Advertisement

Environmental Management

, Volume 64, Issue 4, pp 470–482 | Cite as

Exploring the Multiple Meanings of Adaptive Management: A Case Study of the Lachlan Catchment in the Murray–Darling Basin

  • J. SchoemanEmail author
  • C. Allan
  • C. M. Finlayson
Article
  • 89 Downloads

Abstract

Managing rivers and sharing their benefits is largely dependent on stakeholder values and knowledge, expressed through policy, governance and institutions. Adaptive management is essentially a social learning process, which can provide a tool to navigate the ‘wickedness’ of contemporary social-ecological challenges. This research applied an interpretive, qualitative approach to examine government intentions for adaptive management, as expressed in water policy documents, and practitioner experiences of learning through adaptive management in a case study of water management in the Lachlan catchment, Murray–Darling Basin, Australia. Data were created from content analysis of government water policy documents and interviews with key water managing and policy stakeholders. Interview participants attached divergent meanings to the concept of adaptive management. Five different ‘styles’ of adaptive management were found to coexist in the Lachlan catchment, which were associated with different levels of learning. While some learning was ad hoc, there was also promising evidence of more active adaptive management of environmental flows, which was resulting in higher-level learning. The findings highlight a disconnect between how adaptive management is understood in the academic literature, by practitioners, and how it is portrayed in Australian water policy, which is restricting opportunities for higher-level learning. Transformative learning was found to occur in response to crisis, rather than being linked to an intentional learning process.

Keywords

Learning Adaptive management Stakeholder participation Environmental flows Murray–Darling Basin 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank the interview participants who donated their time and energy to make this research possible. We also offer thanks to two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments. The work was funded through a Charles Sturt University Faculty of Science PhD Scholarship and a Charles Sturt University Writing Up Award. We would also like to acknowledge support from staff of the Central Tablelands Local Land Services (previously the Lachlan Catchment Management Authority).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

267_2019_1203_MOESM1_ESM.docx (39 kb)
Supplementary Information

References

  1. Allan C, Curtis A (2005) Nipped in the bud: why regional scale adaptive management is not blooming. Environ Manag 36:414–425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allan C, Curtis A, Stankey G, Shindler B (2008) Adaptive management and watersheds: a social science perspective. J Am Water Resour Assoc 44:166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Allan C, Stankey GH (2009) Adaptive environmental management: a practitioner’s guide. Springer, Collingwood, AustraliaCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Allan C, Watts RJ (2017) Revealing adaptive management of environmental flows. Environ Manag 61(3):520–533.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-017-0931-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Allen C, Fontaine J, Pope K, Garmestani AS (2011) Adaptive management for a turbulent future. J Environ Manag 92:1339–1345.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2010.11.019 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Allen C, Garmestani AS (2015) Adaptive Management of Social-Ecological Systems. Springer, Dordrecht, NetherlandsCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Argyris C, Schon DA (1974) Theory in practice: increasing professional effectiveness. Jossey-Bass, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  8. Arthington A, et al. (2018) The Brisbane Declaration and Global Action Agenda on Environmental Flows (2018). Front Environ Sci.  https://doi.org/10.3389/fenvs.2018.00045
  9. Bandura A (1977) Social learning theory. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJGoogle Scholar
  10. Bazeley P (2012) Integrative analysis strategies for mixed data sources. Am Behav Scientist 56:814–828.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0002764211426330 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Biernacki P, Waldorf D (1981) Snowball sampling: problems and techniques of chain referral sampling. Sociol Methods Res 10(2):141–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bischoff-Mattson Z, Lynch A (2016) Adaptive governance in water reform discourses of the Murray–Darling Basin, Australia. Policy Sci 49(3):281–307Google Scholar
  13. Blackmore C (2007) What kinds of knowledge, knowing and learning are required for addressing resource dilemmas?: a theoretical overview. Environ Sci Policy 10:512–525CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Bormann BT, Stankey G (2009) Crisis as a positive role in implementing adaptive management after the Biscuit fire, pacific Northwest, U.S.A. In: Allan C, Stankey G (eds) Adaptive environmental management: a practitioner’s guide. Springer, Dordrecht, NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  15. Burrell M, Moss P, Ali A, Petrovic J (2015) General purpose water accounting report 2014–2015: Lachlan and Belubula catchments. NSW Department of Primary Industries, SydneyGoogle Scholar
  16. Conallin J, Wilson E, Campbell J (2017) Implementation of environmental flows for intermittent river systems: adaptive management and stakeholder participation facilitate implementation. Environ Manag 61(3):497–505.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-017-0922-4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Connell D, Grafton RQ (2011) Water reform in the Murray–Darling Basin. Water Resources Research, 47(12)Google Scholar
  18. Council of Australian Governments (2004) Intergovernmental Agreement on a National Water Initiative. COAG, Canberra, ACTGoogle Scholar
  19. Cundill G, Fabricius C (2009) Monitoring in adaptive co-management: toward a learning based approach. J Environ Manag 90(11):3205–3211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Davies P, Harris J, Hillman T, Walker K (2008) Sustainable rivers audit: SRA report 1: a report on the ecological health of rivers in the Murray-Darling Basin, 2004–2007. Murray–Darling Basin Commission, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  21. Davies P, Stewardson M, Hillman T, Roberts J, Thoms M (2012) Sustainable rivers audit 2: The ecological health of rivers in the Murray–Darling Basin at the end of the Millennium Drought (2008–2010). vol 2. Murray–Darling Basin Authority, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  22. Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources (2004) A guide to the Water Sharing Plan for the Lachlan regulated river water source. NSW Government, SydneyGoogle Scholar
  23. Dietz T, Ostrom E, Stern PC (2003) The struggle to govern the commons. Science 302:1907–1912CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Dyer F, Broadhurst B, Tschierschke A, Thiem J, Thompson R, Bowen S, Asmus M, Brandis K Lyons M, Spencer J, Callaghan D, Driver P, Lenehan J (2017) Commonwealth Environmental Water Office Long Term Intervention Monitoring Project: Lower Lachlan river system Selected Area 2016–17 Monitoring and Evaluation Report. Commonwealth of Australia, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  25. Folke C, Hahn T, Olsson P, Norberg J (2005) Adaptive governance of social-ecological systems. Annu Rev Environ Resour 30:441–473CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Garrick D, De Stefano L, Fung F, Pittock J, Schlager E, New M, Connell D (2013) Managing hydroclimatic risks in federal rivers: a diagnostic assessment.Philos Trans R Soc Lond A Math Phys Eng Sci 371:20120415CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Gawne B et al. (2013) Long term intervention monitoring project: logic and rationale document version 1.0. Murray–Darling Freshwater Research Centre, WodongaGoogle Scholar
  28. Gunderson LH (2015) Lessons from adaptive management: obstacles and outcomes. In: Allen C, Garmestani AS (eds) Adaptive management of social-ecological systems. Springer, Netherlands, p 27–38.  https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-9682-8_3
  29. Hargrove R (2008) Masterful coaching. John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, UKGoogle Scholar
  30. Hickey DT (2011) Participation by design: improving individual motivation by looking beyond it. In: McInerney DM, Walker RA, Liem GAD (eds) Sociocultural theories of learning and motivation: looking back, looking forward. Information Age Publishing, Inc, Greenwich, USAGoogle Scholar
  31. Ison R, Blackmore C, Iaquinto BL (2013) Towards systemic and adaptive governance: exploring the revealing and concealing aspects of contemporary social-learning metaphors. Ecol Econ 87:34–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Keen M, Bruck T, Dyball R (2005) Social learning: a new approach to environmental management. In: Keen M, Brown V, Dyball R (eds.) Social learning in environmental management: towards a sustainable future. Earthscan, London, p 3–21Google Scholar
  33. Kendall M (2013) Drought and its role in shaping water policy in Australia. In: Schwabe K, Albiac J, Connor J, Hassan R, Meza González L (eds) Drought in Arid and Semi-Arid Regions. Springer, Dordrecht, p 451–467Google Scholar
  34. Koontz TM, Gupta D, Mudliar P, Ranjan P (2015) Adaptive institutions in social-ecological systems governance: a synthesis framework. Environ Sci Policy 53:139–151.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2015.01.003 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kvale S (1996) InterViews: an introduction to qualitative research interviewing. Sage, Thousand Oaks, CaliforniaGoogle Scholar
  36. Lee KN (1993) Compass and gyroscope: integrating science and politics for the environment. Island Press, Washington, USAGoogle Scholar
  37. Lee KN (1999) Appraising adaptive management. Conserv Ecol 3:3CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Lindblom CE (1959) The science of “muddling through”. Public Adm Rev 19(2):79–88Google Scholar
  39. Lukasiewicz A, Bowmer KH, Syme GJ, Davidson P (2013) Assessing government intentions for Australian Water Reform Using a social justice framework. Soc Nat Resour 26:1314–1329.  https://doi.org/10.1080/08941920.2013.791903 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Lukasiewiez A, Finlayson CM, Pittock J (2013) Final report Identifying low risk climate change adaptation. ILWS, AlburyGoogle Scholar
  41. McInerney DM, Walker RA, Liem GAD (2011) Sociocultural theories of learning and motivation: Looking back, looking forward, vol 10. IAP, Greenwich, USAGoogle Scholar
  42. Murray-Darling Basin Authority (2012) Proposed Basin Plan - A Revised Draft. MDBA, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  43. Overton I, Colloff M, Doody T, Henderson B, Cuddy S (2009) Ecological outcomes of flow regimes in the Murray-Darling Basin. Report prepared for the National Water Commission by CSIRO Water for a Healthy Country Flagship. CSIRO, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  44. Pahl-Wostl C (2009) A conceptual framework for analysing adaptive capacity and multi-level learning processes in resource governance regimes. Glob Environ Change 19:354–365.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2009.06.001 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Payne G, Payne J (2004) Key concepts in social research. Sage, Thousand Oaks, USAGoogle Scholar
  46. Peat M, Moon K, Dyer F, Johnson W, Nichols SJ (2017) Creating institutional flexibility for adaptive water management: insights from two management agencies. J Environ Manag 202:188–197.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2017.06.059 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Pittock J, Finlayson CM (2011) Australia’s Murray–Darling Basin: freshwater ecosystem conservation options in an era of climate change. Mar Freshw Res 62:232–243.  https://doi.org/10.1071/mf09319 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Poff NL, Tharme RE, Arthington A (2017) Evolution of environmental flows assessment science, principles, and methodologies. In: Horne A, Webb A, Stewardson M, Richter B, Acreman M (eds) Water for the environment. Academic Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, p 203–236Google Scholar
  49. Rist L, Campbell B, Frost P (2013) Adaptive management: where are we now? Environ Conserv 40:5–18.  https://doi.org/10.1017/S0376892912000240 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Rogers K, Luton R, Biggs H, Biggs RO, Blignaut S, Choles A, Palmer C, Tangwe P (2013) Fostering complexity thinking in action research for change in social–ecological systems. Ecol Soc 18(2):31Google Scholar
  51. Ruhl J, Fischman RL (2010) Adaptive management in the courts. Minn L Rev 95:424Google Scholar
  52. Schoeman J (2017) Optimising water management in the Anthropocene? A case study of adaptive governance in a sub-catchment of the Murray–Darling Basin, Australia. PhD thesis, Charles Sturt University AlburyGoogle Scholar
  53. Schultz L, West S, Bourke AJ, d’Armengol L, Torrents P, Hardardottir H, Jansson A, Roldán AM (2018) Learning to live with social-ecological complexity: an interpretive analysis of learning in 11 UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. Glob Environ Change 50:75–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Stemler S (2001) An overview of content analysis. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation 7(17):137–146Google Scholar
  55. Steyaert P, Jiggins J (2007) Governance of complex environmental situations through social learning: a synthesis of SLIM’s lessons for research, policy and practice. Environ Sci Policy 10:575–586CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Wagenaar H (2011) Meaning in action: interpretation and dialogue in policy analysis. M.E. Sharpe, LondonGoogle Scholar
  57. Wallis P, Ison R (2011) Appreciating institutional complexity in water governance dynamics: a case from the Murray–Darling Basin, Australia. Water Resour Manag 25:4081–4097CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Walters CJ, Holling CS (1990) Large-scale management experiments and learning by doing. Ecology 71(6):2060–2068Google Scholar
  59. Webb JA, Watts RJ, Allan C, Warner AT (2017) Principles for monitoring, evaluation, and adaptive management of environmental water regimes. In: Horne AC, O’Donnell EL, Webb JA, Stewardson MJ, Acreman M, Richter BD (eds) Water for the environment: from policy and science to implementation and management. Elsevier Academic Press, London, UKGoogle Scholar
  60. Weber RP (1990) Basic content analysis, vol 49. Sage, Thousand Oaks, USAGoogle Scholar
  61. Wenger E (1998) Communities of practice: learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UKCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. West S, Schultz L, Bekessy S (2016) Rethinking social barriers to effective adaptive management. Environ Manag 58:399–416.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-016-0721-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Westgate MJ, Likens GE, Lindenmayer DB (2013) Adaptive management of biological systems: a review. Biol Conserv 158:128–139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Yin RK (2009) Case study research: design and methods. vol 5. Sage, Thousand Oaks, USAGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Environmental SciencesCharles Sturt UniversityAlburyAustralia
  2. 2.Institute for Land, Water and SocietyCharles Sturt UniversityAlburyAustralia

Personalised recommendations