Adaptive Resource Management
What is Adaptive Resource Management

At least four states, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Montana, and Colorado have developed management objectives using adaptive management as a framework.  Some of the literature explaining the adaptive approach appears below.

Adaptive Management  This link to a USGS site offers the following information and a list of research links for adaptive management.  

"Adaptive Management is a structured approach to resource management. Through this iterative process, managers and scientists team together to improve resource management over time by learning from management outcomes. Adaptive Management entails a multi-step process:

1. Considering various actions to meet management objectives;

2. Predicting the outcomes of these management actions based on what is currently known;

3. Implementing management actions;

4. Monitoring to observe the results of those actions; and

5. Using the results to update knowledge and adjust future management actions accordingly.

By repeating this cycle and increasing to the body of knowledge about the system in question, managers are able to refine their prescriptions to more closely meet the original objectives."

Adaptive Management (U.S. Department of Interior Technical Guide)  "is a decision process that promotes flexible decision making that can be adjusted in the face of uncertainties as outcomes from management actions and other events become better understood. Careful monitoring of these outcomes both advances scientific understanding and helps adjust policies or operations as part of an iterative learning process. Adaptive management also recognizes the importance of natural variability in contributing to ecological resilience and productivity. It is not a ‘trial and error’ process, but rather emphasizes learning while doing. Adaptive management does not represent an end in itself, but rather a means to more effective decisions and enhanced benefits. Its true measure is in how well it helps meet environmental, social, and economic goals; increases scientific knowledge; and reduces tensions among stakeholders."

Adaptive management - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia  Adaptive management (AM), also known as adaptive resource management (ARM), is a structured, iterative process of optimal decision making in the face of ...

Applying Advanced Technologies For Adaptive Management and Decision Support in Natural Resources Daniel Goodman,Professor, Biology Department, Montana State University, Richard S. Sojda Wildlife Biologist, USDI - Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division; and Biology Department, Montana State University "Adaptive management is an explicit and analytical process for adjusting management and research decisions to better achieve management objectives; and this process should be quantitative wherever feasible. Adaptive management recognizes that knowledge about natural resource systems is uncertain. Therefore, some management actions are best conducted as experiments in a continuing attempt to reduce the risk arising from that uncertainty. The aim of such experimentation is to find a way to achieve the objectives as quickly as possible while avoiding inadvertent mistakes that could lead to unsatisfactory results. 

The concept of adaptive management is readily understood because it represents the common sense of "learning by doing". However, actually implementing adaptive management is neither simple nor intuitive. This complexity stems from the large number of interconnected potential scenarios, the related uncertainties, and the intricacy of necessary computations. Advanced technologies provide the decision support tools to help managers organize the relevant information, simplify the analysis of the scenarios, and assist in the search for optimal solutions."

Integrating Ecological and Human Dimensions in Adaptive Management of Wildlife-Related Impacts  ODY W. ENCK, DANIEL J. DECKER, SHAWN J. RILEY, JOHN F. ORGAN, LEN H. CARPENTER, and WILLIAM F. SIEMER.    Wildlife Society Bulletin 34(3):698-705. 2006 doi: 10.2193/0091-7648(2006)34[698:IEAHDI]2.0.CO;2
"Adaptive wildlife management seeks to improve the integration of science and management by focusing decision-making on hypothesis-testing and structuring management actions as field experiments. Since the early 1990s, adaptive resource management (ARM) has advocated enhancing scientific rigor in evaluating management actions chosen to achieve “enabling objectives” typically directed at wildlife habitat or population characteristics. More recently, the concept of adaptive impact management (AIM) has emphasized a need to articulate “fundamental objectives” in terms of wildlife-related impacts to be managed. Adaptive impact management seeks to clarify why management is undertaken in a particular situation. Understanding the “why” question is viewed in AIM as a prerequisite for establishing enabling objectives, whether related to changes in wildlife habitats and populations or to human beliefs and behaviors. This article describes practical aspects of AIM by exploring relationships between AIM and ARM within a comprehensive model of decision-making for wildlife management. Adaptive impact management clarifies and differentiates fundamental objectives (i.e., wildlife-related impacts to be modified) and enabling objectives (i.e., conditions that affect levels of impacts), whereas ARM reduces uncertainty about how to achieve enabling objectives and seeks an optimal management alternative through hypothesis-testing. "

Adaptive Management  Adaptive management is an approach to natural resource policy that ..... at the relationship between deer and elk and their habitats in coastal forests. ...

Sci-Tech Encyclopedia:  Adaptive management:  "An approach to management of natural resources that emphasizes how little is known about the dynamics ofecosystems and that as more is learned management will evolve and improve. Natural systems are very complex and dynamic, and human observations about natural processes are fragmentary and inaccurate. As a result, the best way to use the available resources in a sustainable manner remains to be determined. Furthermore, much of the variability that affects natural populations is unpredictable and beyond human control. This combination of ignorance and unpredictability means that the ways in which ecosystems respond to human interventions are unknown and can be described only in probabilistic terms. Nonetheless, management decisions need to be made. Adaptive management proceeds despite this uncertainty by treating human interventions in natural systems as large-scale experiments from which more may be learned, leading to improved management in the future."
ARM! For the future: adaptive resource management in the wildlife ...  by RA Lancia - 1996  For the future: adaptive resource management in the wildlife profession. Author(s): Lancia, Richard A.; Braun, Clait E.; Collopy, Michael W.; Dueser, ...
Deer Management: Our Profession's Symbol of Success or Failure?  by A Woolf - 1998    repetitious controversy over deer management. Proponents of adaptive resource management (Mc-. Nab 1983, Lancia et al. 1993) would offer that para- ...


Adaptive Impact Management: An Integrative Approach to Wildlife ... 

by SJ RILEY - "Wildlife professionals need better ways to integrate ecological and human dimensions of wildlife management. A focus on impacts, guided by a structured decision process, will orient wildlife management toward rigorous, integrative decision making."

Benson, Melinda Harm, Adaptive Management Approaches by Resource Management Agencies in the United States: Implications for Energy Development in the Interior West (February 18, 2010). Journal of Energy and Natural Resources Law, Vol. 29, No. 1, pp. 87-118, 2010. Available at SSRN: ttp://  "Adaptive management is gaining influence among natural resource management decision-makers. In the United States, the Department of the Interior is now encouraging its agencies to utilise adaptive management when ‘appropriate.’ This is a positive step in natural resource management, reflecting a growing recognition of the need to integrate scientific uncertainty more effectively into agency planning and resource development. This newmanagement scheme has potentially significant implications for energy development and its corresponding impacts on water and other resources. The US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is the primary agency responsible for managing 700 million subsurface acres of mineral estate. This article examines how the BLM might employ adaptive management in the context of oil and gas development to better protect resources in areas such as Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, where extraction of coal-bed methane has created significant controversy."

ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT AND THE REGULATION OF WATERFOWL HARVESTS:   " Managing adaptively requires feedback between management and assessment, when each activity influences the other. Thus, managers must assess a managed system periodically and somehow adapt decisions to the system state while accounting for uncertainty about the effects of those decisions. Adaptive management is sometimes described as "embracing" uncertainty (Walters 1986), in that it recognizes uncertainty as an attribute of management, and uses management itself as a tool to accelerate the reduction in uncertainty"  Byron K. Williams, U.S. Geological Survey, Division of Biological Resources, Fred A. Johnson, Office of Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  (* originally published in 1995 in The Wildlife Society Bulletin, Vol. 23(3):430-436)

Case of Adaptive Resource Management as Applied in Pennsylvania
Restoration of white tail deer populations in the early part of the 1900s was one of the great success stories of modern conservation.  Are there now too many deer in Pennsylvania?
In a report convened by Audubon Pennsylvania, Adaptive Resource Management is used as the scientific basis for the following  policy recommendation on the management of forests and wildlife:  " (1)  Until proven otherwise, policy makers should assume that the consensus view on the impacts of the current high densities of white-tailed deer of forest ecosystems is correct."
As discussed in links on this page, formal adaptive resource management recommends exploration of alternative views in developing policy, not on the acceptance of a consensus view without regard to other possible views.  In applying adaptive resource management, state officials workings on the project have announced they will examine an alternative theory that acid rain is the culprit for some of the forest damage.  The Audubon Society of Pennsylvania explains its position in the video below.
What is the consensus view?  A recent study of wildflowers in Pennsylvannia concludes there is not enough baseline data to tell if the deer have had a negative impact on wildflowers or even if wildflowers are are in decline.  As discussed in the following videos from Pennsylvania Fish and Game a survey explored the consensus view that deer eat plants.

Pennsvylania Deer Management Policy, Part 1


Pennsylvania's Deer Management Policy, Part 2

Pennsylvania's Deer Management Polcy, Part 3

A recent review of the Pennsylvannia policy concludes that it it based on "inadequate science" .  In the policy announcement, the importance of scientific approaches is repeated throughout.  Pennsylvania's Representative Murt comments on concerns about reduced deer populations in parts of Pennsylvania in the video below.

The Penn State video below gives a history of deer management and a view that deer need to be kept out of deer habitat so that it will be available for future deer.

Adaptive Resource Management

Effective monitoring for adaptive wildlife management: lessons from the Galapagos Islands  JP Gibbs, HL Snell, CE Causton - The Journal of Wildlife Management, 1999 - JSTOR  ... with regulatory require- ments, and detection of incipient change in wildlife populations and habitats ... consider monitoring simply as the measurement of temporal changes in wild- life indicators (Goldsmith ... is most useful if explicitly linked to the objectives of resource management. ...