NCEAS Project 8960

Knowledge and capacity-building to support ecosystem-based management (EBM) for sustainable coastal-marine systems

  • O. J. Reichman

Ecosystem Based Management Web Site

ActivityDatesFurther Information
Working Group20th—21st July 2004Participant List  
Working Group14th—15th January 2005Participant List  
Distributed Graduate Seminar5th—11th February 2005Participant List  
Working Group25th—29th July 2005Participant List  
Graduate Student1st April—30th June 2006Participant List  

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The recent U.S. Commission for Ocean Policy Report (2004) calls for a new national ocean policy that balances use with sustainability, and moves towards ecosystem-based management (EBM) founded on sound science. But, as yet, there is no scientific consensus on (1) the basic elements or processes involved in ecosystem-based management; (2) the scientific understanding of coastal-marine systems that it will require; or (3) how best to integrate that scientific understanding into decision-making processes. The David and Lucile Packard Foundation has developed a strategic vision to fill this urgent need ¿ a carefully designed science program to help create and ensure the use of the knowledge, tools, and skills needed for EBM of sustainable coastal-marine systems.

In June 2004, the Packard Foundation awarded $2,060,292 to the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), at the University of California, Santa Barbara for a three year program of activities, involving the analysis and synthesis of existing data and development of new tools to address gaps in knowledge that are critical to successful implementation of ecosystem-based management. The NCEAS activities will include support for working groups, postdoctoral fellowships, graduate student support, and a distributed graduate seminar.

In this program, NCEAS will go beyond publishing academic papers to devise specific strategies to make the scientific knowledge developed through the project directly useful for practitioners and policy makers. Previous attempts to implement ecosystem-based management have been hindered by the failure to effectively incorporate scientific understanding into the decision-making process, and by neglecting to include the stakeholders whose support will be essential to action. We expect that this set of NCEAS activities will lead to the development of a coherent body of knowledge that will change the conceptual foundations for managing coastal-marine ecosystems and help develop the necessary capacity among individuals and institutions to catalyze this sea-change.

Both goals and approaches for EBM vary, depending on geographic location, social values, institutional settings, economic constraints, etc. Nonetheless, it is clear that EBM entails some level of understanding of the scale, complexity and dynamic nature of both ecological and human systems.

TypeProducts of NCEAS Research
Journal Article Halpern, Benjamin S.; Floeter, Sergio R. 2008. Functional diversity responses to changing species richness in reef fish communities. Marine Ecology-Progress Series. Vol: 364. Pages 147-156.
Journal Article Halpern, Benjamin S.; Ebert, Colin M.; Kappel, Carrie V.; Madin, Elizabeth M.P.; Micheli, Fiorenza; Perry, Matthew; Selkoe, Kimberly A.; Walbridge, Shaun. 2009. Global priority areas for incorporating land-sea connections in marine conservation. Conservation Letters. Vol: 2. Pages 189-196.
Journal Article Halpern, Benjamin S.; Lester, Sarah E.; Kellner, Julie. 2010. Spillover from marine reserves and the replenishment of fished stocks. Environmental Conservation. Vol: 36(4). Pages 268-276. (Online version)
Journal Article Spalding, Mark; Fox, Helen; Allen, Gerald R.; Davidson, Nick; Ferdana, Zach A.; Finlayson, Max; Halpern, Benjamin S.; Jorge, Miguel A.; Lombana, Al; Lourie, Sara A.; Martin, Kirsten D.; McManus, Edmund; Molnar, Jennifer; Recchia, Cheri; Robertson, James. 2007. Marine ecoregions of the world: A bioregionalization of coastal and shelf areas. BioScience. Vol: 57(7). Pages 573-583.