Environmental management takes an approach of managing an entire ecosystem instead of focusing only on specific resources, such as air, water or trees. A plan must balance the needs of humans as well as the environment.
Before environmental management was prevalent in the United States, there was a focus on natural resources management. Groups sought to draw attention to specific examples of natural resources exploitation, such as deforestation of an area in the name of real estate development.
In the 21st century, environmental management involves integrating the safeguarding of natural resources and ecosystems with land development. Integration means that whenever a change is proposed that will affect the environment, such as construction, various impacts will factor into the selection of a solution.
The goals of environmental management are long-term, not merely reactionary as is natural resource management. The planning of how to safeguard resources for the future includes considering both short-term and long-term consequences. This is sometimes called stewardship instead of resource management.
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