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Integrated ecosystem assessments: developing the scientific basis for ecosystem-based management of the ocean.

Levin PS, Fogarty MJ, Murawski SA, Fluharty D - PLoS Biol. (2009)

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: NOAA Fisheries, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Seattle, Washington, USA. Phil.Levin@noaa.gov

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A series of prominent and controversial papers about the state of marine ecosystems has occupied the pages of high-profile journals over the last decade... While some might quarrel with the specific conclusions of these papers, there is no dispute that managers of ocean and coastal habitats confront a growing diversity of very serious challenges that, if left unattended, threaten the ability of marine ecosystems to supply the goods and services required or desired by humans... Here we propose “integrated ecosystem assessments” (IEAs) as a framework for organizing science in order to inform decisions in marine EBM at multiple scales and across sectors... Without ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of management actions, we have no way of knowing if management strategies are working and lack the ability to learn from our failures... While monitoring the effectiveness of management actions seems obvious, such monitoring is costly and frequently poorly done... Inadequate effectiveness monitoring clearly leads to delays in management response, particularly if management actions involve economic loss... In particular, IEAs require attention to the temporal baseline against which current status is compared... Different conclusions may be drawn, for example, when comparing the current status of ecosystem indicators to those measured 25 years versus 75 years ago... With a substantial budget and governance structure to implement management strategies emerging from the IEA, the lessons learned from the Puget Sound IEA will be instrumental in fine-tuning IEA efforts... Historically, the cutting edge of ecosystem research was dominated by reductionist investigations... The future of marine ecosystems lies in the hands of policy makers, resource managers, scientists, and stakeholders who can take this collection of information, integrate it, and operationalize EBM... We have now reached a fork in the road between the well-trodden reductionist path and the less traveled synthetic way... IEAs, under the model we propose, point to a road less traveled, and we hold that this will make all the difference in defining a practical way forward in implementing EBM.

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The Five-Step Process of Integrated Ecosystem AssessmentAn IEA begins with a scoping process to identify key management objectives and constraints, identifies appropriate indicators and management thresholds, determines the risk that indicators will fall below management targets, and combines risk assessments of individual indicators into a determination of overall ecosystem status. The potential of different management strategies to alter ecosystem status is evaluated, and then management actions are implemented and their effectiveness monitored. The cycle is repeated in an adaptive manner.
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pbio-1000014-g001: The Five-Step Process of Integrated Ecosystem AssessmentAn IEA begins with a scoping process to identify key management objectives and constraints, identifies appropriate indicators and management thresholds, determines the risk that indicators will fall below management targets, and combines risk assessments of individual indicators into a determination of overall ecosystem status. The potential of different management strategies to alter ecosystem status is evaluated, and then management actions are implemented and their effectiveness monitored. The cycle is repeated in an adaptive manner.

Mentions: Below we outline five key steps that, we contend, are necessary for IEAs and that enhance the likelihood of successful implementation of EBM. These are scoping, indicator development, risk analysis, management strategy evaluation, and ecosystem assessment (Figure 1).


Integrated ecosystem assessments: developing the scientific basis for ecosystem-based management of the ocean.

Levin PS, Fogarty MJ, Murawski SA, Fluharty D - PLoS Biol. (2009)

The Five-Step Process of Integrated Ecosystem AssessmentAn IEA begins with a scoping process to identify key management objectives and constraints, identifies appropriate indicators and management thresholds, determines the risk that indicators will fall below management targets, and combines risk assessments of individual indicators into a determination of overall ecosystem status. The potential of different management strategies to alter ecosystem status is evaluated, and then management actions are implemented and their effectiveness monitored. The cycle is repeated in an adaptive manner.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2628402&req=5

pbio-1000014-g001: The Five-Step Process of Integrated Ecosystem AssessmentAn IEA begins with a scoping process to identify key management objectives and constraints, identifies appropriate indicators and management thresholds, determines the risk that indicators will fall below management targets, and combines risk assessments of individual indicators into a determination of overall ecosystem status. The potential of different management strategies to alter ecosystem status is evaluated, and then management actions are implemented and their effectiveness monitored. The cycle is repeated in an adaptive manner.
Mentions: Below we outline five key steps that, we contend, are necessary for IEAs and that enhance the likelihood of successful implementation of EBM. These are scoping, indicator development, risk analysis, management strategy evaluation, and ecosystem assessment (Figure 1).

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: NOAA Fisheries, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Seattle, Washington, USA. Phil.Levin@noaa.gov

AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED EXCERPT
Please rate it.

A series of prominent and controversial papers about the state of marine ecosystems has occupied the pages of high-profile journals over the last decade... While some might quarrel with the specific conclusions of these papers, there is no dispute that managers of ocean and coastal habitats confront a growing diversity of very serious challenges that, if left unattended, threaten the ability of marine ecosystems to supply the goods and services required or desired by humans... Here we propose “integrated ecosystem assessments” (IEAs) as a framework for organizing science in order to inform decisions in marine EBM at multiple scales and across sectors... Without ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of management actions, we have no way of knowing if management strategies are working and lack the ability to learn from our failures... While monitoring the effectiveness of management actions seems obvious, such monitoring is costly and frequently poorly done... Inadequate effectiveness monitoring clearly leads to delays in management response, particularly if management actions involve economic loss... In particular, IEAs require attention to the temporal baseline against which current status is compared... Different conclusions may be drawn, for example, when comparing the current status of ecosystem indicators to those measured 25 years versus 75 years ago... With a substantial budget and governance structure to implement management strategies emerging from the IEA, the lessons learned from the Puget Sound IEA will be instrumental in fine-tuning IEA efforts... Historically, the cutting edge of ecosystem research was dominated by reductionist investigations... The future of marine ecosystems lies in the hands of policy makers, resource managers, scientists, and stakeholders who can take this collection of information, integrate it, and operationalize EBM... We have now reached a fork in the road between the well-trodden reductionist path and the less traveled synthetic way... IEAs, under the model we propose, point to a road less traveled, and we hold that this will make all the difference in defining a practical way forward in implementing EBM.

Show MeSH