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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The ecosystem : A conceptual framework for identifying the ecological implications of planning options Powers, Michael Gerard


The current problem of environmental deterioration is the result of society's perceived independence from nature. Through adoption of a systems perspective, however, one recognizes the need to relate man to his natural environment. In particular the concept of the ecosystem provides a theoretical model that recognizes the complex interdependence of man, land, and living systems. The development and application of the ecosystem concept suggests a variety of necessary changes regarding the traditional view of man/environment relationships and their incorporation into the planning process. These changes include: (1) the necessity of recognizing the symbiotic relationship between man and land; (2) the development of a boundary-oriented view of ecosystem stability; and (3) the need to adopt a planning strategy involving small yet diverse interventions to provide alternatives of action, maximum diversity of public choice, and systems stability. In the present study the theoretical and practical aspects of the ecosystem concept are applied to a specific land-use planning problem study to determine: (1) man-other organisms-physical environment interrelations; (2) the ecological implications of alternative development proposals upon those relationships; and (3) proposals for a comprehensive land-use plan recognizing the integrity of the ecosystem.

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