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Demystifying Ecosystem Management, 24 Ecology Law Quarterly 865 (1997)


I want to relate a few things that struck me as I was listening to the presentations yesterday. One of the questions about ecosystems is, what are they? It seemed to me that most of the talks yesterday failed to address this question. I don't think I have an answer for it either, but it is a question that runs through the literature about ecosystems. What are they? Where are they? What are the boundaries around an ecosystem? Where does it start and where does it end? In some ways, ecosystems do not end anywhere.

One way to think about ecosystems is through an operational definition. For example, IQ is what is measured by IQ tests. According to this approach, an ecosystem is whatever is managed by ecosystem management.

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