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NIMBioS Virtual Tutorial

Adaptive Management


Topic: Adaptive Management

Meeting dates: October 26-29, 2020, 5-7 p.m. and 7:30-9:30 p.m.

Due to coronavirus concerns, this tutorial, originally scheduled as an in-person event in April, was conducted remotely. There were two webinars each evening for which participants registered. Selected participants attended two breakout hands-on sessions per evening.

Tutorial Schedule (pdf)

Instructors and co-organizers:

  • Iadine Chadés, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia
  • Paul L. Fackler, Agricultural & Resource Economics, North Carolina State Univ.
  • David Kling, Applied Economics, Oregon State Univ.
  • Michael Springborn, Environmental Science and Policy, Univ. of California, Davis

Co-organized in cooperation with Suzanne Lenhart (NIMBioS and Mathematics, Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville) and Greg Wiggins (NIMBioS)


Adaptive management seeks to determine sound management strategies in the face of uncertainty concerning the behavior of the system being managed. Specifically it attempts to find strategies for managing dynamic systems while learning the behavior of the system. This tutorial introduced participants to methods for modeling adaptive management, with an emphasis on case studies drawn from environmental and natural resource management. The tutorial reviewed the key concept of a Markov Decision Process (MDP) and demonstrates how quantitative adaptive management strategies can be developed using MDPs. Additional conceptual, computational and application aspects were discussed, including: dynamic programming and Bayesian formalization of learning. Case study applications covered in the tutorial included management of endangered, invasive, and harvested wild populations. The tutorial featured hands-on activities designed to help participants incorporate adaptive management approaches into their own research activities. Some prior knowledge of dynamic optimization, population modeling and/or computer programming was recommended.

The tutorial was appropriate for faculty, post-docs, advanced graduate students, and industry professionals in resource economics, applied ecology, conservation biology, applied mathematics and related fields.

Playlist of Webinar Videos

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Adaptive Management WordPress site

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From 2008 until early 2021, NIMBioS was supported by the National Science Foundation through NSF Award #DBI-1300426, with additional support from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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