Pub. Date:
Island Press
Ecosystem Management: Adaptive Community-Based Conservation / Edition 1

Ecosystem Management: Adaptive Community-Based Conservation / Edition 1


Current price is , Original price is $55.0. You

Temporarily Out of Stock Online

Please check back later for updated availability.

This item is available online through Marketplace sellers.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781559638241
Publisher: Island Press
Publication date: 09/20/2002
Edition description: 1
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 8.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Garry K. Meffe is Adjunct Professor in the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation at the University of Florida and Editor of the international journal Conservation Biology. Larry A. Nielsen is a fisheries biologist and Dean of the College of Natural Resources at North Carolina State University. Richard L. Knight is Professor of Wildlife Conservation at Colorado State University, and Co-editor of Stewardship Across Boundaries (Island Press, 1998) and A New Century for Natural Resources Management (Island Press, 1995). Dennis A. Schenborn is Chief of Planning and Budget for the Bureau of Fisheries Management and Habitat Protection of the Wisconsin State Department of Natural Resources.

Read an Excerpt

Ecosystem Management

Adaptive, Community-Based Conservation

By Gary K. Meffe, Larry A. Nielsen, Richard I. Knight, Dennis A. Schenborn


Copyright © 2002 Island Press
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-55963-824-1


The Landscape Scenarios

Your experience with this book and the success of this course largely will revolve around and depend upon the landscape scenarios. These are where you will work on many of the problems and questions embedded in the chapters, to help you work through and "experience" the materials presented. Get to know your scenario thoroughly in every aspect: ecologically, socioeconomically, politically, and geographically.

Three landscape scenarios follow. All of them are equally challenging, and they all address the same basic problems.

• The ROLE Model is set in a midwestern/ northeastern landscape of mixed industrial and agricultural land use.

• SnowPACT is set in the intermountain West, with large private and public ownerships and associated conflicts of changing uses.

• PDQ Revival is set in the humid Southeast, is influenced by a major military base, and captures the changing sociopolitical climate of that region.

Your instructor will inform you which scenario(s) to use. As you read the assigned scenario, begin to digest its richness and complexities. Study the maps, look at the photographs, and get a good feel for the landscape. Begin to "inhabit" the place and become part it. You will refer to the scenario throughout the course and use it as a reference source for detailed information. In the chapters that follow, you will use your growing scientific knowledge base, combined with processes and techniques we will cover, to address and explore many challenging questions and issues to be addressed in this place. Dive in and have fun!

Note that each scenario contains names of individuals who play various roles in those systems. All names are fictitious, and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

The ROLE Model

Just 6 months ago, an unprecedented event occurred in the area known as Round Lake (Figure 1.1). Representatives of communities, agencies, and interest groups stood together before a press conference and read the following statement:

An old adage says, "Today is the first day of the rest of your life." We can paraphrase by saying today is the first day of the rest of the Round Lake Ecosystem's life. We are here today to sign an agreement that dedicates the people, agencies, and resources of our area to a new style of managing our natural resources and environment. We pledge to work together to assure that the qualities we love and need—clean water, clean air, abundant and diverse wildlife and fish, healthy land, and productive farms and forests—will continue and prosper through time and space.

We have chosen to call this initiative the Round Lake Ecosystem Model—or ROLE Model—because we believe this effort can truly be a model for ourselves and the rest of the nation. We know that the ways of the past, which have fragmented land and communities and have pitted neighbor against neighbor, cannot continue. We all have too much to lose by those behaviors. And we have so much to gain by working together, using reason, and seeking win-win solutions to issues.

We often talk about being role models. We know that our children will behave as they see us behave, so we try to be honest, just, and forgiving within our families. We know that as responsible members of the public community, we must establish rules and procedures that are fair, open, and respectful of others. To these roles and role models, today we add the necessity of treating the land and its resources with the same care and respect that we extend to other humans. We recognize that we depend on the health and productivity of our lands to provide us the essentials of life—air, water, soil, plants, and animals— and also the beauty and comfort that nurtures our character.

Today we begin a long, difficult, and expensive journey, but a journey that we know will take us where we want to go. We are confident the people of the Round Lake ecosystem want to take this journey. We are proud that our citizens, businesses, agencies, and community groups are leading themselves and the nation in becoming the ROLE Model!


The Round Lake Ecosystem Model Agreement is a simple document with profound implications. Most importantly, it establishes the Round Lake Ecosystem Team as a broadly based coalition of representatives of all groups that wish to join. It has an initial 10-year charter, with the expectation that it will be renewed continuously and become a leading focus for community planning and action.

The state Department of Natural Resources (DNR), through its secretary, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, through its regional director, have committed their resources to provide the base operations for the team. Each agency has agreed to assign one professional to coordinate the team's work for the next 5 years—commitments that were considered essential (and inspirational). In addition, each agency has agreed to assign its most senior local staff person to serve on the team. These are the DNR's District Director, Margaret Staples, and the Bingham National Wildlife Refuge manager, Oliver Adams. And, of course, these agencies have pledged the support of their staff and physical resources to help along the way.

All signatories to the agreement are automatically members of the team, and a subset has been elected by the members to comprise the Steering Committee. The list is impressive (Steering Committee members are noted by an asterisk):

ROLE Model Members

Benson City Council*

Bingham National Wildlife Refuge*

Crawford County Planning Commission*

Cranberry Growers' Association*

Cranberry Marsh Audubon Society

Crawford County Grange*

Department of Natural Resources*

Friends of Round Lake

Hardwood Lumber Manufacturers' Association

Hunters for Waterfowl*

Lake City Council*

League of Women Voters

Little Lake Shoreline Association

Mid-State Outdoor Writers Association

Northeast Power Company*

Penowa Indian Nation*

Round Lake Area Chamber of Commerce*

Round Lake Forest Landowners Association*

Society for North American Plants (SNAP)

Truman National Forest*

Trust for Land Conservation (TLC)*

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers*

U.S. Natural Resource Conservation Service

Walleyes for Tomorrow

The agreement lists several core values the group chose as guidelines for their long-term operation:

The ROLE Model's Core Values

We seek to create a place that meets the needs of ourselves and future residents. We seek to do this in a way that will be a model of civility, common sense, rationality, and efficiency. We pledge ourselves to be guided by the following principles:

• We will be inclusive, rather than exclusive, inviting all people and viewpoints; but we will not tolerate attempts to delay or derail our efforts.

• We will use all the expert knowledge we can get to help guide decisions, including that of scientists, economists, and sociologists; but we will not shrink from decisions or actions because of "insufficient data."

• We will supplement the maps of ownership and jurisdiction with maps of natural features and functions.

• We will work with all decision-making groups, from county commissioners to national agencies, to bring the ideas and goodwill of our citizens forward.

• We will find win-win situations, so that no individuals lose in decisions that bring gains to all of us.

• We will seek voluntary cooperation rather than rules, regulations, and laws.

• We will set our vision on the long-term and will be prepared to discuss openly the short-term costs of such a vision.

• We will be realistic, recognizing that we start from here and that our first steps probably will be small.

• We will succeed!


The Round Lake ecosystem is a large watershed that drains into the Great Lakes–St. Lawrence system. The major water system is the Little Lake Bent Creek–Round Lake–Deer River drainage, which generally flows northeast. Most of the area was glaciated in the Wisconsinian era, but fingers of unglaciated lands intrude from the south. The elevation is about 800 feet, with flat to rolling terrain. The glaciated areas support rich farms and relatively productive forestlands in a mixed patch-work that reminds people of a calendar photograph (Figure 1.2).

The Round Lake ecosystem is split into two primary physiographic regions by a lateral moraine that runs north to south just west of Round Lake (see Figure 1.1). The soils to the east of the moraine are a mix of silty loams overlaying a complex geology of glacial till that forms the flat outwash plain to the east. This creates a shallow aquifer with high transmissibility through the sand and gravel outwash with scattered clay lenses. Groundwater flows in a general northeastern direction, but flow varies from location to location because of the clay formations. West of the moraine, sandstone and limestone formations underlay the thinner soils of what once was contiguous forest.

The area is dominated by Round Lake, a 40,000-acre natural lake named for its nearly circular shape. Round Lake is relatively shallow (maximum depth 85 feet; average depth 30 feet) and has expansive littoral areas, some rocky and some silty; it stratifies in summer and is ice-covered in most winters. The lake is roughly divided into two basins, separated by a relatively shallow section that runs west-east across the lower third of the lake. The southern basin has relatively slow water turnover rates because the main flow of water through the lake occurs in the larger, northern basin. The lake holds a typical fauna of warm-water and cool-water fishes, including largemouth and smallmouth bass, various panfishes, walleyes, carp, and suckers; 33 fish species were recorded in the most recent biological surveys. Round Lake is used extensively for recreational boating, served by substantial marinas in the towns of Benson and Lake City.

The southern shore of Round Lake was once connected to a wetland system almost as large as Round Lake itself. Much of the wetland area was drained for farming. Today most of the farms in the wetland region grow cranberries; the Round Lake region supplies about 30% of the nation's industrial cranberries (i.e., those that go into food processing). A portion of the wetlands is protected via the Bingham National Wildlife Refuge, a 9000-acre refuge created in the 1940s. The refuge is named after the nineteenth-century artist George Caleb Bingham, who did an extensive set of paintings depicting pioneer and Native American life along the southern shore (many of those paintings are on display in the Lake City Art Museum). Other parts of the wetland have been drained for golf course developments; other wetlands, especially those close to the lakeshore, are privately owned.

Little Lake is a smaller version of Round Lake, about 10 miles upstream, linked to Round Lake via Bent Creek. Little Lake, 12,000 acres in area, has a similar limnological profile to Round Lake and a similar fauna. However, walleyes are uncommon in the lake, prohibited from upstream movements by the series of low-head power dams on Bent Creek. The land around Little Lake was once owned entirely by Howard Brown, who invented the movable carriage for the typewriter. Brown, who was somewhat eccentric, wanted to be able to stand on the shore of the lake and own everything he could see. He succeeded, but his family was not as fortunate financially, and after his death in 1944, they sold off the land bit by bit. In the 1970s, the family regained its feet financially, realized that they had lost most of what had been a tremendous resource, and gave the remaining parcel, about 5000 acres and 1 mile of shoreline, to the Trust for Land Conservation (TLC).

Truman National Forest, in the northwestern portion of the watershed, is named after President Harry Truman. The land had been in federal ownership since the 1920s, after it had been logged, farmed, and abandoned. Truman issued an executive order making it a National Forest in 1948, along with several others in the eastern U.S. It contains a largely even-aged forest, with most stands 80–100 years old. Major stands are white oak, red oak, sugar maple, hemlock, and white pine. Truman National Forest has been one of the very few national forests that conduct profitable timber sales, on approximately 200,000 of its 300,000 acres. Truman is a true multiple-use forest, with major recreational uses and extensive interests in developing old-growth forests from the 5000 acres of old growth remaining. The lands that fall within the Round Lake area include a mixture of mature forests and about half of the old-growth tracts.

Managers at Truman National Forest have looked at their old growth in the Round Lake region and decided that they should develop a management plan that eventually will link their old-growth remnants into a continuous band. They are particularly interested in using this base for linking with other old-growth and mature forests on state and private lands.

Crawford State Forest is a three-unit forest in the region. Just like the Truman, it has mostly mature stands of mixed hardwoods with occasional stands of hemlock. Each unit of the forest is about 5000 acres, the minimum size the state will accept or keep as state forest. The state forest is surrounded by mixed farmland and private forestland; most private tracts are small (averaging 55 acres), and the owners have other jobs that provide their major income.

Real estate values are soaring anywhere near the Crawford and Truman forests. Larger tracks of private agricultural land are being divided into 3-to-10-acre home sites and sold to people who want to be close to nature while remaining within commuting distance of Lake City.


Lake City is a city of 100,000 residents on the northeastern shore of Round Lake (Figure 1.3). Like most cities of its size, it grew rapidly around 1900, spurred by the Industrial Revolution. It profited greatly from its proximity to larger mid-western cities. A rail line put Lake City on the path of agricultural products moving north and east and manufactured products moving south and west. Lake City developed a diversified economic base, which continues now. Always a civic-minded city, Lake City has built a reputation for being a good place to live. Annual surveys place it about halfway down the list of the "100 Best Places to Live in America." Lake City's long-time mayor, Tom Morning, is the perfect representative of the town. He is down-to-earth, action-oriented, trusting of people, suspicious of government, ambitious, and hard working. Although the mayor was slow to warm to the idea of the ROLE Model, once he became convinced that it could be the way to move Lake City up the list of the Best 100, he got behind it fully.

Because of its civic character, Lake City is alive with groups that work on its behalf. The group known as Friends of Round Lake works constantly to keep the water clean and the lake accessible to all citizens. They annually sponsor shoreline cleanups, coordinate boating safety classes, and sponsor an annual Aquatic Envirothon. They have pledged their membership to being active in the ROLE Model idea, suggesting especially that they would love to stage community events that would get people involved—and might generate money. A series of other similar organizations feel and act the same way, although they sometimes tend to be a bit more narrow in their interests. Friends of Round Lake has clearly become the leading environmental/civic group in the area. For example, the group's part-time executive director, Chris Gallagher, has just been asked by the governor to become co-chairman of his new Commission for the 21st Century Environment.

Benson is across Round Lake from Lake City, where Bent Creek enters the lake. Benson has 20,000 residents, down from its highest population of nearly 50,000. Benson has not been as fortunate as Lake City. It thrived on heavy industries, which were located along the rail-line in the town and down Bent Creek toward Little Lake. The rusting of the industries, starting in the early 1960s, took its toll on the economics of the community. When Interstate 12 was completed in 1967, continuing west from Lake City, rather than following the rail-line south, Benson went into an economic downturn. Many of the heavy industries closed up, leaving old facilities that have now become environmental problems. Long considered a rival of Lake City, the city of Benson has recently realized that it should look to Lake City as a partner. Nonetheless, Benson and its mayor, Nancy Lyons, remain fairly traditional. Although signatories to the ROLE Model Agreement, they enter the team fairly skeptical and certainly cautious.


Excerpted from Ecosystem Management by Gary K. Meffe, Larry A. Nielsen, Richard I. Knight, Dennis A. Schenborn. Copyright © 2002 Island Press. Excerpted by permission of ISLAND PRESS.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


About the Authors,
Essay Contributors,
Introduction: New Approaches for a New Millennium,
The Appearance of Ecosystem Management,
How to Use This Book,
An Overview and the Flow of the Text,
1. The Landscape Scenarios,
2. Getting a Grip on Ecosystem Management,
3. Incorporating Uncertainty and Complexity into Management,
4. Adaptive Management,
5. Genetic Diversity in Ecosystem Management,
6. Issues Regarding Populations and Species,
7. Populations and Communities at the Landscape Level,
8. Landscape-Level Conservation,
9. Managing Biodiversity Across Landscapes: A Manager's Dilemma,
10. Working in Human Communities,
11. Strategic Approaches to Ecosystem Management,
12. Evaluation,
A Final Word,

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews