Wildlife Management Institute

Second Climate Change Workshop to Address Adaptive Management and a Structured Decision-making Process PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 15 December 2009 13:56

“Decision Making in the Face of Scientific Uncertainty: Adaptive Management for Climate Change” is the title of a workshop to be held 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, Monday, March 23, 2010, during the 75th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This workshop, hosted by the Science and Research Committee and the Climate Change Committee of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), will precede a Monday afternoon workshop “The Impacts of Climate Change Legislation on Natural Resource Conservation,” hosted by the National Wildlife Federation and the Wildlife Management Institute.

Resource managers often are 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. There is growing scientific consensus that a major shift in climate is underway worldwide, with profound implications for natural resource management. 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. Adaptive management allows decision making to proceed even in the face of profound uncertainty about outcomes by treating management decisions as testable hypotheses. 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.

“Decision Making in the Face of Scientific Uncertainty: Adaptive Management for Climate Change” is the second in a series of workshops being developed by AFWA to provide state fish and wildlife agencies them tools for making decisions in a scientifically defensible manner. The first workshop, held during the 74th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in March 2009, focused on using adaptive management and structured decision making for invasive species management.

The second workshop will focus on how adaptive management and a structured decision-making process can be used to address local climate change-adaptation issues. It also will address how that process can be built into revisions of State Wildlife Action Plans and other plans. Local examples will be featured to demonstrate how adaptive management and structured decision making can be used for climate change-based, natural resource issues. Speakers from both state and federal agencies will involve participants in discussions on the decision-making process and adaptive management as they pertain to climate change.

For questions and additional information about this second AFWA workshop, contact Arpita Choudhury achoudhury@fishwildlife.org. You can find additional information about the afternoon climate change workshop and/or the 75th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference at the WMI Web site.