Adaptive management is a structured decision-making process that emphasizes uncertainty about how resources will respond to management actions and the value of reducing that uncertainty to improve management. It holds great promise for improving the effective management of natural resource systems, but not all resource management problems can or should be solved using adaptive management. Contrary to the popular view that an adaptive approach can produce results quickly at low cost, effective use of adaptive management requires an initial investment of time and effort, as well as patience, flexibility, and support over the life of the project.
Adaptive Management: The U.S. Department of the Interior Technical Guide addresses four basic questions:
- What is adaptive management?
- When should it be used?
- How should it be implemented?
- How can its success be recognized and measured?
The companion document, 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.
Problem-Scoping Key for Adaptive Management
CHAPTER 1: WHAT IS ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT?
1.1. Decision making and natural resource management
1.2. Operational definition of adaptive management
CHAPTER 2: WHEN SHOULD ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT BE USED?
2.1. Conditions that warrant an adaptive management approach
2.2. Institutional context for adaptive management
2.3. Limitations of adaptive management
2.4. Benefits and challenges in using adaptive management
CHAPTER 3: HOW SHOULD ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT BE IMPLEMENTED?
3.1. Operational sequence for adaptive management
3.2. Legal considerations when applying adaptive management
CHAPTER 4: WHEN IS ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT SUCCESSFUL?
4.1. Recognizing success in adaptive management
4.2. Key questions for successful implementation
CHAPTER 5: OTHER OPERATIONAL ISSUES
5.1. Uses of information in natural resource management
5.2. Accounting for uncertainty in adaptive management.
5.3. The measurement of learning
5.4. Learning organizations
5.5 Realistic expectations for adaptive management