ODEMM Approach

ODEMM focuses on the structure, tools and resources required to choose and evaluate management options that are based on the principles of Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM). The approach proposed is one which can translate policy driver objectives to an operational process of creating, appraising and choosing management options to inform decision makers. The components of the overall approach, plus the linkages between them, are illustrated in the figure below. The tools and knowledge (Resources) developed in ODEMM address particular aspects of the overall approach. Hover over the Resources toolbar on the right and see the parts of the process that are addressed by a particular resource highlighted in the ODEMM Approach diagram below. You can then use the Resource links to find out more...


The approach to management of the marine environment is evolving to one in which there may be less detail but greater overall understanding of the whole system. Ecosystem-based management (EBM) allows for a holistic view that includes humans and their activities, and the ecosystem services that ecosystems provide to humans as an integral part of the ecosystem. It is largely accepted that an ecosystem-based approach to management is required to deal with the increasing human use of the marine environment

Over time, the need for an ecosystem-based approach to management has been recognised in policy, with progression from the appreciation of the place of human activities in the ecosystem, to the clear objective of achieving an ecosystem approach to management. Nevertheless, fully implementing a holistic approach like EBM is not straightforward.

ODEMM considered there to be five key principles to an approach that would make EBM operational. It must:

  1. Have clear objectives that are linked to relevant policy and to then link these objectives to specific components of the ecosystem (= work within a fully integrated ecosystem assessment framework)
  2. Account for all possible interactions that are relevant to the policy objectives no matter how insignificant they may at first seem (be holistic), and then be able to weight and rationalise what is important and what management and/or monitoring and research should focus on
  3. Be based on structured, transparent and repeatable analyses that can work in data-poor situations (as well as those that are data-rich), because EBM should be holistic in evaluation of objectives
  4. Include evaluation of management options that considers the implications in terms of ecological, social and economic outcomes (be able to consider trade-offs)
  5. Have clear consideration of the relevant governance settings and how these might influence performance in achieving the EBM goals, at both a broad and specific (e.g. Management Option Evaluation) level

The ODEMM Approach allows identification of key human activities or sectors, ecological components and ecosystem services – and the linkages between them, supporting the identification of threats. Following this it is then possible to create management options and to then consider the trade-offs faced between different management strategies.

Consult our fully accessible report 'Towards Delivering Ecosystem-Based Marine Management: The ODEMM Approach' for further information on all our work: ODEMM Report.pdf

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