Ecosystem Based Management (EBM) uses a place-based approach to natural resource conservation. This approach focuses on the complex issues threatening our environment in a single location, rather than resolving a single issue statewide. It works by coordinating local, state, and federal programs and providing funding in targeted areas to fill in the gaps, making it easier for landowners and conservation agencies to get conservation off the ground and to achieve meaningful results.
Since the inception of the EBM program, the Soil and Water Conservation Districts have been active in implementing pilot projects in several areas of the state and integrating EBM principles into existing programs, including New York’s Agricultural Environmental Management program.
EBM is funded through the Ocean and Great Lakes Initiative in the Environmental Protection Fund.
The six components of New York’s EBM program are:
- Place-based focus: EBM focuses on activities in a specific geographic area while also noting the impacts that result beyond that place.
- Scientific foundation for decision making: EBM incorporates what has been learned about an ecosystem from years of scientific inquiry and monitoring into the decisions being made today. This management approach also considers social, cultural, and economic trends as part of the decision making process.
- Measurable objectives to direct and evaluate performance: Measurable objectives provide a basis for gauging the impact of activities on the health of an ecosystem and the ability to provide valuable ecosystem services.
- Adaptive management to respond to new knowledge: Adaptive management allows for learning and requires applying knowledge in decisions to provide for continuous adjustments to accomplish goals. It is built on the foundation of three principal elements: monitor, evaluate, and adapt.
- Recognition of interconnections within and among ecosystems: Improving and maintaining ecosystems requires a comprehensive approach that considers social and economic matters in addition to understanding the complexities within the local ecology.
- Involvement of stakeholders: Recognizing and including local knowledge to build a richer understanding of the relationship between an ecosystem and humans.