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The ecosystem approach

The Waikato Regional Council uses an ecosystem approach when managing the environment. This means we try to be aware of the links between the air, land, water and coast and the plants and animals which live there.

How the Environment, people and the economy are related.

The way we live, how we use our land, what we buy and use affects how healthy our environment is. In turn, everything we do - building towns, turning forests into farms, using cars - depends on a healthy environment: clean water, clean air, healthy soil and a variety of life forms.

Managing the environment using the ecosystem approach means:

  • understanding the natural processes that support life
  • understanding the links between air, water, land and all living things (including humans)
  • being aware of the links between environmental, economic, social and cultural values and concerns and
  • working with other resource managers, resource users, land owners, and communities.

The figure above shows how the environment, people and the economy are related.
It’s easy for us to use nature’s resources to suit our short term needs. To have a healthy environment in the long term, we must understand more about natural processes and how people affect them. Find out how we can work out how much our environment and its services are worth.

To keep our environment healthy, we may have to change the way we do things in the future.
We try to reduce the effects of human use of resources and encourage other resource managers to do the same. Find out more about the steps that you can take to help the environment.

Find out how we measure the impact our lifestyles have on the environment, in our Regional Ecological Footprint indicator.