Managing for ocean biodiversity to sustain marine ecosystem services

Last modified: 
November 7, 2018 - 1:35pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2008
Date published: 09/2008
Authors: Stephen Palumbi, Paul Sandifer, David Allan, Michael Beck, Daphne Fautin, Michael Fogarty, Benjamin Halpern, Lewis Incze, Jo-Ann Leong, Elliott Norse, John Stachowicz, Diana Wall
Journal title: Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Volume: 7
Issue: 4
Pages: 204 - 211
ISSN: 1540-9295

Managing a complex ecosystem to balance delivery of all of its services is at the heart of ecosystem‐based management. But how can this balance be accomplished amidst the conflicting demands of stakeholders, managers, and policy makers? In marine ecosystems, several common ecological mechanisms link biodiversity to ecosystem functioning and to a complex of essential services. As a result, the effects of preserving diversity can be broadly beneficial to a wide spectrum of important ecosystem processes and services, including fisheries, water quality, recreation, and shoreline protection. A management system that conserves diversity will help to accrue more “ecoservice capital” for human use and will maintain a hedge against unanticipated ecosystem changes from natural or anthropogenic causes. Although maintenance of biodiversity cannot be the only goal for ecosystem‐based management, it could provide a common currency for evaluating the impacts of different human activities on ecosystem functioning and can act as a critical indicator of ecosystem status.

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