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Desirable functional processes: A conceptual approach for evaluating ecological condition

Posted date: August 04, 2010
Publication Year: 
1996
Authors: Medina, Alvin L.; Baker, Malchus B. Jr.; Neary, Daniel G.
Publication Series: 
General Technical Report (GTR)
Source: In: Shaw, Douglas W.; Finch, Deborah M., tech coords. Desired future conditions for Southwestern riparian ecosystems: Bringing interests and concerns together. 1995 Sept. 18-22, 1995; Albuquerque, NM. General Technical Report RM-GTR-272. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. p. 302-311.
Note: This article is part of a larger document.

Abstract

Determining what "desired future condition" actually means has been viewed as a moving target approach for developing ecosystem management plans. The difficulty arises from trying to define what the desired condition are for any given site. In addition, definitions may be plagued with inconsistencies, contention and argument, indeterminate time frames and less than the best knowledge available. Herein, we propose a conceptual approach called "Desirable Functional Processes," or DFP, for evaluating the ecological condition of an ecosystem or parts thereof. It is founded on the premise that ecosystems and their components display varied degrees of functionality. It is based on the degree to which one can observe the interaction of ongoing processes involving the vegetation, soils, and hydrological components that determine the functionality of the system. Hence, an ecosystem or its components are considered functional if the processes observed are those that move the system to a higher state of dynamic equilibrium, as opposed to a state that is dysfunctional and demonstrates a trend towards system degradation.

Citation

Medina, Alvin L.; Baker, Malchus B., Jr.; Neary, Daniel G. 1996. Desirable functional processes: A conceptual approach for evaluating ecological condition. In: Shaw, Douglas W.; Finch, Deborah M., tech coords. Desired future conditions for Southwestern riparian ecosystems: Bringing interests and concerns together. 1995 Sept. 18-22, 1995; Albuquerque, NM. General Technical Report RM-GTR-272. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. p. 302-311.