Why adapt?

Adaptive management means strong feedback from monitoring systems to management decisions, and is recommended in managing complex and uncertain issues. Good adaptive management accelerates learning through actively identifying and testing social and biophysical assumptions that sit behind the ‘theory of action’. There are two complementary streams to contemporary adaptive management literature use of modelling tools to explore future scenarios, and understanding social processes of learning and change.


Adaptive management is one of those things that is often mentioned but rarely done well. Most policy and planning adaptation is a passive and reactive process. The uncertainties in understanding broad-scale natural resource processes make adaptive management essential, but also very challenging. Large scale experiments are often impractical, so a multiple lines of evidence approach is needed. The negotiation of responses across institutions and scales is also often problematic.


  • Design or review of adaptive management strategies
  • Facilitation of review processes
  • Identification and negotiation of research priorities

Further Information

Examples of adaptive management projects