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Title: Toward an integrated classification of ecosystems: Defining opportunities for managing fish and forest health

Author: Rieman, Bruce E.; Lee, Danny C.; Thurow, Russell F.; Hessburg, Paul F.; Sedell, James R.;

Date: 2000

Source: Environmental Management. 25(4): 425-444.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Many of the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest United States have been simplified and degraded in part through past land-management activities. Recent listings of fishes under the Endangered Species Act and major new initiatives for the restoration of forest health have precipitated contentious debate among managers and conservation interests in the region. Because aggressive management activities proposed for forest restoration may directly affect watershed processes and functions, the goals of aquatic and terrestrial conservation and restoration are generally viewed as in conflict. The inextricable links in ecological processes and functions, however, suggest the two perspectives should really represent elements of the same problem; that of conserving and restoring more functional landscapes. We used recent information on the status and distribution of forest and fish communities to classify river subbasins across the region and explore the potential conflict and opportunity for a more integrated view of management. Our classification indicated that there are often common trends in terrestrial and aquatic communities that highlight areas of potential convergence in management goals. Regions where patterns diverge may emphasize the need for particular care and investment in detailed risk analyses. Our spatially explicit classification of subbasin conditions provides a mechanism for progress in three areas that we think is necessary for a more integrated approach to management: (1) communication among disciplines; (2) effective prioritization of limited conservation and restoration resources; and (3) a framework for experimentation and demonstration of commitment and untested restoration techniques.

Keywords: ecosystem management, forest health, ecological restoration, native fishes, integrated management, disturbance

Publication Notes:

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Rieman, Bruce E.; Lee, Danny C.; Thurow, Russell F.; Hessburg, Paul F.; Sedell, James R. 2000. Toward an integrated classification of ecosystems: Defining opportunities for managing fish and forest health. Environmental Management. 25(4): 425-444.

 


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