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Copyright © 2003 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance.

The following is the established format for referencing this article:
Stansfield, B. 2003. Adapative management and trial-and-error learning. Conservation Ecology 7(1): r10. [online] URL: http://www.consecol.org/vol7/iss1/resp10/

Response to K. N. Lee 1999. "Appraising Adaptive Management"

Adapative Management and Trial-and-Error Learning

Brett Stansfield

Hawke's Bay Regional Council

I must congradulate Kai N. Lee (1999) on her paper “Appraising Adaptive Management.” It brings many issues to the forefront of current research. With respect to question 2 (“When an adaptive management design is not feasible, is there experience to guide trial and error learning?”), I must stress here that I believe that adaptive management includes trial-and-error learning.

The author states that adaptive management is learning while doing. Surely, such learning must include learning from mistakes. There have certainly been many development projects in New Zealand from which we have learned a lot. For example, hydroelectric power generation has hindered fish passage in waterways (Jowett 1987). Although the intital intent of hydroelectric power station development was to generate electricity, a mistake in the design has forced us to learn about hydrological requirements for fish passage. In this sense (learning from mistakes), adaptive management has been in practice for many years. I welcome any responses to this brief submission.

Published: June 6, 2003


Responses to this article are invited. If accepted for publication, your response will be hyperlinked to the article. To submit a comment, follow this link. To read comments already accepted, follow this link.


Jowett, I. G. 1987. Fish passage, control devices and spawning channels. Pages 138–155 in P. R. Henriques. Aquatic biology and hydroelectric power development in New Zealand. Oxford University Press, Aukland, New Zealand.

Lee, K. N. 1999. Appraising adaptive management. Conservation Ecology 3(2): 3. [online] URL: http://www.consecol.org/Journal/vol3/iss2/art3

Address of Correspondent:
Brett Stansfield
102 Vautier Street
Private Bag 6006
Napier, New Zealand
Phone: (06) 835-9200

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