We as humans and especially here at SFS like to picture an ideal government and hope that as we learn more about science and political theory, government can take steps in that direction. By any measure, governance within the United States is far from meeting the theoretical ideal. Implementation and enforcement are often pointed at as more important factors than policy design in terms of effectiveness in meeting policy goals. But if we ever had the chance to change the design, here’s four principles that will help make sure we move in the right direction.
Addressing Scale: Appropriate information gathering
If scale is unified at the ecosystem level – bounded by hydrological and geophysical boundaries – then information about the system must also represent the ecosystem scale. Fisheries management, for example, requires information on all the potential factors that could affect stock size – habitat, water quality, fishing pressure, competition with other native and nonnative species, productivity of the food web, etc. Furthermore, the total fishery stock in an area would have to be considered together – total biomass of market species, for example. These types of measurements will delineate threats to conservation to a particular species versus threats to the health of the whole system.