.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/nrei/vol5/iss1/2