Ecological Spheres of Influence


Anyone familiar with this term?

I’ve heard it tossed around in land use debates–a municipality or entity can have a sphere of influence over a physical location even if it is technically out of their jurisdiction–and it has a particular stickiness to it. (Side note: I’m reading Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point and finding it ironic that the term “sticky” is in itself sticky. It’s meta-stickiness)

The idea of ecological spheres of influence have been bouncing around in my mind lately, and I don’t know how it got there (did I make it up, or just absorb it from someone else) or how to get it out. It would go something like recognizing that actions that we take in one ecological or physical or dimensional space have ecological ramifications that go beyond agency jurisdiction or ecosystem delineation.

The best example I can give is the Salinas Riparian issue that Coastkeeper Steve has been working so hard on. What happens to the river CLEARLY has an affect on otters–the erosion potential, the sediment going down stream, the chemicals attached to the sediment all flowing into otter habitat–how could it not? Yet it’s really difficult to build a legal case around it because of jurisdictional issues.

If only ecological sphere’s of influence could get some recognition. What do you think? Have you heard this term before? Am I just making stuff up again? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

At any rate, have a good weekend.

About Allison

I am the new Executive Director of The Otter Project in Monterey, California! Originally from the Bay Area, I went to school in San Diego, and came back north to Monterey for graduate school, where I found my calling: saving sea otters! Working for The Otter Project combines my passion for environmental policy with my love of animals. When not advocating for sea otters, I enjoy yoga, volunteer wildlife rehab, reading, and spending time with my cat Alyssa, who, for the record, I did not name. I have been with The Otter Project since November of 2007.
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