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Conceptual Innovation in Environmental Policy$
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James Meadowcroft and Daniel J. Fiorino

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262036580

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262036580.001.0001

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Adaptive Management: Popular but Difficult to Implement

Adaptive Management: Popular but Difficult to Implement

(p.155) 7 Adaptive Management: Popular but Difficult to Implement
Conceptual Innovation in Environmental Policy

Judith A. Layzer

Alexis Schulman

The MIT Press

Popularized by scientists in the 1970s, adaptive management is an integrative, multi-disciplinary approach to managing landscapes and natural resources. Despite its broad appeal many critics complain that adaptive management rarely works in practice as prescribed in theory. This chapter traces the history and evolution of the concept and assess its implementation challenges. One reason adaptive management has not always delivered on its promise to make natural resource management more “rational” is that in the real world of policymaking scientists and natural resource managers must contend with advocates that have conflicting values and goals. Scientists and managers also operate in the context of institutions that create particular constraints and opportunities, and are generally inflexible and resistant to change. In recognition of these sociopolitical realities, the focus of much adaptive management practice and scholarship has shifted to governance, particularly collaboration with stakeholders, transformation of the institutions responsible for management, and the process of social learning.

Keywords:   Adaptive Management, Collaborative Adaptive Management, Environmental Governance, Environmental Politics, North American Waterfowl Plan, Glen Canyon Dam, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

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