Ecosystem Management With Multiple Owners: Landscape Dynamics in a Southern Appalachian Watershed
Ecosystem management is emerging as an organizing theme for land use and resource management in the United States. However, while this subject is dominating professional and policy discourse, little research has examined how such system-level goals might be formulated and implemented. Effective ecosystem management will require insights into the functioning of ecosystems at appropriate scales and their responses to human interventions, as well as factors such as resource markets and social preferences that hold important inAuence over land and resource use. In effect, such management requires an understanding of ecosystem processes that include human actors and social choices. We examine ecosystem management issues using spatial models that simulate landscape change for a study site in the southern Appalachian highlands of the United States. We attempt to frame a set of ecosystem management issues by examining how this landscape could develop under a number of different scenarios designed to reflect historical land-cover dynamics as well as hypothetical regulatory approaches to ecosystem management. Scenarios based on historical change show that recent shifts in social forces that drive land cover change on both public and private lands imply a more stable and a more forested landscape. Scenarios based on two hypothetical regulatory instruments indicate that public land management may have only limited influence on overall landscape pattern and that spatially targeted approaches on public and private lands may be more efficient than blanket regulation for achieving landscape-level goals.