This discussion paper presents a summary of first principles and key attributes related to effective governance in the context of Adaptive Management (AM). It draws upon lessons learned from other AM programs, primarily in North America. The intent is to organize this experience to provide insight and stimulate discussion for those working on the collaborative development of an effective system of governance for AM in the Missouri River Recover Program (MRRP). This document is not meant to be prescriptive about what type of governance should be established.
Although several definitions of governance are available, a broadly held view is that it includes a consideration of authority, decision-making, and accountability. The concept of “adaptive governance” has recently emerged in the context of AM which adds a consideration of the need for organizational and institutional flexibility to cope with uncertainty and change.
While AM has been applied for several decades, implementation has not been easy. Obstacles include concerns that implementing and rigorously evaluating management actions different from the status quo may be too costly, too risky, and/or contrary to values of some stakeholders, as well as perceptions that a shift to AM threatens existing management, research and monitoring programs. Effective governance can help to address some of these obstacles by openly addressing differences in value preferences and beliefs about causation, which tend to be at the root of disagreements that inhibit progress on AM.Keyword Tags: