Although it is commonly implied that there cannot be a single, generally applied definition of ecosystem management (EM), recognition (1) of what constitutes a system, (2) that ecosystems are a special class of the genre called "systems," (3) of a definition of management, and (4) that natural resources on public lands and common-property resources are managed to satisfy societal values, means that EM can be defined as "the skillful manipulation of ecosystems to satisfy specified societal values." Definitions vary primarily in the value-satisfying aspect. Determination of ecosystem limits is arbitrary. Establishing management goals determines the ecosystem(s) to be managed. To set some desired future condition or trajectory as a management goal, and extracting goods and services, implies an ability to predict. Prediction requires modeling and individuals capable of designing models and exercising them. Management will need to be adaptive and closely monitored. Successful EM efforts are originated and planned at the local level, involve effective communication, and cooperation across land-ownership boundaries. Characteristics of the Intermountain Region which the break-out groups considered likely constraints on EM are the diversity of public values, a positive attitude toward growth, competing values among the agencies, and inadequacy of scientific information. Positive traits include the high percentage of public land, growing recognition that the problems need to be solved, and a strong commitment to the land and its resources.
Wagner, Frederic H.
"Epilogue: What have we learned?,"
Natural Resources and Environmental Issues: Vol. 5
, Article 23.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/nrei/vol5/iss1/23