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Barriers to climate-adaptive management: A survey of wildlife researchers and managers in Wisconsin


  • Associate Editor: Boal.


Resource management agencies must be able to integrate current research into their decision-making to effectively address climate change impacts. In this study, we investigated the capacity for climate-adaptive management by surveying the community of researchers, administrators, and field managers who are responsible for wildlife conservation in the state of Wisconsin, USA. We specifically measured differences in how these sectors perceive climate change risk, communicate, and make decisions to represent barriers in how they transmit and use research. We frame these barriers within the literature on evidence-based and adaptive management and risk psychology, as principles that underlie climate change adaptation. Almost all respondents agreed that the climate is changing (223/224), but 22% of the respondents were unsure whether climate change is negative for wildlife and field managers dominated this group (68%). Field managers also reported using components of adaptive management more frequently than did other sectors, but all three questioned the importance of one specific component: predicting the consequence of management before implementation. When seeking information, researchers preferred communicating via published literature, but managers and administrators reported a preference for in-person communication. Although only 29% of the respondents were currently involved in climate change work, 77% said they would get involved without additional incentives or direction at work. These results confirm a common pattern of barriers between research and management sectors across all scales of decision-making. Overall, results suggest that in-person and problem-based communication that is focused on real decisions and that utilizes social networks are a way to enable resource management communities to effectively confront these barriers. Published 2014. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

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