Watershed Management and Protection - Issues of Scale and Process in Ecosystems

Edwin E. Herricks

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Although watershed management science and practice is not new, there has been an emphasis in the latest revival of watershed management programs on ecosystem protection and restoration. There has been a shift from protecting society from the environment to protecting the environment from society. With this shift, criteria to measure programmatic success has shifted, placing ecological outcomes of management programs and practices high on the list of watershed management objectives. The integration of ecosystem-based objectives in watershed management programs demands a substantial shift from past practices. First, watershed management must consider temporal and spatial scales in an ecological context. In this ecological context, temporal scale is associated with the life history of organisms, which may be affected by evolutionary history that equips organisms to function in a given environmental setting. Spatial scale is associated with a set of nested scalar relationships that span the range from individual organism size and movement capacity to global scales that reflect the influence of transient or colonizing organisms. Second, watershed management, directed to ecosystem protection, must consider systems-level processes in ecosystems. A systems view recognizes an organizational hierarchy of processes that start at the organism level, finding emergent characteristics at each level of organization. The implementation of ecosystem scale and process elements suggests a new paradigm for watershed management. This paradigm integrates past management science and practice with ecosystem protection based on ecosystem-relevance filters, which assist in the development of projects that produce needed ecosystem benefits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2004
EventWatershed Management, Proceedings of the Third International Conference - Taipei, Taiwan, Province of China
Duration: Dec 11 2001Dec 14 2001


OtherWatershed Management, Proceedings of the Third International Conference
Country/TerritoryTaiwan, Province of China

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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