Adaptive Management


The term adaptive management has been applied to many different types of management strategies that allow for experimentation and learning. This workshop provides students with an in-depth understanding of the different types of adaptive strategies. The workshop clarifies how these strategies have been misused and where miscommunication about these different approaches has led to confusion. Specific tools are presented to ensure the right adaptive model is used for the right problem. Four different adaptive models are discussed with specific connections to the requirements of the NEPA: (1) Research, (2) Programmatic, (3) Project, and (4) Environmental Management Systems. Examples for each of the four adaptive models are explored. Case studies are used by students to reinforce the techniques and principles taught in the workshop.


Upon completion of this workshop, participants will be able to do the following:

  • Know what the four types of adaptive management and when to use them.
  • Be able to follow a step-by-step process for construction an adaptive management approach.
  • Know the strengths and weaknesses of the various adaptive management approaches.
  • Be able to build an adaptive management strategy for a plan or project into the NEPA process.
  • Know how to effectively integrate the public and special interest groups into an adaptive management approach.


We tailor each workshop to meet the needs of the participants. The basic format of the interactive workshop includes the following components:

  • Unit 1: What is Adaptive Management
  • Unit 2: How do the different adaptive management models work
  • Unit 3: What is the current guidance and sideboards
  • Unit 4: How do adaptive models fit within decision models and the NEPA process
  • Unit 5: What are the steps in constructing an adaptive management model
  • Unit 6: What is the role of the public in adaptive management
  • Unit 7: What are some good examples?



Participants for this training generally include resource specialists, team leaders, decisionmakers, and other agency professionals who must understand the AM and NEPA processes to fully execute their responsibilities.


Adaptive Management is an interactive workshop designed to build an overall understanding of the process. For optimum learning, class size is limited to between 15 and 25 participants.This workshop consists of a carefully designed combination of the following:

  • 30% Lecture
  • 30% Discussion
  • 40% Exercises and Case Studies

MaterialsParticipants receive the following:

  • Student reference manual
  • Case study handouts