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The Ecosystem Approach Advanced User Guide

1. Introduction

Often an activity undertaken to meet a particular problem will address more than one ecosystem approach principle or task outlined above. For example, involving stakeholders in decision making processes could meet tasks 1, 2, 10 and 12. By assessing what activities meet which tasks it is possible to decide if the project is applying the ecosystem approach. Filling in the table below allows the project to be assessed against the ecosystem approach as a framework. It might be necessary to create a series of tables covering the different sub-issues being addressed by the project. The table can also be used to determine whether particular principles are not being met. If this is the case referring back to the tasks and the reasons why they are important to the ecosystem approach might highlight to the assessor whether activities are being missed. Conversely it is also legitimate to view some principles as more important than others. Where this is the case it is can be useful to provide reasons why a principle has not been met for future analysis of the project. By including information on the tools and methods being used to meet the task it is also possible to determine if there are links between particular task and a sub-issue of the project. For example if public participation is being used to meet several sub-issues and tasks it might be possible to combine efforts to reduce costs and the time taken to consult with stakeholders.

Table 1. Assessing a Project against the 12 ecosystem approach tasks
Task Action/Project Activity Tools/Method being used
Task 1 Societal Choice    
Task 2 decentralised management    
Task 3 effects on adjacent ecosystems    
Task 4 Economic context    
Task 5 Maintain ecosystem services    
Task 6 Limits to ecosystem function    
Task 7 Appropriate spatial/temporal scale    
Task 8 Long-term management    
Task 9 Change is inevitable    
Task 10 integration of conservation and use    
Task 11 Consider all forms of knowledge    
Task 12 Involve science and society