Components, processes and drivers
To manage an ecosystem, it is important to understand what it is made of and how its various parts work and interact.
Appreciating how the various parts or components work and interact (the processes) helps us identify, plan for and manage all those aspects of a wetland that enables it to deliver the many services that we depend on and value.
Wetland components refer to the parts that comprise an ecosystem and include things such as plants, animals, soil and water. While the processes relate to the interactions between the components. The drivers are the reason these interactions occur.
A process relates to interactions between different components (e.g. water eroding soil and depositing it somewhere else). Sometimes interactions between different processes can also occur (e.g. two different chemical processes interacting with each other).
Environmental processes might take place within a wetland but they may also happen across a whole catchment or the broader landscape. When managing a wetland it is important that the surrounding landscape is considered as this can have a major effect on the wetland and the values and services it provides.
In very basic terms a driver is the thing that causes a process to start. Drivers can be a component or process that causes a change in an organism, community, ecosystem, or other component or process (e.g. the universe, catchment, landscape, wetland to an organism). So a driver (e.g. fire, rain or development) causes a process (e.g. fluvial or chemical) to impact on a component (e.g. soil, geology, water, air).
The list of drivers can vary depending on the scale or the topic being addressed. Many assessments focus on human related drivers to determine potential pressures on values and services, such as the State of the Environment Reporting (Drivers-Pressures-State-Impacts-Response framework). Drivers may include
Last updated: 22 March 2013
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Components, processes and drivers, WetlandInfo, Department of Environment and Science, Queensland, viewed 11 February 2019, .