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Adaptive Management of Social-Ecological Systems: The Path Forward
Allen, C. AND A. Garmestani. Adaptive Management of Social-Ecological Systems: The Path Forward. Chapter 14, Adaptive Management of Social-Ecological Systems. Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht, Netherlands, , 255-262, (2015).
Adaptive management is derived from resilience theory, and originally was developed as a way to explore the resilience of ecosystems without exceeding the resilience of the system of interest. Ecosystems are characterized by complexity and in most cases, there is basic uncertainty regarding their dynamics. Uncertainty in the response of linked social-ecological systems to management interventions necessitates that an adaptive approach be utilized.
Adaptive management remains at the forefront of environmental management nearly 40 years after its original conception, largely because we have yet to develop other methodologies that offer the same promise. Despite the criticisms of adaptive management and the numerous failed attempts to implement it, adaptive management has yet to be replaced with a better alternative. The concept persists because it is simple, allows action despite uncertainty, and fosters learning. Moving forward, adaptive management of social-ecological systems provides policymakers, managers and scientists a powerful tool for managing for resilience in the face of uncertainty.