Parma, Ana M. International Pacific Halibut Commission, Seattle, Washington.
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An approach to management of natural resources that emphasizes how little is known about the dynamics of ecosystems and that as more is learned management will evolve and improve. Natural systems are very complex and dynamic, and human observations about natural processes are fragmentary and inaccurate. As a result, the best way to use the available resources in a sustainable manner remains to be determined. Furthermore, much of the variability that affects natural populations is unpredictable and beyond human control. This combination of ignorance and unpredictability means that the ways in which ecosystems respond to human interventions are unknown and can be described only in probabilistic terms. Nonetheless, management decisions need to be made. Adaptive management proceeds despite this uncertainty by treating human interventions in natural systems as large-scale experiments from which more may be learned, leading to improved management in the future.
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