Resource management in the United States is undergoing a fundamental change. Traditional sustained-yield approaches that focus on commodity production and human resource use are steadily giving way to ecological approaches, often referred to as ecosystem management, that have long-term ecological sustainability as their primary goal. To achieve that goal, ecosystem management emphasizes socially defined goals and objectives, integrated and holistic science, collaborative decision making, and adaptable institutions. Political considerations are an essential component of ecosystem management, yet its socio-political context has been largely ignored by those studying and writing on the subject.The Politics of Ecosystem Management is the first book to focus entirely on the political challenges facing ecosystem management as it moves from theory to practice.The authors examine: the history of natural resource management in the United States the theory behind ecosystem management potential inconsistencies and contradictions in the themes of ecosystem management political philosophies that undergird traditional resource management alternative political principles inherent in ecosystem management opportunities and barriers for achieving collaborative ecosystem managementThe Politics of Ecosystem Management considers the sweeping and profound changes that will be required of the American governance system -- its political philosophy, institutions, notions of citizenship, and politics, as well its resource management practices -- if the shift to ecosystem management is to be realized. It is a lucid and accessible volume that represents a vital contribution to the literature for students, researchers, and professionals involved with any aspect of developing and implementing ecosystem-based approaches to resource management.