Policy Characterization of Ecosystem management
This paper provides a comparison of ecosystem management (EM) to the traditional regulatory management approach and outlines the characteristics of EM from a policy perspective, defining the conditions under which this management tool can be successfully implemented. Ecosystem management is a collaborative and integrative tool focused on balancing societal needs, economic growth, and environmental protection to ensure the long-term ecological integrity of a particular ecosystem. The characteristics of this particular tool include: (1) its holistic approach to environmental problems; (2) its integration of values (economic, social, and environmental) through a collaborative, multi-partner, decision making structure; (3) its reliance on science to guide decisions and set boundaries; and (4) its ability to learn from the implementation of decisions (adaptive management). Examples are draw from Environment Canada's various regional ecosystem initiatives.