Nebraska Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit


Date of this Version



D.D. Briske (ed.), Rangeland Systems, Springer Series on Environmental Management, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-46709-2_11


U.S. Government Work


Adaptive management is an approach to natural resource management that uses structured learning to reduce uncertainties for the improvement of management over time. The origins of adaptive management are linked to ideas of resilience theory and complex systems. Rangeland management is particularly well suited for the application of adaptive management, having sufficient controllability and reducible uncertainties. Adaptive management applies the tools of structured decision making and requires monitoring, evaluation, and adjustment of management. Adaptive governance, involving sharing of power and knowledge among relevant stakeholders, is often required to address conflict situations. Natural resource laws and regulations can present a barrier to adaptive management when requirements for legal certainty are met with environmental uncertainty. However, adaptive management is possible, as illustrated by two cases presented in this chapter. Despite challenges and limitations, when applied appropriately adaptive management leads to improved management through structured learning, and rangeland management is an area in which adaptive management shows promise and should be further explored.