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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Investigating Ecosystem Dynamics at the Watershed Level

Authors
item Steiner, Jean
item Franzluebbers, Alan
item Risse, Mark - UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA
item Moore, Philip
item Francis, C - UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA
item Scheyer, J - USDA-NRCS LINCOLN, NE
item Flora, C - IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY
item Janke, R - KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY
item Deutsch, W - AUBURN UNIVERSITY
item Tolk, Judy

Submitted to: Journal of Soil and Water Conservation
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 19, 1998
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Integrated systems approaches are emerging in response to complex natural response problems that can not be solved by traditional approaches. Our objective is to identify research, education, and policy needs at local, regional, national, and international levels to support holistic ecosystem management at the watershed scale. The paper is an outcome of a conference econvened by Soil and Water Conservation Society and incorporates participants' ideas and priorities from pleanry, poster, and interactive breakout sesions. In holistic approaches to ecosystem management and research, goals should be based on the values and highest priority problems of stakeholders, based on group consensus. It is essential to identify stakeholders early, get them involved in the process, and maintain an interactive, open process so that groups and persons not initially identified have opportunities to become involved. The considerable time and effort required to build participation, communication, and trust can pay off through efficient solutions to shared natural resource problems. Recommendations to policy makers include i) involvement; ii) integrate research, education, and management programs to leverage limited resources for maximum impact and effectiveness; iii) support hierarchical research that integrates long- and short-term goals and component research within whole systems; iv) develop reward systems for those who act "outside the box"; and v) establish systematic, communication across local, state, and federal levels to identify and help coordinate diverse activities within a watershed.

Technical Abstract: Integrated systems approaches are emerging in response to complex natural resource problems that can not be solved by traditional approaches. Our objective is to identify research, education, and policy needs at local, regional, national, and international levels to support holistic ecosystem management at the watershed scale. The paper is an outcome of a conference convened by Soil and Water Conservation Society and incorporate participants' ideas and priorities from plenary, poster, and interactive breakout sessions. In holistic approaches to ecosystem management and research, goals should be based on the values and highest priority problems of stakeholders, based on group consensus. It is essential to identify stakeholders early, get them involved in the process, and maintain an interative, open process so that groups and persons not initially identified have opportinities to become involved. The considerable time and effort required to build participation, communication, and trust can pay off through efficient solutions to shared natural resource problems. Recommendations to policy makers include i) support holistic research and management with a broad-based stakeholder involvement; ii) integrate research, education, and management programs to leverage limited resources for maximum impact and effectiveness; iii) support hierarchical research that integrates long- and short-term goals and component research within whole systems; iv) develop reward systems for those who act "outside the box"; and v) establish systematic, communication across local, state, and federal levels to identify and help coordinate diverse activities within a watershed.

Last Modified: 11/26/2014
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