Monday, March 8, 2010

Decision Making in the Face of Scientific Uncertainty: Adaptive Management for Climate Change

An Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies Workshop
2010 North American Wildlife & Natural Resources Conference
March 22, 2010

Resource managers are often required to make tough decisions, especially when the science is uncertain. However, these decisions must be defensible if called into question. It is often unclear what the full impact of an environmental problem will be and what kind of impacts (both intended and unintended) the solution may have. Adaptation to climate change will be an especially challenging issue for management agencies because decisions will be made, in many cases, based on an incomplete understanding of climate change impacts, particularly at the local level.

Adaptive management and structured decision making are critical tools for making management decisions with incomplete information and high levels of uncertainty. Structured decision making is a decision analysis process that can help overcome challenges by breaking down difficult decisions such that a decision can be acceptable to a broad range of stakeholders. Adaptive management allows decision making to proceed even in the face of profound uncertainty about outcomes by treating management decisions as testable hypotheses.

Recognizing the importance of adaptive management and structured decision making, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ Science & Research Committee is developing a series of workshops for state fish and wildlife agencies to provide them with the tools for making decisions in a scientifically defensible manner.

The first workshop at the 2009 North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference focused on using adaptive management and structured decision making for invasive species management. For the second workshop, the Science & Research Committee, in collaboration with the Association’s Climate Change Committee, will present how adaptive management and the structured decision making process can be used to address climate change adaptation issues and can also be built into State Wildlife Action Plans revisions, as well as revisions for other plans.

Workshop Presentations:

Introduction to Adaptive Management & Structured Decision Making
Ken Williams (USGS)

Wise Decision Making for Climate Change Adaptation
Jim Nichols (USGS)

Integration of SDM into the State Wildlife Action Plans
TJ Fontaine (USGS)

Integration of Climate Change into Adaptive Management:
Adjustments in North American Waterfowl Harvest Management

Mark Koneff (USFWS)

Climate Change as an Adaptive Management Issue: Terrestrial Songbirds in Southern Appalachian
Mike Conroy (Univ. of GA)

Climate Change Effects within an Aquatic Ecosystem and Social and Economic Costs toward Mitigation in the Yakima River Basin
Alec Maule (USGS-Western Fisheries) & Lynne Koontz (USGS)

Preparing for Changes in Aquatic Resources due to Climate Change in Light of the Uncertainties of Tomorrow
Rolf Olsen (USACE)

A State Perspective: Wisconsin DNR
Jack Sullivan (WI DNR)

Opportunities for State Training
Jay Slack (USFWS) & Ken Williams (USGS)

For more information, contact Dr. Arpita Choudhury, AFWA's Science and Research Liasion at