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Ecomimicry in Indigenous resource management: optimizing ecosystem services to achieve resource abundance, with examples from Hawaiʻi

Kawika B Winter, Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa; Natural Resources and Environmental Management, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa; National Tropical Botanical Garden; Hawaiʻi Conservation Alliance
Noa Kekuewa Lincoln, Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences Department, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Fikret Berkes, Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba
Rosanna A. Alegado, Department of Oceanography, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa; University of Hawaiʻi Sea Grant College Program, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Natalie Kurashima, Natural and Cultural Resources, Kamehameha Schools
Kiana L. Frank, Pacific Biosciences Research Center, Kewalo Marine Lab, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Puaʻala Pascua, Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural History
Yoshimi M Rii, Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa; Department of Oceanography, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Frederick Reppun, Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Ingrid S.S. Knapp, Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Will C McClatchey, Woodland Valley Meadows Farm
Tamara Ticktin, School of Life Sciences, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Celia Smith, School of Life Sciences, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Erik C. Franklin, Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Kirsten Oleson, Natural Resources and Environmental Management, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Melissa R Price, Natural Resources and Environmental Management, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Margaret A. McManus, Department of Oceanography, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Megan J. Donahue, Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Kuulei S Rodgers, Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Brian W. Bowen, Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Craig E. Nelson, Department of Oceanography, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa; University of Hawaiʻi Sea Grant College Program, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Bill Thomas, Office for Coastal Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Jo-Ann Leong, Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Elizabeth M. P. Madin, Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Malia Ana J. Rivera, Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Kim A. Falinski, The Nature Conservancy of Hawaiʻi
Leah L. Bremer, University of Hawaiʻi Economic Research Organization, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa; Water Resources Research Center, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Jonathan L. Deenik, Tropical Plants and Soil Sciences, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Sam M. Gon III, The Nature Conservancy of Hawaiʻi
Brian Neilson, Division of Aquatic Resources, Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources
Ryan Okano, Division of Aquatic Resources, Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources
Anthony Olegario, Division of Aquatic Resources, Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources
Ben Nyberg, National Tropical Botanical Garden
A. Hiʻilei Kawelo, Paepae o Heʻeia
Keliʻi Kotubetey, Paepae o Heʻeia
J. Kānekoa Kukea-Shultz, Kākoʻo ʻŌiwi; The Nature Conservancy of Hawaiʻi
Robert J. Toonen, Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-11539-250226

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Abstract

Here, we expand on the term “ecomimicry” to be an umbrella concept for an approach to adaptive ecosystem-based management of social-ecological systems that simultaneously optimizes multiple ecosystem services for the benefit of people and place. In this context, we define ecomimicry as a strategy for developing and managing cultural landscapes, built upon a deep understanding of the structure and function of ecosystems, that harnesses ecosystem processes for the purpose of balancing and sustaining key ecosystem services, rather than maximizing one service (e.g., food production) to the detriment of others. Ecomimicry arises through novel, place-based innovations or is adopted from elsewhere and adapted to local conditions. Similarly, precontact Hawaiian social-ecological systems integrated a variety of ecomimicry schema to engender a complex system of adaptive resource management that enhanced biocultural diversity and supported resilient food systems, ultimately sustaining a thriving human population. In addition to presenting a synopsis of how ecomimicry was employed in the design and management of Hawaiian social-ecological systems, we identify and characterize specific ecomimicry applications. Within this context, we explore a revival of ecomimicry for biological conservation, biocultural restoration, resilience, and food security. We conclude with a discussion of how revitalizing such an approach in the restoration of social-ecological systems may address issues of conservation and sustainability in the Anthropocene.

Key words

agroecology; ecosystem-based management; Hawaiian resource management; social-ecological systems theory

Copyright © 2020 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article  is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.  You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087