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  • EBM – ecosystem-based management – is a holistic and inclusive approach for managing an ecosystem. In this activity, students use EBM principles as a framework to consider how a local area of significance could be managed. Alternatively, it can form the basis for planning a local environmental project.

    Cross-curricular opportunities

    EBM differs from many other management approaches in that it includes humans as part of the ecosystem. EBM recognises that natural areas, such as marine environments or freshwater systems, are used by groups with competing interests and values.

    In real life (i.e. international case studies), EBM involves science, economics, social science, policy and indigenous knowledge. It encourages sectors to work together rather than only thinking about their own interests.

    In the classroom, EBM provides a cross-curricular opportunity to develop an approach to managing a local ecosystem or as a thinking and planning tool for an environmental project.

    In this activity, students learn about EBM as a tool for collaboration and investigate some of the components of EBM using a local marine or freshwater location as the context. The activity is readily adaptable for use with other environmental planning and/or management projects. It uses the seven principles of the Sustainable Seas Challenge’s EBM definition as a framework. Like EBM, this activity is quite broad. Teachers can use all of the components or select those most suited to student ability or interest. The document is in Word, so adapt the student handouts as desired.

    By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

    • view and discuss the Sustainable Seas EBM infographic
    • discuss some or all of the EBM principles and how this type of information helps with ecosystem management
    • use frameworks to consider how some or all of the components relate to the management of a local area of their choice
    • develop a simple planning and/or management strategy for a local area or environmental project of their choice.

    Download the Word file (see link below) for:

    • background information for teachers
    • teacher instructions
    • student instructions.

    Nature of science

    This activity covers all aspects of the nature of science. As students work through the thinking and planning processes, they will develop their understanding and knowledge about investigations and how to communicate with others to gain and share scientific knowledge. The planning will help them draw evidence-based conclusions about how to look after a local area and then potentially take action to do so.

    Useful link

    The EBM model, titles and symbols used in this activity come from the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge. Visit its website to learn more about the Sustainable Seas Challenge and how it is developing EBM for Aotearoa.


    This article has been developed using resources from the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge.

      Published 13 October 2017, Updated 29 November 2018 Referencing Hub articles
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