Adaptive management (AM) is the process of implementing land management activities in incremental steps and evaluating whether desired outcomes are being achieved at each step. If conditions deviate substantially from predictions, management activities are adjusted to achieve the desired outcomes. Thus, AM is a kind of monitoring, an activity that land management agencies have done poorly for the most part, at least with respect to ground-based monitoring. Will they do better in the future? We doubt it unless costs, personnel, and future commitment are seriously addressed. Because ecosystem responses to management impacts can ripple into the distant future, monitoring programs that address only the near future (e.g., 10–20 years), are probably unreliable for making statements about resource conditions in the distant future. We give examples of this. Feedback loops between ecosystem response and adjustment of management actions are often broken, and therefore AM again fails. Successful ground-based monitoring must address these and other points that agencies commonly ignore. As part of the solution, publics distrustful of agency activities should be included in any monitoring program.
Environmental Management – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 1, 2001
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