Climate change, uncertainty, and natural resource management

Authors


  • Editor-in-Chief: Frank R. Thompson, III

Abstract

Climate change and its associated uncertainties are of concern to natural resource managers. Although aspects of climate change may be novel (e.g., system change and nonstationarity), natural resource managers have long dealt with uncertainties and have developed corresponding approaches to decision-making. Adaptive resource management is an application of structured decision-making for recurrent decision problems with uncertainty, focusing on management objectives, and the reduction of uncertainty over time. We identified 4 types of uncertainty that characterize problems in natural resource management. We examined ways in which climate change is expected to exacerbate these uncertainties, as well as potential approaches to dealing with them. As a case study, we examined North American waterfowl harvest management and considered problems anticipated to result from climate change and potential solutions. Despite challenges expected to accompany the use of adaptive resource management to address problems associated with climate change, we conclude that adaptive resource management approaches will be the methods of choice for managers trying to deal with the uncertainties of climate change. © 2010 The Wildlife Society.

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