Ecosystem-based management experts working in diverse settings in the US and beyond will speak at the 26th International Congress for Conservation Biology in Baltimore on Thursday July 25 on what the field can learn from projects already underway, what difference such integrated management efforts are making, and what the future of research and practice in this area should be.
"Ecosystem-scale restoration efforts, particularly in the wake of Superstorm Sandy and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, highlight the often fragmented management of these vulnerable and highly valued ecosystems," said Brown conservation scientist and Assistant Professor Heather Leslie, who co-organized the 8-10 a.m. symposium with colleague Karen McLeod of COMPASS. "With the creation of the 2010 National Ocean Policy, we have more opportunities than ever before to manage human activities in oceans in integrated and proactive ways."
There's no single way to advance ecosystem-based management, Leslie will report, based on her six-site investigation of ecosystem-based management projects in the US, Mexico, and the Pacific island region.
"Our results highlight the diversity of ecosystem-based strategies people have employed in the US and around the world, as well as some of the common challenges that arise," she said. "By combining research approaches from multiple disciplines, we are much better able to learn from these efforts and more effectively sustain coastal marine ecosystems in the future."
A particular focus of the panel is the integrated nature of ecosystem-based management projects, which include attention not only to the ecology of marine species and habitats, but also to human interactions with those ecosystems. Leslie's National Science Foundation-supported research in Mexico's Gulf of California, for example, has examined how integrated research on the social and ecological dimensions of small scale fishing can yield unexpected information about the effects of both environmental and regulatory changes (http://news.brown.edu/pressreleases/2013/02/aaas-marine).
The symposium session builds on McLeod and Leslie's 2009 Island Press book on the science and practice of marine ecosystem-based management: Ecosystem-Based Management for the Oceans.
In addition to Leslie, other speakers include Erica Goldman of COMPASS, Steven Yaffee of the University of Michigan, Andrew Lipsky of SeaPlan, Cristina Lasch of the Nature Conservancy and Patrick Christie of the University of Washington.
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation provided enabling support for this symposium session as well as related work by Leslie and colleagues.
For more on the conference, visit: http://www.conbio.org/mini-sites/iccb-2013
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