Environmental Management

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 167-181

First online:

Integrated environmental management: strengthening the conceptualization

  • Stephen M. BornAffiliated withUrban and Regional Planning UW-Madison
  • , William C. SonzogniAffiliated withCivil and Environmental Engineering State Hygiene Laboratory, UW-Madison

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Although espoused by many, integrated environmental management (IEM) has been difficult to accomplish in practice. There are many reasons for this shortfall, but certainly a key factor is the lack of agreement among scholars and practitioners regarding the concept and its defining elements. Our purpose here is to sharpen the conceptual basis for IEM by elaborating and pragmatically characterizing a framework for the practice of more integrated environmental management. We outline four fundamental dimensions of IEM: (1) comprehensive, (2) interconnective, (3) strategic, and (4) interactive/coordinative. IEM efforts in the Black Earth

Creek watershed in Wisconsin illustrate specific attributes and examples pertaining to our conceptualization of IEM. Acceptance of the conceptual framework elaborated here should alleviate some of the confusion associated with IEM and help move this widely heralded approach from theory into practice.

Key Words

Integrated environmental management Watershed planning and management Ecosystem management