Adaptive wildlife management seeks to improve the integration of science and management by focusing decision-making on hypothesis-testing and structuring management actions as field experiments. Since the early 1990s, adaptive resource management (ARM) has advocated enhancing scientific rigor in evaluating management actions chosen to achieve “enabling objectives” typically directed at wildlife habitat or population characteristics. More recently, the concept of adaptive impact management (AIM) has emphasized a need to articulate “fundamental objectives” in terms of wildlife-related impacts to be managed. Adaptive impact management seeks to clarify why management is undertaken in a particular situation. Understanding the “why” question is viewed in AIM as a prerequisite for establishing enabling objectives, whether related to changes in wildlife habitats and populations or to human beliefs and behaviors. This article describes practical aspects of AIM by exploring relationships between AIM and ARM within a comprehensive model of decision-making for wildlife management. Adaptive impact management clarifies and differentiates fundamental objectives (i.e., wildlife-related impacts to be modified) and enabling objectives (i.e., conditions that affect levels of impacts), whereas ARM reduces uncertainty about how to achieve enabling objectives and seeks an optimal management alternative through hypothesis-testing. The 2 concepts make different contributions to development of management hypotheses about alternative actions and policies and should be nested for optimal application to comprehensive wildlife management. Considered in the context of the entire management process, AIM and ARM are complementary ideas contributing to adaptive wildlife management.
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