Adaptive ManagementAdaptive Management has referred to implementing policies as experiments. Adaptive management can more generally be defined as a systematic process for continually improving management policies and practices by learning from the outcomes of implemented management strategies. As Bormann et (1994) defined it “Adaptive management is learning to manage by managing to learn”. (In its most effective form it employs management programs that are designed to experimentally compare selected policies or practices, by evaluating alternative hypotheses about the system being managed. The goal of adaptive water management is to increase the adaptive capacity of the water system in a river basin based on a sound understanding of what determines a basin’s resilience and vulnerability.
VulnerabilityVulnerability can be defined as: “the degree to which an exposure unit is susceptible to harm due to exposure to a perturbation or stress, and the ability (or lack thereof) of the exposure unit to cope, recover, or fundamentally adapt” (Kasperson et al. 2000). Vulnerability is the underlying exposure to damaging shocks, perturbations or stresses, rather than the probability or projected incidence of those shocks themselves.
Adaptive CapacityThis working definition of vulnerability encompasses Adaptive Capacity: the potential or capability of a system to adjust, via changes in its characteristics or behaviour, so as to cope better with existing and future stresses. More specifically, adaptive capacity refers to “the ability of a socio-ecological system to cope with novelty without losing options for the future” (Folke et al. 2002) and “that reflects learning, flexibility to experiment and adopt novel solutions, and development of generalized responses to broad classes of challenges” (Walker et al. 2002). Clearly, the focus of adaptive capacity is on the management of coupled socio-ecological systems, while vulnerability primarily refers to exposure to adverse impacts.
ResilienceOne feature of vulnerability and adaptive capacity is Resilience: the amount of change a system can undergo and still retain the same controls on function and structure, the degree to which a system is capable of self-organization and the ability to build and increase the capacity for learning and adaptation (Holling 1973).
ScenariosTo choose between different management regimes requires the construction and analysis of Scenarios: plausible descriptions of how the future may develop based on a coherent and internally consistent set of assumptions about driving forces and key relationships. Scenarios may be derived from projections, but are often based on additional information from other sources, sometimes combined with a narrative storyline (McCarthy et al. 2001).
StakeholderA key element of adaptive management and the transition to more adaptive management regimes is the participation of Stakeholders: It is important to point out that stakeholders should not be confused with the public at large. A stakeholder is only defined in reference to a particular issue. “A stakeholder is an individual or group influenced by – and with an ability to significantly impact (either directly or indirectly) – the topical area of interest.” The more tangible a problem and the more long-lasting an issue is on the public agenda, the better defined and organized are stakeholder groups. “Public” is defined here as all the members of the communities or citizens, interested in the local water issues and groups of water consumers. “Stakeholders” are defined here as representatives of organisations such as water providers, firms, NGOs and official representatives of water users, who have an interest in the water issues in their case study. The split between Public Participation and Stakeholder Participation is deliberately made, since methods for encouraging their participation and the level at which these different groups can participate and their role in the process are different (Pahl-
GovernanceThe role of participatory processes is an important characteristic of the Governance system. Water governance refers to the range of political, social, economic and administrative systems that are in place to regulate the development and management of water resources and provisions of water services at different levels of society.
InstitutionsOne important aspect of governance is the role of Institutions, defined as the formal and informal rules governing the behaviour of human beings. Formal institutions include laws and regulations (such as the European Water Framework Directive), formal organizational structures and formal procedures. Informal institutions refer to the rules and norms that are followed and developed in practice.
Further related Glossaries
Last modified: Friday, 13 March 2009, 02:41 PM