Tools for Ecosystem-Based Management of Coastal and Marine Environments
A rising tide of stories about climate change, beach closures and depleted ocean fisheries is focusing public attention on the health of coastal and marine environments. Conserving these imperiled ecosystems requires a holistic approach to planning and management.
Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) is an innovative management approach that considers entire ecosystems, including humans and the environment, rather than managing one issue or resource in isolation. NatureServe’s EBM Tools Program, with support from the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, is working to develop a knowledge base of tools, primarily software and other highly documented methods, that can help implement EBM processes in coastal and marine environments and their watersheds. Some of the primary uses for EBM tools are:
Collecting, managing and processing data about ecosystems and human communities
Generating and visualizing scenarios of potential consequences of different management decisions on natural resources and the economy
Facilitating communication with the public and stakeholder involvement in planning and management processes.
When used in an effective process, these tools:
Help incorporate a wide array of ecosystem and human considerations into decision making
Save time and help explore a wider range of alternatives by automating analyses and processes that occur repeatedly
Help build collaboration among diverse project participants by creating a forum where stakeholder groups learn about and need to account for each others’ goals and concerns.
NatureServe’s EBM Tools Program also coordinates the EBM Tools Network, a voluntary alliance of EBM practitioners and tool providers to share knowledge about EBM tools. The EBM Tools Network website (www.ebmtools.org) provides the most comprehensive information available on EBM tools to planners, managers and scientists from around the world, including:
Searchable database of EBM tools
Case studies, EBM tools training materials, and best practices for using tools
Information on funding opportunities, technical assistance offers, meetings and conferences, data sources, and much, much more.