Thursday, December 8, 2011

Redefining Adaptive Management

Welcome to the first LIVE blog direct from the Epsom 3 room at the Skycity convention center in Auckland. This is a special session redefining Adaptive Management organized by Craig Groves and Jensen Montambault from The Nature Conservancy. Definitions are good, so I’m looking forward to adding a new school of thought to my pantheon. I’m sitting here with Mike Runge (USGS), waiting eagerly to hear how our lives will be different. Well, maybe that’s just me.
Mike has just offered a perspective that what non-decision theoretic AM people worry about are the unknown unknowns only – the surprises that are unanticipated.
Here comes Craig Groves.
Survey of AM from conservation measures partnership
Of 7000 projects, 5% of projects do the full cycle, although 2500 have plans.
Why? AM is too complicated, and there is no mandate from senior management.
Overcoming Barriers
Use risk and leverage to guide investments in AM. Invest in projects that are high risk, with potential to generalize to other projects. Need to have the best statistics to be able to say that things are actually happening the way. They have a nice little decision tree that leads to diagnosing when an experimental approach (AM?) would be needed.
Focus AM on addressing questions that managers need to answer – This seems obvious, but it isn’t clear that he means which decision to make. Mike says “Looks like evaluation monitoring”, and I agree. is the place to go for the details, apparently.
Stop reinventing the wheel – yes! There’s 60 years of literature on decision analysis! This is a good idea, collaborate with other agencies and analyze data across projects within the TNC – but not AM.
Get senior managers to support the idea – yep, hard to disagree with that. Another signal that it is evaluation monitoring in disguise, is that they “peer review” their plans for evaluating effects.
Not all projects need scientifically rigorous AM, some do not.
Training and tools matter but so does leadership
And we need more success stories.
It’ll be interesting to see how they define success? Getting around the Plan, Do, Check, Adapt cycle? He didn’t define AM :(. 

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