This approach to evaluation and interim adjustment will frame a process of adaptive management, permitting effective response to changing knowledge. Adaptive management is a continuing process of action-based monitoring, researching, evaluating and adjusting with the objective of improving the implementation and achieving the goals of the Resource Management Plan. The Resource Management Plan is based on current scientific knowledge. To be successful, it must have the flexibility to adapt and respond to new information. Under the concept of adaptive management, new information will be evaluated and a decision will be made whether to make adjustments or changes. The adaptive management approach will enable resource managers to determine how well management actions meet their objectives and what steps are needed to modify activities to increase success or improve results.
The adaptive management process will be implemented to maximize the benefits and efficiency of the Resource Management Plan. This may result in the refinement of management direction or land-use allocations which may require amendment of the Resource Management Plan. Adaptive management decisions may vary in scale from individual watersheds, specific forest types, physiographic provinces, or the entire planning area. Many adaptive management modifications may not require formal changes to the Resource Management Plan.
The model displayed in Figure 2 identifies the various steps, activities, and outline of a procedure for the adaptive management process. This diagram conveys the general concept, and is valuable as a starting point, for understanding adaptive management. A full and detailed explanation of the model, which is beyond the scope of this discussion, would require that each step be further broken down and defined.
New information that would compel an adjustment of strategy may come from monitoring, research, statutory or regulatory changes, organizational or process assessments, or any number of additional sources. During the evaluation process, personnel will analyze the information to determine the nature, scope, and importance of the new information.
Adaptive management could entail modification of silvicultural prescriptions to respond to increasing knowledge providing greater certainty about anticipated climate change or to respond to increasing knowledge about the habitat needs of spotted owls, to cite two examples that could have widespread application. Adaptive management could equally entail modification of rather localized management practices to respond to the results of monitoring.
Any potential new management actions identified after Resource Management Plan/Record of Decision approval will be reviewed before BLM moves to implement them. For example, if a new area of critical environmental concern proposal meets BLM criteria for consideration, the District Manager may prescribe interim management measures for the remaining life of the plan or until addressed in a plan amendment. Such interim management must meet the objectives of the Resource Management Plan, except where inconsistent with the regulations regarding potential area of critical environmental concerns.