Adaptive Management

A review of adaptive management approaches

Researchers: Nils Bunnefeld, Steve Redpath, Justin Irvine

Funder: Scottish Natural HeritageSNH logo

Adaptive Management (AM) is a framework for managing natural resources and is based on the principle of an iterative cycle of learning from past experience and adapting actions to environmental change. To achieve an iterative learning cycle, AM explicitly includes the development of management goals, monitoring to evaluate the success of management strategies and iterative modifications of the management actions. The main advantages of AM are that it enables decision makers to adapt to a changing environment, take into account management alternatives and explicitly address uncertainties and minimise risks in the system. Despite the simplicity of the idea and the fact that the concept has existed for more than two decades, AM is still surprisingly little practiced.

The aim of this project will be to provide a comprehensive review of adaptive management approaches that have been used to support intervention in species management interactions. The review will focus on identifying insights that can guide SNH in relation to conservation management generally, but particularly to inform SNH’s role in the management of wildlife and invasive non-native species (INNS). Specifically, this project will explore:

i) Why AM has not been more readily taken up

ii) The lessons learned where AM has been employed

iii) Produce best practice guidelines

iv) Run workshops and train stakeholders in the AM approach.

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