Environmental Management and Ecosystem-Based Management
Two management approaches have been used to improve management of natural resources and control or mitigate environmental impacts from human activities. On one hand, Environmental Management Systems (EMS) have been used by corporations to improve the environmental performance of their operations. On the other hand, Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) has been used by government agencies to improve management of natural resources. Although originating in different sources, both approaches merge in protected areas, where there is a need to conciliate conservation objectives with economic and social concerns and needs.
Environmental Management (EMS) is a systems approach that anticipates and avoids environmental and conservation problems by
setting goals and objectives;
identifying and organizing people, skills, knowledge, technology, finances, and other resources;
assessing risks and setting priorities;
identifying and assessing various options;
auditing and monitoring;
and applying environmental management tools as required (Thompson, 2002).
An Environmental Management System is defined by the International Organization of Standardization as a part of the management system that includes organizational structure, planning activities, responsibilities, practices, procedures, processes and resources for developing, implementing, achieving, reviewing and maintaining the environmental policy (ISO, 1996).
Ecosystem-based management (EBM) is an approach to guiding human activity using collaborative, interdisciplinary, and adaptive methods with the long-term goal of sustaining desired future conditions of ecologically bounded areas that, in turn, support healthy, sustainable communities (Quinn, 2002).
Both approaches have strengths and weaknesses that, to some degree, are complementary.
The implementation processes for both management approaches follow similar steps. However, agencies that consider using both have to deal with two separate systems.
Parks Canada, for instance, has used an EBM approach when managing protected areas, but only recently adopted ISO 14001 as the model for an environmental management system in order to improve environmental performance on its operations and facilitate reporting (Snell, 2003).
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Corporations have always regarded the evaluation of their financial performance as an essential part of conducting business. However, just recently they became interested in evaluating their environmental performance as well. In a similar way, protected areas are now facing the need to evaluate their management.
Management Effectiveness deals with design issues relating to both individual sites and protected area systems, the appropriateness of management systems and processes, and the delivery of protected area objectives (Hockings et al., 2000).
Two guidelines that have been proposed for evaluating management of protected areas are the IUCN Framework to Evaluate Management Effectiveness (Hockings et al, 2000) and the Medición de la Efectividad del Manejo de Areas Protegidas (Measurement of the effectiveness of protected areas management, Cifuentes et al., 2000). Both guidelines contemplate evaluation for systems of protected areas and individual areas, but do not provide guidance on the actual implementation of a management system for individual protected areas.
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Management System for protected areas
The objective of this research is to propose a comprehensive management system that integrates the strengths of both EMS and EBM in order to improve management effectiveness for protected areas.
The development of this management system will be based on the following:
Analysis of strengths and weaknesses of Ecosystem-Based Management and Environmental Management Systems.
Comparison of elements of different guidelines and certification processes for activities taking place in protected areas,
Revision of guidelines to evaluate management effectiveness,
Revision of the elements identified by different authors as key in evaluating management effectiveness, and
Hockings, Marc, Stolton, Sue, and Dudley, Nigel. 2000. Evaluating Effectiveness. A Framework for Assessing the Management of Protected Areas. Cambridge, UK., IUCN Publications Services Unit. Best practice Protected Areas Guidelines Series No. 6.
Honey, A. and Rome, M.2001. Protecting Paradise: Certification Programs for Sustainable Tourism and Ecotourism. The Institute for Policy Studies. Washington, D.C., USA. Available online: http://www.ips-dc.org/ecotourism/protectingparadise/StandardsforParadise.PDF Accessed Feb. 4, 2003.
(ISO) International Organization for Standardization. 1996. ISO 14001:1996(E). International Standard ISO 14001. Environmental Management Systems- specifications with guidance for use. 1996-09-01. International Organization for Standardization, Geneve, Switzerland.
Quinn, M.S. 2002. Ecosystem-Based Management. In Tools for Environmental Management: A Practical introduction and guide. Edited by D. Thompson. New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island, BC, Canada. pp. 370-382.
Thompson, D. 2002. Introduction: The Environmental Manager's Toolbox. In Tools for Environmental Management: A Practical introduction and guide. Edited by D. Thompson. New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island, BC, Canada. pp. 1-18.
Worboys, G., Lockwood, M., and De Lacy, T. 2001. Protected Area Mangement. Principles and Practice. Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, Australia.
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Papers on Management of Protected Areas
Please contact me if you would like to receive copies of these papers.
Mendoza, A. and D. Thompson. (In press). Governance for Protected Areas in Mexico and Canada, in: Towards better regulation, governance and accountability: global perspectives from corporations and civil society, I. Demirag (Ed.) Geenleaf, UK.
Mendoza A., Jones, K., and Webster, J. 2003. Managing Environmental Impacts of Orienteering in Central Alberta, Canada. Mountain Protected Areas Workshop, World Park Congress, Durban, South Africa, September 5 to 17, 2003.
Mendoza, A, Quinn, M., and Thompson, D. 2003. An Ecosystem-Based Management System for Protected Areas. 5th International Conference on Science and the Management of Protected Areas. Science and Management of Protected Areas Association. University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, May 11-16, 2003.
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