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The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

In ecosystem-based management, people are considered to be part of the ecosystem. As such, EBM decisions not only take ecological factors into account but also the economic and social conditions that affect, or are affected by, the environment. The idea is to build a framework for management that ensures a sustainable environment and sustainable human communities over time.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

By Tundi Agardy, MEAM Contributing Editor (tundiagardy [at] earthlink.net)

Participatory planning is the Holy Grail of EBM. Reaching out to stakeholders to determine a group vision for the coastal or marine area to be managed, bringing stakeholders into the planning process, and actively involving user groups in management are each thought to be a key to EBM success.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

[Editor's note: Ecosystem-based management is as much a process as an endpoint. It does not require a single giant leap from traditional, sectoral management to fully integrated, comprehensive management. Rather, it can be achieved in a step-by-step, adaptive manner. In our new "Profiles in EBM" feature, MEAM will briefly highlight places where important steps toward EBM are being taken - recognizing ecosystem connections, protecting ecosystem services, integrating management, and pursuing multiple objectives.]

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

Management requires funding. Likewise, sustainable management requires sustainable funding. A cornerstone of EBM is that it ensures ecosystems will continue over time to provide the services that people require and want (e.g., food, clean water, biodiversity). Without dependable ways of financing management over the long term, EBM projects are at risk of failure.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

Due to human-induced climate change, sea surface temperatures are increasing. As a result, a gradual poleward shift in ocean ecosystems is underway. Described very simply, areas that were previously cold are becoming more temperate, and areas that were temperate are becoming more tropical. It is anticipated that, over time, ocean habitats and species ranges will follow the water temperature regime with which they are associated, provided there is adequate connectivity.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

Report: Significant marine extinction possible unless multiple ocean stressors reduced

Multiple ocean stressors - warming, acidification, overfishing, and more - together represent a great risk to marine and human life if the current trajectory of these stressors continues, including the possibility of a major extinction event of marine species. This is the conclusion of 27 ocean experts who gathered at an April 2011 workshop at the University of Oxford, convened by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO).

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