Focus on the relationships and processes within an
Knowledge of ecosystem properties and the functional roles of
biodiversity are essential when developing management
strategies. Despite existing knowledge gaps, ecosystem
management has to be undertaken and adopting the Ecosystem Approach
can facilitate practical ecosystem management in the face of
Better understanding of ecosystem resilience; effects to
biodiversity; impacts of habitat fragmentation; drivers of
biodiversity loss; and geographical determinants of biodiversity
will help improve management planning. The most productive
way of addressing this will be for scientists and local
stakeholders to work together, as different forms of knowledge are
likely to be complementary.
The Ecosystem Approach seeks to maintain and, in some cases,
restore the benefits provided by biological diversity at the
ecosystem level and ensure these functions benefit stakeholders
responsible for their production and management. This
requires, inter alia: capacity building; appropriate
valuation of ecosystem goods and services; removal of perverse
incentives; and incentivising sustainable management
Use adaptive management practices.
Applying an Ecosystem Approach will entail adopting a
long-term learning process that informs the adaptation and
development of ecosystem management and monitoring. Project
implementation should be able to adjust to the unexpected and
avoid acting on a belief in certainties. An Ecosystem
Approach must account for diverse social and cultural factors that
influence natural resource use. Additionally, flexibility in
policy and decision making will be essential to avoid implementing
inadequate, or even destructive, actions.
Carry out management actions at the scale appropriate for the
issue being addressed, with decentralisation to lowest level, as
Because ecosystems operate at a variety of scales, managers
should define the appropriate level for decisions and
actions. This may necessitate decentralised management, which
will require effective empowerment that provides individual actors
with the capacity to undertake appropriate
A decentralised approach will need to be supported by enabling
policy and legislative frameworks and appropriate institutions will
be required for decision-making and resolving conflict. Some
issues may require higher level involvement, such as trans-boundary
cooperation or international collaboration.
The Ecosystem Approach will need to be integrated into
agriculture, fisheries, forestry and other production systems and
sectors that have a bearing on biodiversity. This calls for
increased inter-sectoral communication and cooperation.
This could be facilitated through the establishment of
inter-governmental bodies or information sharing networks.
Capacity-building and participation.
Successful outcomes will rely upon community partnerships,
political and institutional willingness to participate and empower,
stakeholder engagement, and commitment from donors and
Information, research and development.
Biophysical, social and economic information, in addition to
resource, will be integral to achieving successful Ecosystem
Approach projects. Knowledge gaps may need to be addressed
through research and development activities. Information will
need to be made accessible to all stakeholders in order to
facilitate transparent decision making and empowerment.
Monitoring and review.
Monitoring and review will enable the development of
responsive and adaptive management capability, and make it possible
to report on performance and outcomes.
Sound governance will be essential for effective application
of the Ecosystem Approach. Good governance embraces
proficient environmental, resource and economic policies and
requires competent administrative institutions that respond to