The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem: Challenges for Regional Ecosystem Management
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An adaptive management approach is necessary but not sufficient to address the long-term challenges of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). Adaptive management, in turn, has its own particular challenges, of which we focus on two: science input, and stakeholder engagement. In order to frame our discussion and subsequent recommendations, we place the current management difficulties into their historical context, with special emphasis on the 1990 Vision document, which attempted a broad synthesis of management goals for the ecosystem. After examining these two key challenges in the context of the GYE, we make several recommendations that would allow for more effective ecosystem management in the long term. First, we recommend adoption of the GYE as a site for long-term science research and monitoring with an emphasis on integrative research, long-term federal funding, and public dissemination of data. Second, we conclude that a clearer prioritization of legislative mandates would allow for more flexible ecosystem management in the GYE, a region where conflicting mandates have historically led to litigation antithetical to effective ecosystem management. Finally, we recommend a renewed attempt at an updated Vision for the Future that engages stakeholders (including local landholders) substantively from the outset.