With the increasing human influence on nature, human are facing a series of challenges such as sea level rise, biodiversity loss, declining food production and water scarcity. Adaptive management as a new approach is not a panacea for all problems, it is only appropriate in a subset of natural resource management problems where both uncertainty and controllability are high (Allen et al., 2011).
Adaptive management contains a large amount of interdisciplinary literature covering many types of resources, and a conceptual model with three phases (communicative action, self-organization and collective action) (Berkes, 2010). It has clear structure, including careful explanation of aims, identification of alternative management objectives and hypotheses of causation, and procedures for the collection of data followed by evaluation and reiteration (Allen et al., 2011). It does not ignore uncertainty or use it to preclude management actions, while it can foster resilience and flexibility to cope with an uncertain future, and develop management approaches that acknowledge inevitable changes and surprises.
Proponents of adaptive management argue that it increases knowledge acquisition rates, enhances information communication between policy participants, and provides opportunities for creating shared understandings (McLain and Lee, 1996). The implementation of adaptive management has been documented in a number of forestry, fisheries, wildlife, protected area, and wetland cases form both develop and developing countries (Berkes, 2010). However, evidence form efforts to implement the approach in New brunswick, British Columbia, Canada and the Columbia River Basin show that these goals have not been achieved totally (McLain and Lee, 1996). The data show that adaptive management relies excessively on the utilization of linear systems models, discounts nonscientific forms of knowledge, and pays inadequate attention to policy processes that promote the development of shared understandings among diverse stakeholders (McLain and Lee, 1996). In light of these, new adaptive management efforts should incorporate knowledge form multiple sources, use multiple systems models, support new forms of cooperation among stakeholders and learn form experience. It has great potential benefits when applied appropriately.
Allen, C.R., Fontaine, J.J., Pope, K.L. and Garmestani, A.S., 2011. Adaptive management for a turbulent future. Journal of Environmental Management, 92(5), pp.1339-1345.
Berkes, F., 2010. Devolution of environment and resources governance: trends and future. Environmental Conservation, 37(04), pp.489-500.
McLain, R.J. and Lee, R.G., 1996. Adaptive management: promises and pitfalls. Environmental management, 20(4), pp.437-448.