Adaptive Management

A systematic, practical approach to improving resource management policies and practices.

The possible situations that may arise over the course of a 20-year plan period cannot all be accounted for during the planning process. Actions and plans will need to be adjusted over time. By monitoring the urban forest system, information can be gathered to make these adjustments: adaptive management.

Adaptive management promotes flexible decision making that can be adjusted in the face of uncertainties, as outcomes from management actions and other events become better understood. Some of the characteristics of adaptive management include:

  • monitoring
  • analysis of the treatment outcomes in consideration of the original objectives
  • incorporation of the results into revised treatment decisions.

Regular monitoring can reveal new issues that were not addressed in the plan. For example, the introduction of a new pest or disease could require changes to the plan. New management goals or objectives may need to be added, with corresponding actions and monitoring. By providing for regular evaluation and revision of the plan as part of the ongoing management process, the need for change can be identified before a crisis develops.

Adaptive management is a systematic, practical approach to improving resource management policies and practices. It provides a structured process for learning which actions best meet management objectives, and for reducing resource management uncertainty.

Please find additional links and definitions on the toolkit website under the Resources page.