|Ecosystem management: lessons from around the world: a guide for development and conservation practitioners|
Pirot, J.-Y.; Meynell, P.-J.; Elder, D. (2000). Ecosystem management: lessons from around the world: a guide for development and conservation practitioners. IUCN: Gland, Switzerland. ISBN 2-8317-0542-8. X, 129 pp.
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VLIZ: Aquatic Ecology ECO.20 
|Authors|| || Top |
- Pirot, J.-Y.
- Meynell, P.-J.
- Elder, D.
This Guide aims to encourage a wider understanding of the concepts of ecosystem and natural habitat management through the practical experience gained from 24 different field projects. It is based on a review of the institutional, technical and operational profiles of a number of carefully selected projects from around the world. The case studies ranged from unspoiled to degraded ecosystems and were drawn from a range of project types and scales (Appendix 1). The methodology for commissioning and analysing the case studies (Appendix 2) provided an important basis for the Guide. Summaries of the case studies are provided in the form of stand-alone boxes to illustrate the points being made. On the basis of the case studies it became apparent that ecosystem management approaches must be flexible, that they are only partly about ecosystem science and must take into account socioeconomic and cultural factors, and that participation of stakeholders is imperative. The Guide presents the detailed background and principles concerning these conclusions and provides practical information on how to integrate them into projects in the field. The introduction explains the notion that people are an integral part of ecosystems and depend on other components of the ecosystems and their interactions -ecological processes- for our existence. These include the water cycle, the maintenance of stable atmospheric, climatic and hydrological conditions, and the continued production of foodstuffs and many other products and services of ecosystems that contribute to our well-being. Also introduced is the fact that ecosystem functions are the result of plants and animals (including humans) interacting with each other and with the physical components of their environment. Ecosystem-based management attempts to regulate the use of ecosystems so that we can benefit from them while at the same time modifying the impacts on them so that basic ecosystem functions are preserved. In other words, use them, but don't lose them. This notion has been incorporated in a number of international conventions and reviews conceming environment and development, including the Convention on Biological Diversity. The document is divided into two parts. Part I, which contains chapters 1-3, is given over to introductory materials. Chapters 1 and 2 present notions about, and definitions of, ecosystems (and their characteristics) and ecosystem-based management; and about basic principles that should be followed in order to ensure that ecosystem-based management projects and activities will be successful. Examples of these principles are that: biodiversity must be maintained; people must be considered as part of ecosystems; ecosystems change over time; and that ecosystem functions and integrity must be maintained. Chapter 3 discusses the importance of creating partnerships with a variety of groups in order to become fully integrated within projects or activities, thus helping to ensure their commitment and cooperation. Partnerships include those with local communities; local, regional and national administrations, government authorities and non-governmental organizations; and international organizations, donors and international non-governmental organizations. Creating partnerships helps preclude the problem of "top-down" approaches which in most cases are met with resistance at the working level of projects. Part II presents information and checklists on: tools that can be used to formulate and implement ecosystem-based management activities (Chapter 4); and a set of guidelines on how to integrate ecosystem-based management approaches into development projects (Chapter 5). Examples of tools are: planning; environmental assessments; participatory processes; and institutional coordination. Integration of ecosystem-based management approaches into development projects includes: steps needed to identify projects; project formulation; project appraisal and approval; and project implementation. Each of the chapters in Part II contains a number of checklists that can be employed by users of the Guide to help with the formulation and implementation of projects and activities. In a number of cases some of the information in Part I is repeated. This was done purposely so that Part II could, to an extent, be self-contained and read alone.