Adaptive Management for Environmental Professionals

This course will explore the history, policy and legal contexts, and implementation of adaptive management in the United States. Participants will gain hands-on experience in developing conceptual models and theories of change to identify hypotheses that are feasible to test iteratively through the adaptive management process. The instructors will address assessment and synthesis of scientific information, specification of success criteria, and adjustment of models and actions, including monitoring. Additionally, the class will discuss incorporation of stakeholders into the adaptive management process.

The course also will introduce quantitative methods that can be applied to iteratively test the hypotheses and refine management objectives. Students will discuss sampling design, trade-offs in use of surrogate measures of ecological status, and rigorous methods for estimation of parameters when field data are limited. These components of the course largely will be descriptive; advanced training in mathematics or statistics is not necessary. Instructors and participants will illustrate and explore various topics through case studies in California and the western United States.


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