Ecosystem-Based Integrated Ocean Management: A Framework for Sustainable Ocean Economy Development

3. What is Ecosystem-Based Integrated Ocean Management?

3.1. About this section As highlighted in the introduction, EB-IOM is a conglomerate of approaches that complement and reinforce each other, including MSP, adaptive management, and systematic conservation plan- ning, among others. Their shared characteristic is the ambition for more holistic, integrated and effective ocean and coastal management. EB-IOM brings these together under the umbrella of the ecosystem approach/EBM, emphasizing the need to respect ecosystem boundaries. This section begins with a discussion of these umbrella terms and then defines a set of more spe- cific, related ocean and coastal management con- cepts. The second part of this section deconstructs and examines the concept of ‘integration’, which runs through the core of EB-IOM, but often fails to be properly defined in the literature. This report proposes five categories of integration that are rel- evant for ocean management, and provides orien- tation on each one. The main purpose of this section is to provide a conceptual examination of EB-IOM (the ‘what’), while section 4 discusses its implementation (the ‘how’). However, because the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ are often intertwined, it is not possible to com- pletely separate them. As a result, there is a gradual shift in focus, rather than a clean break between these two sections. 3.2. The ecosystem approach and ecosys- tem-based management The ecosystem approach/EBM 6 is a multifaceted concept that emerged in environmental literature in the 1970s, though its underpinning philosophies have been practised for millennia in many cultures (Long et al. 2015). At its core is the recognition that ecosystems and human wellbeing are intercon- nected. Human activities should therefore be man- aged to safeguard ecosystem integrity, through integrated approaches at ecological scales of time and space, while explicitly recognizing that ecosys- tems have boundaries that cannot be transgressed without destabilizing them. The concept gained significant traction in the 1990s when environmen- tal conservation literature increasingly developed holistic principles and approaches for manag-

ing humans as part of ecosystems. Mangel et al. (1996), for example, encapsulated the principles of the ecosystem approach in all but name (box 2).

Box 2 . Seven Principles for the Conservation of Wild Living Resources


Maintenance of healthy populations of wild living re- sources in perpetuity is inconsistent with unlimited growth of human consumption of and demand for those resources. The goal of conservation should be to secure present and future options by maintaining biological diversity at genetic, species, population and ecosystem levels; as a general rule neither the resource nor other compo- nents of the ecosystem should be perturbed beyond natural boundaries of variation. Assessment of the possible ecological and sociological effects of resource use should precede both proposed use and proposed restriction or expansion of ongoing use of a resource. Regulation of the use of living resources must be based on understanding the structure and dynamics of the ecosystem of which the resource is a part and must take into account the ecological and sociological influences that directly and indirectly affect resource use. The full range of knowledge and skills from the natural and social sciences must be brought to bear on conser- vation problems. Effective conservation requires understanding and tak- ing account of the motives, interests, and values of all users and stakeholders, but not by simply averaging their positions. Effective conservation requires communication that is interactive, reciprocal, and continuous.







The ecosystem approach was formally adopted by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 2000 (COP5, Decision V/6), defined in 12 principles (box 3 7 ). Building on this definition, McLeod et al. (2005) define EBM as “an integrated approach to

6 As stated in the introduction, the terms ‘ecosystem approach’ and ‘ecosystem-based management’ or EBM are used interchangeably in the literature. They broadly refer to the same thing. 7


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