Waterfowl management in the United States is one of the more visible conservation success stories in the United States. It is authorized and supported by appropriate legislative authorities, based on large-scale monitoring programs, and widely accepted by the public. The process is one of only a limited number of large-scale examples of effective collaboration between research and management, integrating scientific information with management in a coherent framework for regulatory decision-making. However, harvest management continues to face some serious technical problems, many of which focus on sequential identification of the resource system in a context of optimal decision-making. The objective of this paper is to provide a theoretical foundation of adaptive harvest management, the approach currently in use in the United States for regulatory decision-making. We lay out the legal and institutional framework for adaptive harvest management and provide a formal description of regulatory decision-making in terms of adaptive optimization. We discuss some technical and institutional challenges in applying adaptive harvest management and focus specifically on methods of estimating resource states for linear resource systems.
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Vol. 7 • No. 3