NCEAS Product 3529

Benda, Lee; Miller, D. J.; Dunne, Thomas; Reeves, Gordon H.; Agee, J. K. 1998. Dynamic landscape systems. Edited by Naiman, R.; Bilby, R.; Kantor, S.. River Ecology and Management: Lessons from the Pacific Coastal Ecoregion. Springer-Verlag. New York. Pages 261-288. (Abstract) (Online version)

Abstract

As the vast expanses of natural forests and the great populations of salmonids are harvested to support a rapidly expanding human population, the need to understand streams as ecological systems and to manage them effectively becomes increasingly urgent. The unfortunate legacy of such natural resource exploitation is well documented. For several decades the Pacific coastal ecoregion of North America has served as a natural laboratory for scientific and managerial advancements in stream ecology, and much has been learned about how to better integrate ecological processes and characteristics with a human-dominated environment. These in­ sightful but hard-learned ecological and social lessons are the subject of this book. Integrating land and rivers as interactive components of ecosystems and watersheds has provided the ecological sciences with impor­ tant theoretical foundations. Even though scientific disciplines have begun to integrate land-based processes with streams and rivers, the institutions and processes charged with managing these systems have not done so successfully. As a result, many of the watersheds of the Pacific coastal ecoregion no longer support natural settings for environmental processes or the valuable natural resources those processes create. An important role for scientists, educators, and decision makers is to make the integration between ecology and con­ sumptive uses more widely understood, as well as useful for effective management.