The Ecosystem Approach and Sustainable Interdependence - Caitríona CARTER
The ‘Ecosystem Approach’ (EA) poses a dilemma for sustainable management of natural resources. The very notion of an ecosystem runs counter to conventional ways of reasoning, which have mobilized categories of thought serving to segment reality. Concerning nature, these include ‘single species’ or ‘stock’. Concerning management these include ‘sector’ or ‘zone’. The EA challenges these, focusing instead on inter-relationships and interactions between species, sectors and/or zones. It demands that we see the world as fundamentally interdependent.
One way in which management has thus far sought to respond to these challenges is by seeking to capture interdependencies between environmental, social and economic processes – and this through the prism of sustainable development. But is this sufficient? Recent research on the transformation of fisheries management would suggest that it is not. Rather, other political interdependencies exist and must be worked upon: these include interdependence of territory; interdependence of public and private regulation; interdependence of science and knowledge.
In this session, we ask how re-thinking the world around these interdependencies can enable managers to move towards policies of restoration of ecosystems? And what are the implications for science and scientists?