Adaptive management and adaptive governance in the everglades ecosystem

Gunderson, L. & S.S. Light. 2006. Adaptive management and adaptive governance in the everglades ecosystem. Policy Science 39:323-334.

The Everglades is perhaps one of the most engineered ecosystems in the world. Since the early 1900's, water flow in the Everglades has been managed for agricultural and urban use. Beginning in the 1990's, ecological restoration has also been an important goal in this region. Everglades restoration and management is characterized by both ecological and institutional complexity.

This article focuses on the history and challenges of management and restoration in the Everglades with a focus on adaptive management and adaptive governance. The authors posit that adaptive management has failed and that social institutions are resilient in continuing to inhibit environmental problem solving. In spite of many attempts at adaptive management through various policy initiatives over a period of decades, these institutions are trapped in pattern of "scientific management." The authors advocate a transition to adaptive governance. They described adaptive governance as a multi-disciplinary system of cross-scale linkages where social learning and adaptive management experiments are encouraged.

Pros: Interesting overview of the social aspects of Everglades restoration; interesting ideas about adaptive management and adaptive governance.

Cons: Very jargony, at least to someone who normally doesn't read this sort of literature, and I think the authors have a personal history of involvment in the politics around this issue which I'm sure colors their perspective on it.

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