EBM Roadmap > Overview

EBM Is an Integrated Approach

Ecosystem-based management (EBM) is intended to overcome the shortfalls of traditional, single-sector management. EBM is a comprehensive, integrated approach to managing people’s impacts on the ocean with the goal of sustaining healthy seafood, clean beaches, and other ocean benefits. Ecosystem-based management is also known by other names, such as an ecosystem approach to management. In the United States, the Pew Oceans Commission, U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, and Joint Ocean Commission Initiative have called for a national ocean policy that includes EBM. For a brief list of readings about EBM, click here.

EBM Can Address Existing Management Challenges

The ocean provides us with seafood, swimming beaches, climate regulation, renewable energy, spiritual fulfillment, and many other benefits called nature's services or ecosystem services. Increases in human population and advances in technology, however, are placing greater pressure on the ocean and taxing its capacity to provide these benefits. Society is facing a major challenge: How do we manage human activities so that the ocean continues providing the benefits that we need?

Existing policies and management practices have proved insufficient to sustain nature's services. Government agencies charged with coastal and ocean management typically focus on discrete sectors of human activity and narrow components of the ecosystem, such as individual species. Generally, agencies lack the mandate and capacity to take into account the important ways that human activities affect each other, and the complex web of relationships and unceasing change that characterize an ecosystem. Consequences include plummeting fish stocks, expanding dead zones, and rising conflicts among human uses of the ocean.

The EBM Roadmap Helps Point the Way

Many people with an interest in the ocean and coast are working to implement EBM. Because EBM is complex and innovative, it can be challenging to practice. In surveys, workshops, articles, and reports, people engaged in ocean and coastal management have expressed a need for basic, practical guidance on how to advance EBM. The EBM Roadmap can be used to clarify roles in the context of EBM and to identify how individuals and organizations can advance EBM from concept to practice. 

Core Elements of EBM

The EBM Roadmap defines 8 Core Elements of EBM and provides Focus Questions for each Core Element: 

  1. Nature's Services
  2. Scientific Evidence
  3. Geographic Scales
  4. Ecological Linkages
  5. Cumulative Impacts
  6. Tradeoffs Among Human Activities
  7. Adaptive Management
  8. Network of People and Information

EBM Roadmap Brochure

To download an EBM Roadmap brochure (PDF) including a list of the 8 Core Elements of EBM, click here.


Introduction | Overview | Core Elements of EBM | Further Reading | Acknowledgements