Title: Comments on historical variation & desired condition as tools for terrestrial landscape analysis
Author: Millar, Constance I.
Source: Proceedings of the Sixth Biennial Watershed Management Conference. S. Sommarstrom, editor. Water Resources Center Report No. 92. University of California, Davis (1997): p. 105-131
Description: Historic (natural or reference) variability and
desired condition are key ecosystem-management concepts
advocated in many approaches to terrestrial landscape
analysis. Historical variation is considered to be a conservative
indicator of sustainability. If current conditions are
outside the range of historic values, management actions
are described to realign the system within historic ranges.
Based on historic variability and social preferences, a management goal
called the desired condition is developed This
paper examines some of the arguments for and against the
use of historic analysis as a direct guide to setting management goals.
Among the concerns are inadequate time depth
used persistence in inferring historic conditions even where
data are unavailable or unknowable, emphasis on using historic
values of individual elements rather than composite
ranges for multiple indicators, lack of understanding of the
hierarchic nature of ecosystem change and higher order
environmental influences on ecosystems and their implications
for management. Despite criticisms of direct prescriptive
applications, however, historic data provide some of the
best sources of information about ecosystem behavior, and
should remain central to both ecosystem management research
and application. With suggested mod$cations in
approach, historic data should be included wherever possible
in landscape analysis.
Keywords: landscape analysis, bioregion-Sierra, ecosystem management, desired condition, historic variability, dynamic equilibrium, fire history
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Millar, Constance I. 1997. Comments on historical variation & desired condition as tools for terrestrial landscape analysis. Proceedings of the Sixth Biennial Watershed Management Conference. S. Sommarstrom, editor. Water Resources Center Report No. 92. University of California, Davis (1997): p. 105-131.