Insight to ecosystem based approach (EBA) at landscape level using a geospatial medium
Ecosystem based approach (EBA) for resource management is a concerted, environmentally tuned and an integrated framework that holistically addresses the ecological character of the natural resource, its societal benefit spectrum and its environmental functions. In this paper, the EBA concept is closely linked with the emerging concept of multiple use systems (MUS) while taking account of environmental, economic, and social factors that govern the ecosystems services and benefits. We elucidate a multi-scalar approach and multiple case studies to understand EBA particularly in context of a wetlandscape. At the global scale, Ramsar sites of international importance are geospatially analyzed with reference to their agro-ecology and biodiversity. At regional scale, the agrarian use of inland wetlands in India was re-evaluated taking account of database from a recent inland wetland inventory. At the local scale, drawing on the landscape characterization and the ecological economics for fresh water Lake Kolleru in India and the Muthurajawela Marsh-Negombo Lagoon coastal marsh in Sri Lanka, we illustrate some of the practical challenges in balancing wetland conservation, development needs and the overall well-being of local people. We also discuss how variability in the scale, geophysical characteristics of the site and the data availability confines the ability to simplify a single complete approach to address issues in complex ecosystem such as wetlands. All levels of the study are supported by a variety of earth observation data and the geographical information system (GIS) tools. The site level analysis also draws on socio-economic assessment tools.