As a result of concern over problems associated with the future of managed wetlands in North America, nearly two dozen wetland scientists and managers met in February 2006 at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico and discussed a sustainable approach to wetland management. This approach links science with management by focusing on underlying wetland processes. From that meeting, several papers were developed and published in Wetlands to address these concerns (Euliss et al. 2008, Smith et al. 2008, Wilcox 2008). This article summarizes our first paper, Euliss et al. (2008), and a future Newsletter article will summarize Smith et al. (2008). Realization of the role that complex interactions play in maintaining ecosystems, coupled with increasing demands of humans for ecosystem services, has prompted much interest in ecosystem management. Not surprisingly, sustainability of ecosystems has become an explicitly stated goal of many natural resource agencies and, in some cases, has been legislatively mandated to ensure provision of resources for future generations. However, examples of sustainable ecosystem management are uncommon because management goals often focus on specific deliverables rather than processes that sustain ecosystems. This paper has three sections: (1) perspectives in which we provide a bit of history, (2), ecological consequences of a static view, and (3) suggestions to aid wetland managers link management goals with critical ecosystem processes responsible for provision of wetland services.
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Linking ecosystem processes to sustainable wetland management