Matching Items (42)

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2008 Beyond Conjecture: Learning About Ecosystem Management from the Glen Canyon Dam Experiment

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This brief article, written for a symposium on "Collaboration and the Colorado River," evaluates the U.S. Department of the Interior's Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program ("AMP"). The AMP has

This brief article, written for a symposium on "Collaboration and the Colorado River," evaluates the U.S. Department of the Interior's Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program ("AMP"). The AMP has been advanced as a pioneering collaborative and adaptive approach for both decreasing scientific uncertainty in support of regulatory decision-making and helping manage contentious resource disputes -- in this case, the increasingly thorny conflict over the Colorado River's finite natural resources. Though encouraging in some respects, the AMP serves as a valuable illustration of the flaws of existing regulatory processes purporting to incorporate collaboration and regulatory adaptation into the decision-making process. Born in the shadow of the law and improvised with too little thought as to its structure, the AMP demonstrates the need to attend to the design of the regulatory process and integrate mechanisms that compel systematic program evaluation and adaptation. As such, the AMP provides vital information on how future collaborative experiments might be modified to enhance their prospects of success.

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  • 2008-09-19

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2010 Collaborative Planning and Adaptive Management in Glen Canyon: A Cautionary Tale

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The Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program (AMP) has been identified as a model for natural resource management. We challenge that assertion, citing the lack of progress toward a long-term

The Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program (AMP) has been identified as a model for natural resource management. We challenge that assertion, citing the lack of progress toward a long-term management plan for the dam, sustained extra-programmatic conflict, and a downriver ecology that is still in jeopardy, despite over ten years of meetings and an expensive research program. We have examined the primary and secondary sources available on the AMP’s design and operation in light of best practices identified in the literature on adaptive management and collaborative decision-making. We have identified six shortcomings: (1) an inadequate approach to identifying stakeholders; (2) a failure to provide clear goals and involve stakeholders in establishing the operating procedures that guide the collaborative process; (3) inappropriate use of professional neutrals and a failure to cultivate consensus; (4) a failure to establish and follow clear joint fact-finding procedures; (5) a failure to produce functional written agreements; and (6) a failure to manage the AMP adaptively and cultivate long-term problem-solving capacity.

Adaptive management can be an effective approach for addressing complex ecosystem-related processes like the operation of the Glen Canyon Dam, particularly in the face of substantial complexity, uncertainty, and political contentiousness. However, the Glen Canyon Dam AMP shows that a stated commitment to collaboration and adaptive management is insufficient. Effective management of natural resources can only be realized through careful attention to the collaborative design and implementation of appropriate problem-solving and adaptive-management procedures. It also requires the development of an appropriate organizational infrastructure that promotes stakeholder dialogue and agency learning. Though the experimental Glen Canyon Dam AMP is far from a success of collaborative adaptive management, the lessons from its shortcomings can foster more effective collaborative adaptive management in the future by Congress, federal agencies, and local and state authorities.

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  • 2010-03-23

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Urban development and sustainable water management of southwest cities

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Water is the defining issue in determining the development and growth of human populations of the Southwest. The cities of Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tucson, Albuquerque, and El Paso have experienced

Water is the defining issue in determining the development and growth of human populations of the Southwest. The cities of Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tucson, Albuquerque, and El Paso have experienced rapid and exponential growth over the past 50 years. The outlook for having access to sustainable sources of water to support this growth is not promising due to water demand and supply deficits. Regional water projects have harnessed the Colorado and Rio Grande rivers to maximize the utility of the water for human consumption and environmental laws have been adopted to regulate the beneficial use of this water, but it still is not enough to create sustainable future for rapidly growing southwest cities. Future growth in these cities will depend on finding new sources of water and creative measures to maximize the utility of existing water resources. The challenge for southwest cities is to establish policies, procedures, and projects that maximizes the use of water and promotes conservation from all areas of municipal users. All cities are faced with the same challenges, but have different options for how they prioritize their water resources. The principal means of sustainable water management include recovery, recharge, reuse, and increasing the efficiency of water delivery. Other strategies that have been adopted include harvesting of rainwater, building codes that promote efficient water use, tiered water rates, turf removal programs, residential water auditing, and native plant promotion. Creating a sustainable future for the southwest will best be achieved by cities that adopt an integrated approach to managing their water resources including discouraging discretionary uses of water, adoption of building and construction codes for master plans, industrial plants, and residential construction. Additionally, a robust plan for education of the public is essential to create a culture of conservation from a very young age.

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  • 2013

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Socio-ecological drivers and consequences of land fragmentation under conditions of rapid urbanization

Description

Land transformation under conditions of rapid urbanization has significantly altered the structure and functioning of Earth's systems. Land fragmentation, a characteristic of land transformation, is recognized as a primary driving

Land transformation under conditions of rapid urbanization has significantly altered the structure and functioning of Earth's systems. Land fragmentation, a characteristic of land transformation, is recognized as a primary driving force in the loss of biological diversity worldwide. However, little is known about its implications in complex urban settings where interaction with social dynamics is intense. This research asks: How do patterns of land cover and land fragmentation vary over time and space, and what are the socio-ecological drivers and consequences of land transformation in a rapidly growing city? Using Metropolitan Phoenix as a case study, the research links pattern and process relationships between land cover, land fragmentation, and socio-ecological systems in the region. It examines population growth, water provision and institutions as major drivers of land transformation, and the changes in bird biodiversity that result from land transformation. How to manage socio-ecological systems is one of the biggest challenges of moving towards sustainability. This research project provides a deeper understanding of how land transformation affects socio-ecological dynamics in an urban setting. It uses a series of indices to evaluate land cover and fragmentation patterns over the past twenty years, including land patch numbers, contagion, shapes, and diversities. It then generates empirical evidence on the linkages between land cover patterns and ecosystem properties by exploring the drivers and impacts of land cover change. An interdisciplinary approach that integrates social, ecological, and spatial analysis is applied in this research. Findings of the research provide a documented dataset that can help researchers study the relationship between human activities and biotic processes in an urban setting, and contribute to sustainable urban development.

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  • 2013

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Implementing rapid assessment of the trail environments of arid regions: indicator development and implementation scenarios

Description

As part of the effort to streamline management efforts in protected areas worldwide and assist accountability reporting, new techniques to help guide conservation goals and monitor progress are needed. Rapid

As part of the effort to streamline management efforts in protected areas worldwide and assist accountability reporting, new techniques to help guide conservation goals and monitor progress are needed. Rapid assessment is recognized as a field-level data collection technique, but each rapid assessment index is limited to only the ecoregion for which it is designed. This dissertation contributes to the existing bodies of conservation monitoring and tourism management literature in four ways: (i.) Indicators are developed for rapid assessment in arid and semi-arid regions, and the processes by which new indicators should be developed is explained; (ii.) Interpolation of surveyed data is explored as a step in the analysis process of a dataset collected through rapid assessment; (iii.) Viewshed is used to explore differences in impacts at two study sites and its underutilization in this context of conservation management is explored; and (iv.) A crowdsourcing tool to distribute the effort of monitoring trail areas is developed and deployed, and the results are used to explore this data collection's usefulness as a management tool.

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  • 2013

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The influence of soil characteristics on Saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea) post wild fire restoration efforts

Description

The Cave Creek Complex fires of June and July of 2005 north of Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A. burned 248,310 acres of Sonoran desert, primarily on the Tonto National Forest, USFS. The

The Cave Creek Complex fires of June and July of 2005 north of Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A. burned 248,310 acres of Sonoran desert, primarily on the Tonto National Forest, USFS. The fires consumed multiple stands of the keystone species Carnegiea gigantea, the saguaro cactus. Restoration efforts in late spring 2007 involved the monitoring of 200 transplanted saguaro cacti over a two year period for overall establishment and success. Observation of local saguaro distribution suggests that soil factors might influence saguaro growth. Therefore, soil samples were collected from each transplant location and analyzed for percentage coarse fragments, texture, pH and electrical conductivity as soil collection and analysis of these variables are relatively inexpensive and expedient. Regression analysis was used to determine which, if any of these soil characteristics significantly correlated with plant growth. The results of this study found significant correlation between saguaro transplant growth and the soil variables of clay content and pH, but no correlation between saguaro growth and coarse fragment percentages or electrical conductivity.

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  • 2013

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Built by fire: wildfire management and policy in Canada

Description

Wildfire is an inescapable feature of Canadian landscapes, burning an average of over two million hectares annually and causing significant repercussions for communities, infrastructure, and resources. Because fire is managed

Wildfire is an inescapable feature of Canadian landscapes, burning an average of over two million hectares annually and causing significant repercussions for communities, infrastructure, and resources. Because fire is managed provincially, each jurisdiction has developed a distinctive approach to preparing for, responding to, and recovering from fire on its landscapes. Using a comparative study between seven provinces and four national agencies, this dissertation examines differences in institutional design and policy with respect to the knowledge management systems required to respond to wildfire: How do policies and procedures vary between jurisdictions, how do they affect the practices of each fire management agency, and how can they be improved through a critical analysis of the knowledge management systems in use? And, what is the role of and limits on expertise within these fire management institutions that manage high-risk, highly uncertain socio- environmental challenges?

I begin by introducing the 2016 Fort McMurray/Horse River fire as a lens for exploring these questions. I then use the past one hundred years of fire history in Canada to illustrate the continual presence of fire, its human and social dimensions, and the evolution of differing fire management regimes. Drawing on extended ethnographic observation and interviewing of fire managers across Canada, I examine the varied provincial systems of response through following an active fire day in Alberta. I analyze the decision support and geospatial information systems used to guide fire agency decision-making, as well as the factors that limit their effectiveness in both response and hazard reduction modes. I begin Part Two with a discussion of mutual aid arrangements between the provinces, and critically examine the core strategy – interagency fungibility – used to allow this exchange. I analyze forecasting and predictive models used in firefighting, with an emphasis on comparing advantages and disadvantages of attempts at predicting future firefighter capacity requirements. I review organizational learning approaches, considering both fire research strategies and after action reviews. Finally, I consider the implication of changes in climates, politics, and public behaviours and their impacts on fire management.

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  • 2018

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A Social-Ecological System Approach for Forest Resource Management of the Himchari National Park in Bangladesh

Description

Deforestation is a common phenomenon in Bangladesh, leaving the country under a great threat of losing its natural habitat. The increasing rate of natural habitat loss has raised questions regarding

Deforestation is a common phenomenon in Bangladesh, leaving the country under a great threat of losing its natural habitat. The increasing rate of natural habitat loss has raised questions regarding the country’s forest resource management practices. These practices were originally adopted to protect the forest ecosystem and secure the livelihood of the people dependent on forest resources. Despite the support from development partners like the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the country is still struggling to protect its forest resources from human encroachment. One of the major problems is the lack of inconclusiveness in current approaches. Most initiatives are not evidence-based and are project-based for only a certain period of time. This has failed to ensure sustainable outcomes. This study looks at Bangladesh’s Himchari National Park forest management system to generate evidence regarding deforestation from 1991-2018 and highlight existing gaps. To identify and analyze the gaps, the study uses a social-ecological system (SES) lens. Results reveal deforestation across different time periods, articulates the overall governance structure regarding forest resource management, and provides an overview of the major gaps within the system. The study also offers a set of recommendations for improving the existing management system and policy implications.

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  • 2020

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Public Organization Adaptation to Extreme Events Evidence from the Public Transportation Sector

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This dissertation consists of three essays, each examining distinct aspects about public organization adaptation to extreme events using evidence from public transit agencies under the influence of extreme weather in

This dissertation consists of three essays, each examining distinct aspects about public organization adaptation to extreme events using evidence from public transit agencies under the influence of extreme weather in the United States (U.S.). The first essay focuses on predicting organizational adaptive behavior. Building on extant theories on adaptation and organizational learning, it develops a theoretical framework to uncover the pathways through which extreme events impact public organizations and identify the key learning mechanisms involved in adaptation. Using a structural equation model on data from a 2016 national survey, the study highlights the critical role of risk perception to translate signals from the external environment to organizational adaptive behavior.

The second essay expands on the first one to incorporate the organizational environment and model the adaptive system. Combining an agent-based model and qualitative interviews with key decision makers, the study investigates how adaptation occurs over time in multiplex contexts consisting of the natural hazards, organizations, institutions and social networks. The study ends with a series of refined propositions about the mechanisms involved in public organization adaptation. Specifically, the analysis suggests that risk perception needs to be examined relative to risk tolerance to determine organizational motivation to adapt, and underscore the criticality of coupling between the motivation and opportunities to enable adaptation. The results further show that the coupling can be enhanced through lowering organizational risk perception decay or synchronizing opportunities with extreme event occurrences to promote adaptation.

The third essay shifts the gaze from adaptation mechanisms to organizational outcomes. It uses a stochastic frontier analysis to quantify the impacts of extreme events on public organization performance and, importantly, the role of organizational adaptive capacity in moderating the impacts. The findings confirm that extreme events negatively affect organizational performance and that organizations with higher adaptive capacity are more able to mitigate those effects, thereby lending support to research efforts in the first two essays dedicated to identifying preconditions and mechanisms involved in the adaptation process. Taken together, this dissertation comprehensively advances understanding about public organization adaptation to extreme events.

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  • 2020

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Decision analysis for comparative life cycle assessment

Description

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) quantifies environmental impacts of products in raw material extraction, processing, manufacturing, distribution, use and final disposal. The findings of an LCA can be used to improve

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) quantifies environmental impacts of products in raw material extraction, processing, manufacturing, distribution, use and final disposal. The findings of an LCA can be used to improve industry practices, to aid in product development, and guide public policy. Unfortunately, existing approaches to LCA are unreliable in the cases of emerging technologies, where data is unavailable and rapid technological advances outstrip environmental knowledge. Previous studies have demonstrated several shortcomings to existing practices, including the masking of environmental impacts, the difficulty of selecting appropriate weight sets for multi-stakeholder problems, and difficulties in exploration of variability and uncertainty. In particular, there is an acute need for decision-driven interpretation methods that can guide decision makers towards making balanced, environmentally sound decisions in instances of high uncertainty. We propose the first major methodological innovation in LCA since early establishment of LCA as the analytical perspective of choice in problems of environmental management. We propose to couple stochastic multi-criteria decision analytic tools with existing approaches to inventory building and characterization to create a robust approach to comparative technology assessment in the context of high uncertainty, rapid technological change, and evolving stakeholder values. Namely, this study introduces a novel method known as Stochastic Multi-attribute Analysis for Life Cycle Impact Assessment (SMAA-LCIA) that uses internal normalization by means of outranking and exploration of feasible weight spaces.

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  • 2013