By Dr. John Wilmshurst
When Ed Grumbine published his paper “What is Ecosystem Based Management?” in 1994, he was not introducing a new idea, but describing a concept that had been discussed, and used, for centuries. This month, the Healthy Landscapes Program is contributing to that discussion by launching a new website, HealthyLandscapesEBM. In it, the HLP hopes to show that ecosystem based management (EBM) in the boreal forest is more than just talk.
Why would we do that? For the same reasons that Dr. Grumbine did—to shed light on a big, important idea. For almost a quarter of a century, Dr. David Andison, the Healthy Landscapes Program lead, has been talking about, and acting on, EBM in Alberta’s boreal forest. This new website is his latest step; designed to both clarify what EBM could look like in Canada’s forests as well as present examples of where EBM, or elements of EBM have been demonstrated.
HealthyLandscapesEBM is a humble beginning. It starts by introducing a simple idea—that EBM in the boreal region is about learning from forests. Understanding natural forest dynamics offers us a way to achieve sustainable human use of the goods and services the forest provides. Knowing what natural disturbance patterns are is one of the 12 elements of EBM in Dave’s definition. The website illustrates and explains this, and then provides a growing list of case studies that show where this has been studied.
Visit the site to learn more about EBM in the Canadian boreal forest and keep on top of new work that is being done.