Ecosystem-based management (EBM) is a conceptual approach to governance that links human and ecological systems through adaptive management approaches.
Problems and Purpose
Generally, EBM promotes human well-being by managing for the coexistence of "healthy, fully functioning ecosystems and human communities." EBM is also theorized to be collaborative insofar as it fosters participation and encourages respect for the diverse values and aspirations of communities. Moreover, Parsons (2015) suggests this management paradigm exhibits various "ecological', 'managing uncertainty', and 'social' principles.
Origins and Development
Know how and why this method was developed? Help us complete this section!
Participant Recruitment and Selection
Know how participants are recruited for this method? Help us complete this section!
How it Works: Process, Interaction, and Decision-Making
Three guiding principles of EBM guide its form and application:
1. Maintaining Ecological Integrity
Ecological Integrity is the abundance and diversity of organisms at all levels, and the ecological patterns, processes, and structural attributes responsible for that biological diversity and for ecosystem resilience. Ecological-based Management recognizes and follows ecological boundaries such as watershed boundaries, and is more effective at maintaining the integrity of an ecosystem than management that follows political (jurisdictional) boundaries. It is also essential that managers move beyond the traditional, hierarchical management structure, and make connections between patterns and processes at all scales within an ecosystem, including site, neighbourhood, ecosystem, and regional scales and species, population, ecosystem, and watershed levels of analysis.
2. Managing Uncertainty: Data Collection
Data collection involves collection of both social and ecological data to establish the condition of an ecosystem and to implement monitoring. Monitoring involves identifying and using data and indicators of change to characterize ecosystem status and maintenance/improvement of health.
Adaptive Management is a systematic and iterative approach for improving resource management by emphasizing learning from management outcomes. Adaptive management involves testing assumptions and exploring alternatives. Data collection and monitoring can be seen as components of the adaptive management cycle.
3. Social Interagency Cooperation
In conjunction with the principle of managing through ecological boundaries, governments, non-governmental organizations, and citizens will need to work together to implement components of EBM.
(Adapted from Parsons, 2015, pg. 23)
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
Know what outcomes and effects this method typically has? Help us complete this section!
Analysis and Lessons Learned
Organizational Change: The structures of land management agencies and their operations may need to change, for example by forming interagency committees, or changing professional norms and shifting power dynamics.
Humans Embedded in Nature: Humans need to acknowledge their impact and dependence on ecological patterns and processes.
Values: The role that humans play in ecosystem management goals, even in the presence of adequate scientific information, ought to be acknowledged.
 Coast Information Team (CIT). (2004). The Scientific Basis of Ecosystem-Based Management. Retrieved from https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/tasb/slrp/citbc/c-ebm-scibas-fin-04May04.pdf, p. 9
 Parsons, K. (2015). Restoring a Paradise of a Place: Exploring the potential for urban Ecosystem-based Management in the Still Creek Watershed. Vancouver, BC. Simon Fraser University
 CIT (2004). The Scientific Basis of Ecosystem-Based Management, p. 13
 Slocombe, D.S. (1998a.) Lessons from experience with ecosystem-based management. Landscape and Urban Planning 40:31-39. Retrieved from http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.476.7797&rep=rep1&type=pdf
 Bormann, B.T., Haynes, R.W., and Martin, J.R. (2007). Adaptive management of forest ecosystems: did some rubber hit the road? BioScience. 57(2): 186-191