The table below contrasts the conservation management approaches of adaptive and traditional linear management found in Noss and Cooperrider (1994).
Comparison of Adaptive Management and
Linear Comprehensive Management
|Parameter||Linear comprehensive management||Adaptive management|
|Concern with ecosystem||Minimal concern with ecosystem due either to belief in human ability to manipulate or restore ecosystem or to lack of concern with ecosystem degradation
|Recognition of overriding value of ecosystem and necessity of conserving a properly functioning ecosystem for many reasons|
|Knowledge of ecosystem||Assumes that ecosystems, ecosystem processes, and effects of humans on them can be easily understood and predicted by traditional reductionist science||Recognizes that ecosystems and ecosystem processes are beyond human ability to understand except in the most rudimentary way and that effects of human actions on them are to a large extent unpredictable
|Method of predicting effects of human actions||Emphasizes traditional reductionist science aided by modern high-tech tools such as computer models||Emphasizes using experience to learn incrementally, starting with small-scale experiments and slowly and cautiously gathering new knowledge
|Risk||Assumes that human actions pose little threat to ecosystems or that such risks are not a concern||Emphasizes minimizing risk to ecosystem|
|Scale – spatial||Assumes that knowledge about ecosystems and effects of humans on them can be extrapolated across large regions; bases management on assumptions that effects are local||Recognizes that local ecosystems are unique and that extrapolating across large regions is risky; recognizes that all ecosystems are connected and that local actions can have major effects on other or larger regions up to the global level|
|Scale – temporal||Assumes that effects of human activities on ecosystems are generally short-term and reversible||Recognizes that effects of human activities may be long-term and/or have time lags before effects are observed|
|Learning/monitoring||Assumes that learning from management actions is not necessary; monitoring not necessary since outcomes are predictable||Recognizes that careful and systematic monitoring is essential in order to learn how to manage ecosystems sustainably|
Noss, R.F. and A.Y. Cooperrider. 1994. Saving nature’s legacy: protecting and restoring biodiversity. Defenders of Wildlife, Island Press. 416 pp.