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Facing the Adaptive Management Challenge: Insights from Transition Management

Rutger van der Brugge, Drift, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Roel van Raak, Drift, Erasmus University Rotterdam; ICIS, University of Maastricht


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Recent research suggests that transitions toward adaptive water management regimes are needed because current water management regimes cannot adequately respond to uncertainty. The pivotal question is how to understand and manage such transitions. The literature on adaptive management addresses this question in part, but must now move beyond the descriptive toward a prescriptive management framework. Transition management theory could help in meeting this challenge. The similarity of the theoretical starting points yet different applications offer fertile conditions for cross-pollination. We investigate three central concepts from the transition management literature for their potential contribution to adaptive management. In particular, the notions of arenas and shadow networks merit further study through joint research.

Key words

Adaptive water management; transition management; water management
Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087