Sites and Places

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Place Icon.jpg
To help us talk about ecosystem restoration, we need some way of dividing the ecosystem into meaningful pieces. The theories of process based restoration suggest that we better manage ecosystems by recognizing the ecosystem processes responsible for structuring the landscape. Toward this end, we have begun to identify a system of ecosystem sites in contrast to the myriad way that people identify places.
Ecosystem places in North Thurston county, with two deltas in light green, a profusion of distinct beach systems in gold, intersected by embayments in dark green, with light blue floodplains fed by streams, and dark blue watersheds

We suggest seven different kinds of sites. Each site encompasses a landform with a distinct structure, shaped by distinct processes. These landforms shape our patterns of development and management, and provide a potential suite of ecosystem goods and services. We have derived our sites from the following efforts:

While this system of sites might satisfy planners and spatial analysts, most people identify places based on local traditions, as part of a cultural or political landscape. Counties, Inlets and Peninsulas, and Water Resource Inventory Areas are all places recognized by different communities. Ecosystems are more easily studied by considering ecosystem sites, while human systems are bound to their own definiton of place.

So on the wiki, we differentiate between sites--specific management units based on our version of best available ecosystem planning--and places--which currently drive our identity, as well as governmental and political activity.