The conceptual rubric of ecosystem management has been widely discussed and deliberated in conservation biology, environmental policy, and land/resource management. In this paper, I argue that two critical aspects of the ecosystem management concept require greater attention in policy and practice. First, although emphasis has been placed on the "space" of systems, the "time" -- or rates of change -- associated with biophysical and social systems has received much less consideration. Second, discussions of ecosystem management have often neglected the temporal disconnects between changes in biophysical systems and the response of social systems to management issues and challenges. The empirical basis of these points is a case study of the "Crown of the Continent Ecosystem," an international transboundary area of the Rocky Mountains that surrounds Glacier National Park (USA) and Waterton Lakes National Park (Canada). This project assessed the experiences and perspectives of 1) middle- and upper-level government managers responsible for interjurisdictional cooperation, and 2) environmental nongovernment organizations with an international focus. I identify and describe 10 key challenges to increasing the extent and intensity of transboundary cooperation in land/resource management policy and practice. These issues are discussed in terms of their political, institutional, cultural, information-based, and perceptual elements. Analytic techniques include a combination of environmental history, semistructured interviews with 48 actors, and text analysis in a systematic qualitative framework. The central conclusion of this work is that the rates of response of human social systems must be better integrated with the rates of ecological change. This challenge is equal to or greater than the well-recognized need to adapt the spatial scale of human institutions to large-scale ecosystem processes and transboundary wildlife.
To gain insights into the effects of adaptive governance on natural capital, we compare three well-studied initiatives; a landscape in Southern Sweden, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, and fisheries in the Southern Ocean. We assess changes in natural capital and ecosystem services related to these social-ecological governance approaches to ecosystem management and investigate their capacity to respond to change and new challenges. The adaptive governance initiatives are compared with other efforts aimed at conservation and sustainable use of natural capital: Natura 2000 in Europe, lobster fisheries in the Gulf of Maine, North America, and fisheries in Europe. In contrast to these efforts, we found that the adaptive governance cases developed capacity to perform ecosystem management, manage multiple ecosystem services, and monitor, communicate, and respond to ecosystem-wide changes at landscape and seascape levels with visible effects on natural capital. They enabled actors to collaborate across diverse interests, sectors, and institutional arrangements and detect opportunities and problems as they developed while nurturing adaptive capacity to deal with them. They all spanned local to international levels of decision making, thus representing multilevel governance systems for managing natural capital. As with any governance system, internal changes and external drivers of global impacts and demands will continue to challenge the long-term success of such initiatives.
Cites: Curr Biol. 2008 Jun 24;18(12):R514-518579091
Cites: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Jul 15;105(28):9489-9418621698
Cites: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Jul 15;105(28):9477-8218621700
Natural areas are important interfaces between air quality, the public, science and regulation. In the United States and Canada, national parks received over 315million visits during 2004. Many natural areas have been experiencing decreased visibility, increased ozone (O(3)) levels and elevated nitrogen deposition. Ozone is the most pervasive air pollutant in North American natural areas. There is an extensive scientific literature on O(3) exposure-tree response in chambered environments and, lately, free-air exposure systems. Yet, less is known about O(3) impacts on natural terrestrial ecosystems. To advance scientifically defensible O(3) risk assessment for natural forest areas, species-level measurement endpoints must be socially, economically and ecologically relevant. Exposure-based indices, based on appropriate final endpoints, present an underused opportunity to meet this need. Exposure-plant indices should have a high degree of statistical significance, have high goodness of fit, be biologically plausible and include confidence intervals to define uncertainty. They must be supported by exposure-response functions and be easy to use within an air quality regulation context. Ozone exposure-response indices developed within an ambient air context have great potential for improving risk assessment in natural forest areas and enhancing scientific literacy.
United States and Canadian governments have responded to legal requirements to reduce human-induced whale mortality via vessel strikes and entanglement in fishing gear by implementing a suite of regulatory actions. We analyzed the spatial and temporal patterns of mortality of large whales in the Northwest Atlantic (23.5°N to 48.0°N), 1970 through 2009, in the context of management changes. We used a multinomial logistic model fitted by maximum likelihood to detect trends in cause-specific mortalities with time. We compared the number of human-caused mortalities with U.S. federally established levels of potential biological removal (i.e., species-specific sustainable human-caused mortality). From 1970 through 2009, 1762 mortalities (all known) and serious injuries (likely fatal) involved 8 species of large whales. We determined cause of death for 43% of all mortalities; of those, 67% (502) resulted from human interactions. Entanglement in fishing gear was the primary cause of death across all species (n = 323), followed by natural causes (n = 248) and vessel strikes (n = 171). Established sustainable levels of mortality were consistently exceeded in 2 species by up to 650%. Probabilities of entanglement and vessel-strike mortality increased significantly from 1990 through 2009. There was no significant change in the local intensity of all or vessel-strike mortalities before and after 2003, the year after which numerous mitigation efforts were enacted. So far, regulatory efforts have not reduced the lethal effects of human activities to large whales on a population-range basis, although we do not exclude the possibility of success of targeted measures for specific local habitats that were not within the resolution of our analyses. It is unclear how shortfalls in management design or compliance relate to our findings. Analyses such as the one we conducted are crucial in critically evaluating wildlife-management decisions. The results of these analyses can provide managers with direction for modifying regulated measures and can be applied globally to mortality-driven conservation issues.
Cites: Nature. 2001 Nov 29;414(6863):537-4111734852
This study examines the effects of acidifying sulphur emissions on freshwater ecosystems in the traditional territory of Treaty 8 First Nations in British Columbia (BC). Due to the absence of detailed water chemistry data for most lakes in the region, revised empirical methods for estimating freshwater sensitivity to acidification are formulated using linear regression relationships between individual chemical measurements, and critical loads of acidity calculated using the Steady State Water Chemistry (SSWC) model. Lake alkalinity is the most effective chemical indicator of acidification sensitivity in northeast BC. Critical loads of acidity (CL(A)) estimated using alkalinity range from 0.0827 to 9.48 keq ha(-1) yr(-1). Sulphur deposition estimates range from 0.0113 to 0.303 keq ha(-1) yr(-1) and do not exceed the estimated CL(A) at any of the study lakes. The spatial situation of both the lakes and the emission sources is responsible for the lack of exceedances, and expanded/continued monitoring is recommended to account for geological variability and source proliferation. Measurements of lake conductivity and alkalinity provide a means of community monitoring for freshwater acidification sensitivity as part of cumulative effects management strategies.
An important step in the implementation of the Water Framework Directive is to define and characterize the natural status, designated as the reference condition (RC). Here we present the results of a type-specific screening for reference stream sites in Denmark using two different approaches. First, we performed a screening applying physicochemical, hydro-morphological and pressure criteria at the catchment, reach and site level of a total of 128 sites a priori selected by the regional water authorities as representing the best sites in Denmark. Second, we performed a GIS screening of all mapped streams in Denmark (26,000 km representing app. 90% of all Danish streams) using solely land use characteristics in the catchment area to target the search for larger stream sites to comply with the WFD requirements of type-specificity. Among the 128 sites we did not find any that fulfilled all criteria applied at the catchment, reach and site level using recommended RC threshold values and only three sites using threshold values that were less strict. Similarly very few km (
The number of environmental impact assessment (EIA) screenings in Denmark has increased dramatically since 2000. This is a consequence of increased pig production as well as the concentration of production on larger farms. In the same period, EIA rules have developed primarily due to an increased focus on the protection of groundwater and Natura 2000 sites. In particular, the implementation of Natura 2000 in Danish legislation has increased the demands on many farms. In its rulings on appealed cases, the Nature Protection Board of Appeal has strengthened its demands, and this is mirrored in screening practices. In this paper, the demands formulated in the guidelines of local authorities were analysed in order to investigate how the protection of groundwater, coastal waters, lakes and Natura 2000 sites develops through EIA screening. It is concluded that the level of protection has improved, and that the main cause for this is not EIA regulations as such, but the positive role which the implementation of the Natura 2000 objectives has played in this development. However, it was also found that the formulation of demands varies greatly between the counties, thus often resulting in ambiguity and leaving room for quite different practices in different counties.
The Swedish Thermal Engineering Research Institute (Värmeforsk) initiated an applied research program "Environmentally friendly use of non-coal ashes", in 2002. The program aims at increasing knowledge on the by-products of energy production and their application. The goal of formulating technical and environmental guidelines and assessments is a major point of the program, which is supported by about forty authorities and private organisations. The programme has been divided into four areas: recycling of ashes to forests, geotechnical applications, use in landfilling, and environmental aspects and chemistry. Among all results obtained, the following progress is shown: *Evidence for the positive effects of spreading ashes on forest growth. *A proposal for environmental guidelines on the utilisation of ashes in construction. *A handbook for using non-coal fly ashes in unpaved roads. *Technical and environmental assessments of MSWI bottom ashes in road construction. *Development of the use of ashes with municipal wastewater sludge as a cover for landfills and mine tailings. *Use of ashes from bio-fuels in concrete and replacement of cement in stoop mining. *A method to classify those by-products from combustion that have mirror entries in the EWC as a hazardous or non-hazardous compound. The Ash Programme has also made it possible to increase knowledge on ashes as valuable materials, on quality assurance and on markets for recovered materials.
This article examines threat perception as a potential dimension of inter-group conflict over salmon fisheries in Canada's Fraser River watershed. Environmental changes and the entry of new user groups are putting pressure on both the resource and regulators, as well as threatening to exacerbate conflicts, notably between First Nation (indigenous) fishers and non-indigenous recreational anglers. While resource conflicts are often superficially conceptualized as cases of competing interests, we build on recent studies suggesting that conflicts are associated with deeper cognitive and perceptual differences among user groups. We report findings from 422 riverbank interviews with First Nation fishers and recreational anglers focusing on perceptions of threat to the fisheries. Responses reveal both substantial agreement and disagreement in threat perceptions between the two groups. These patterns provide a potential roadmap for consensus building, and suggest possible avenues for policy-makers to defuse the "blame game" that often dominates this type of conflict.
Colonial processes including the dispossession of indigenous lands and resources and the development of Western management institutions to govern the use of culturally important fish resources have served in many ways to marginalize indigenous interests within the United States fisheries. In recent years, several US fishery institutions have begun to develop policies that can confront this colonial legacy by better accommodating indigenous perspectives and rights in fishery management practices. This paper analyzes two such policies: the 2005 community quota entity program in Alaska which permits rural communities (predominantly Alaska Native villages) to purchase and lease commercial halibut fishing privileges and the 1994 State of Hawai'i community-based subsistence fishing area (CBSFA) legislation through which Native Hawaiian communities can designate marine space near their community as CBSFAs and collaborate with the state of Hawai'i to manage those areas according to traditional Hawaiian practices. The analysis reveals a striking similarity between the trajectories of these two policies. While they both offered significant potential for incorporating indigenous rights and environmental justice into state or federal fishery management, they have so far largely failed to do so. Environmental managers can gain insights from the challenges and potentials of these two policies. In order to introduce meaningful change, environmental policies that incorporate indigenous rights and environmental justice require a commitment of financial and institutional support from natural resource agencies, a commitment from indigenous groups and communities to organize and develop capacity, and careful consideration of contextual and cultural factors in the design of the policy framework.