re: Challenges of AM

re: Challenges of AM by Shasta Ferranto, at 10:35 a.m. on 8 December 2009,

Thank you very much for your question Christine. Your question is astute and to answer fully would take a full report. We have tried to sum up an answer below. Please follow up with us if you would like more information.

Let us start by being clear about our definition of adaptive management. Our definition is posted in SNAMP’s glossary:

‘AM: Adaptive Management is an approach to managing forests that incorporates the uncertainty about the resource and treats management as a deliberate experiment to enhance scientific understanding about those uncertainties. Ideally, it is a participatory process that engages scientists, stakeholders and managers in a long-term relationship grounded in shared learning about the ecosystem and society.’

Here are some challenges we have that are specific to adaptive management:

1) Structuring adaptive management. Involving a university in adaptive management as a third party makes SNAMP unique.
Challenge: This adds yet another perspective to the usual agency-public or within-agency adaptive management dynamic.

2) Focusing on experimentation. Challenge: Experimentation is hard to keep separate from management – mangers want to learn before experiments are complete but in order for us to study SPLATs as they are “normally” conducted by the Forest Service we must not affect their planning or implementation too much. The Science Team works hard to be as transparent as possible but we are not able to make recommendations for management of the study area treatments.

3) Completing the adaptive management cycle. Challenges:
a. Due to the multiparty organization it is unknown if research findings/public input will ultimately feed into future management. SNAMP’s final management adaptation is to occur when the Forest Service plans more SPLAT treatments in the Sierra after the research is complete. However, the Forest Service is legally not able to “promise” it will use Science Team or public input for this final portion of the adaptive management cycle.
b. This project is 7 to 10, to possibly more years long. It will be hard to keep all parties attentive and allow for turn over – we will gain and lose shared knowledge. It is also difficult to assure consistent funding though so far the Forest Service, for their part, have done a great job.

4) Collaborating in adaptive management, conducting an open, transparent communication process where the pubic and agencies would like Science Team data as quickly as possible. Challenges:
a. Sharing data before it is fully used by the researchers is difficult. Also sharing data before data is reviewed by peers or published in journals to confirm validity is awkward and goes against normal academic processes.
b. Quickly sharing data with the agencies and public makes it difficult to avoid affecting the USFS treatments as they are developed and applied.

Please post on this discussion board if you have further question or feel free to contact at:

Thank you very much for your interest in our project,
The Public Participation Team

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