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Adaptive Management: The U.S. Department of the Interior Applications Guide

Overview

Adaptive management promotes flexible decision-making in cases where natural resources are responsive to management, but there is uncertainty about the impacts of management interventions. It is an iterative process of learning by doing – using science while applying management action.

Adaptive Management: The U.S. Department of the Interior Applications Guide uses natural resource examples to demonstrate how adaptive management can be implemented in the field. The first half of the guide covers the foundations and challenges of adaptive management, including summaries of the principles and relevant issues. This is followed by descriptions of potential and actual applications in four thematic areas:

  • climate change
  • water resources
  • energy resources
  • the interface of human and natural systems

Case studies show how adaptive management can be used for both management and learning.

This document builds on the framework for adaptive management presented in Adaptive Management: The U.S. Department of the Interior Technical Guide.

Contents

Preface
Executive Summary
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
CHAPTER 2: FRAMEWORK OF ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT
2.1. Learning-based natural resource management
2.2. Natural resource context for adaptive management
2.3. Adaptive decision making defined
2.4. Conditions warranting the use of adaptive management
2.5. Set-up phase of adaptive management
2.6. Iterative phase of adaptive management
2.7. Institutional learning
CHAPTER 3: IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES
3.1. Geographic scale
3.2. Surprise, resilience, and flexibility
3.3. Evaluating adaptive management
3.4. Impediments and alternatives to adaptive management
3.5. Organizations and adaptive learning
3.6. Statutory and regulatory considerations
CHAPTER 4: UNCERTAINTY AND LEARNING
4.1. Components of uncertainty
4.2. Systemic resource changes over time
4.3. Models, management alternatives, and learning
4.4. Example: Uncertainty and learning in waterfowl management
CHAPTER 5: COMPONENTS OF THE SET-UP PHASE OF ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT
5.1. Stakeholder involvement
5.2. Objectives
5.3. Management alternatives
5.4. Predictive models
5.5. Monitoring protocols
CHAPTER 6: COMPONENTS OF THE ITERATIVE PHASE OF ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT
6.1. Decision making
6.2. Follow-up monitoring
6.3. Assessment
6.4. Learning and feedback
6.5. Institutional learning
CHAPTER 7: INTEGRATING THE COMPONENTS OF ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT
7.1. Tallapoosa River – R.L. Harris Dam in Alabama
7.2. Red knots and horseshoe crabs in Delaware Bay
7.3. Southeastern pine forests and red-cockaded woodpeckers
7.4. Golden eagles in Denali National Park
CHAPTER 8: FUTURE DIRECTIONS
References
Appendix: Overviews of Selected Examples
Glossary

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