The Ecosystem Approach

Great Lakes Advisory Board
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
This is a Special Report of the Great Lakes Research Advisory Board to the International Joint Commission in response to the Commission's request for further advice on the scope and implications of the ecosystem approach in problem identification, research and management in the Great Lakes Basin advocated by the Board in its 1977 Annual Report.This ecosystem approach is based on a man-in-a-system concept rather than on the system-external-to-man concept inherent in the 1972 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.Incorporation of this approach within the advisory and management functions of the Commission and Parties, respectively, necessitates political recognition of the Great Lakes Basin as an Ecosystem composed of the interacting elements of water, air, land and living organisms, including man, within the Basin. It further necessitates explicit recognition of exchange of materials such as atmospheric pollutants into and out of the Basin, in biospheric perspective. The ecosystem approach provides the philosophic basis for a view of man as part of nature. It directs the efforts of the Parties and the Commission toward treatment of the patient (the Ecosystem) rather than the symptoms or disease. It relates the biological and technological activities of man to the carrying capacity of the Ecosystem, linking the human body to the biosphere.
Egosystem , Great Lakes Basin , Transboundary Problems