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Community-based ecosystem management is an approach to getting things done. It manifests as actions that collectively maintain or restore nature’s ability to provide clean water, clean air and support for living systems. Sustaining the earth’s natural capital requires integration within the system of social capital. Through collaboration, people can accomplish the first step toward sustainability – the development of a collective vision of desired future outcomes for the places where they live, work and play. The individual perspectives that shape these visions take many forms. They are present in town Comprehensive and Open Space plans, in mission statements for organizations and agencies, in public opinion surveys, management plans and research reports. This booklet is a guide to using a collaborative approach to community-based ecosystem management. It is based on seven years of social science research and a project that created a shared vision for clean water that united a group of planners, managers, community leaders and scientists with a common vision – Protecting Our Children’s Water. This guide describes a practical method for transforming the science to management paradigm from the traditional Delivery of Science-based Information model to Engaging the Kaleidoscope of Expertise model


This booklet was created with funding from the National Estuarine Research Reserve Science Collaborative. This booklet is used by coastal management professionals working in the field of education and outreach, and as a resource for professional training for coastal managers who plan to use Collaborative Learning in ecosystem based management, collaborative research and stakeholder engagement.

For more information on hosting or attending a training in Collaborative Learning for ecosystem based management contact Dr. Christine Feurt

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