Key Concepts for Watershed Health

The health of natural communities changes continuously.  Conditions that occur across space and time from local to global, all have an influence. Managing for health requires shifting viewpoints to consider a broad range of ecological conditions and processes, and finding innovative approaches that encourage resilience in our natural and human communities.

Concepts of watershed science guide how the five component WHAF framework is applied:

image of field ecologist and physician taking health measurements


"Health is the capacity of the land for self-renewal" Aldo Leopold

weather map


The relative dimension used to measure and study any phenomenon, such as temporal, spatial, quantitative and analytic.


turkey adult and juveniles in prairie


"To understand life, you have to study it at different scales. Each part has emergent properties that feed back into the system. The complexity of this system is incredibly humbling.” Penny Chisholm


prescribed prairie purn


'The ability to tolerate disturbance while maintaining the capacity to adapt'. A resilient system is more able to recover from stress or change without shifting to a different (often less desirable) state; and to maintain the capacity to recover from future stresses or shocks.