The Ecosystem Approach: Five Steps to Implementation

06 March 2008 | Downloads - publication

The ecosystem approach : five steps to implementation
Shepherd, Gill
(Spanish version also available)

IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management Series: Ecosystem Management Series ; no.003

The Ecosystem Approach is a strategy for the integrated management of land, water and living resources that promotes conservation and sustainable use in an equitable way. It is the primary framework for action under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and comprises 12 Principles (page 2). In considering how to best implement the Ecosystem Approach, several attempts have been made to rank the principles, either by order of importance or according to theme.

While these efforts are interesting conceptually, what has been lacking so far is practical assistance in applying the Ecosystem Approach in the field. The IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM) has produced this document as a move towards filling the gap.

We have clustered subsets of Ecosystem Approach Principles into a logical sequence which encourages discussion, planning and step-by-step action. Of course, no one aspect of an ecosystem can be dealt with alone for long, and those aspects tackled early in the sequence described below will have to be revisited regularly. Nevertheless, the approach is empowering because it enables both researchers and field workers to concentrate on one set of problems at a time. In this way, the ecosystem, its inhabitants, and the challenges and the opportunities they present can be brought slowly and manageably into focus.