Adaptive (co)-management

A way of working together to solve resource problems

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Will Allen and Chris Jacobson (2009) Learning about the social elements of adaptive management in the South Island tussock grasslands of New Zealand. Chapter 6 in Adaptive Environmental Management: A Practitioner’s Guide. Book editors: Catherine Allan & George Stansky – Springer and CSIRO publishing pp. 95-114. Online copy available at
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Plummer, R., D. R. Armitage, and R. C. de Loë. 2013. Adaptive comanagement and its relationship to environmental governance. Ecology and Society 18(1): 21.
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Adaptive management or co-management allows for a participatory approach to management that gives local resource users the opportunity to influence decisions regarding the future of the environment in which they live and operate. Results suggest that involving diverse and sometimes adversarial interests in the monitoring process can help resolve conflicts, advance learning, improve the information base for management and build on the collective understanding of the fine relationship between people and their environment.

Adaptive (co)-management is about improving the SHARED UNDERSTANDING of resource systems to achieve management objectives. It is about taking ACTION through partnership to improve progress towards desired outcomes. Adaptive (co)-management is a participatory approach to management that gives local resource users, iwi and hapu, the opportunity to influence decisions regarding the future of the environment in which they live and operate. It focuses on partnerships of resource managers, scientists and other stakeholders who learn together how to understand, create and maintain sustainable resource systems.

Adaptive management is about IMPROVING MANAGEMENT, and working to integrate existing forms of knowledge (iwi/hapu/community and scientific) so that guidelines for best management practice can be developed. Adaptive management helps resource managers maintain FLEXIBILTY in their decisions, knowing that they don’t know everything and uncertainties exist. The process provides managers with the ability to change direction. What is LEARNED (through data collection, monitoring and reflection) informs decisions and is used to change both goals and strategies (or policies and practice). In essence, adaptive management is seen to be learning by doing, and adapting based on what is learned!

Key idea: Adaptive management is designed to improve understanding of how a resource system works, so as to achieve management objectives.

Panui

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