Ecosystems and ecosystem-based management


C.A. Haas; E.A. Frimpong; S.M. Karpanty

Type of Document:
Scholarly Article


Soil and Water Conservation Society

Date of Publication:

Place of Publication:
Ankeny, IA


This chapter explains the importance and complexity of ecosystems in a landscape system. The ecosystem level of management integrates activities at the field, farm, and watershed levels. A thorough understanding of the effects humans have on ecosystem services across multiple spatial and temporal scales is essential to maintaining the natural patterns and the balance of nutrients and energy in an ecosystem. It can be difficult to measure these effects because they can be very far reaching, sometimes across hundreds of kilometers. Also, there is an unequal distribution of the costs and benefits of ecosystem services related to agricultural practices. For example, in order to implement successful conservation agriculture production systems (CAPS), adaptive management strategies need to be developed to restore nutrient and water cycling in the system. Management systems that incorporate these natural patterns and focus on individual incentives and CAPS adoption will likely be most sustainable in the long term. This chapter offers scenarios using a model ecosystem, model assumptions and possible results to show how proper management strategies can be achieved.

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