Adaptive Management

Essay by supersaadiJunior High, 9th gradeA-, October 2010

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Adaptive Management

Adaptive Management is a policy framework designed to utilize scientific information in formulating and improving management strategies of complex systems. Adaptive management helps policymakers and managers learn from programs so they can take systematic action to continually improve management policies. This process involves changing assumptions and interventions in order to better respond to new information. Ultimately, adaptive management is learning by doing, and it is proactive in that it does not postpone management actions until complete data or information is gathered; essentially, it is experimentation that affects social arrangements and individual lives.

Adaptive management has been defined in various ways since its development in the late 1960s. Its most effective form-"active" adaptive management-employs management programs designed to experimentally compare selected policies or practices by evaluating alternative hypotheses.

An adaptive management system has two elements: a monitoring system to measure key indicators, and a response system to modify those indicators.

Principles of adaptive management include: doing it yourself, promoting innovation, valuing and learning from failures, acknowledging that decisions are made with incomplete information, and considering all events to be learning opportunities. Adaptive management is flexible, encourages public input, and monitors the results of actions for the purpose of adjusting plans and trying new or revised approaches.


CHARACTERISTICS OFADAPTIVE management include: acknowledgement of uncertainty concerning the most appropriate policy for a management issue, thoughtful selection of the practices to be applied (assessment and design), careful implementation of a plan of action designed to reveal the critical missing knowledge, monitoring of key response indicators, analysis of the management outcomes in consideration of the original objectives, and incorporation of the results into future decisions.

While it was first developed for ecosystem management, principles of adaptive management have also been used in other fields. For example, the concept of...