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date: 21 November 2017

Abstract and Keywords

Ecosystem management is an integrative, systems-based approach developed in response to the inadequacy of land management strategies centered on single species or resources such as timber. Contemporary ecosystem management acknowledges the dynamism of natural systems, need for ongoing adaptive learning, and importance of citizen engagement, especially in managing public lands. However, ecosystem management faces both conceptual and ethical challenges. Core concepts—such as ecosystem, stability, health, and resilience—remain difficult to define and operationalize. In addition, rapid directional changes in ecological systems have destabilized the use of historical baselines for management. One response to this challenge is to seek new moorings in an “ecosystem services” approach, focused on the role of ecological systems in supporting human interests and needs. Although ecosystem management began as a way to broaden beyond a focus on maximizing yields of particular resources, ecosystem services approaches may—ironically—reintroduce reductionistic tendencies that thwart this original goal.

Keywords: Aldo Leopold, adaptive management, collaboration, ecological integrity, ecological restoration, ecosystem, ecosystem services, resilience, stability

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