Thinking About Adaptation: Exploring the Resist-Accept-Direct Framework

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Danielle Bruce,

Climate change is a complex management problem because it involves persistent change across large landscapes and is difficult to address locally. Conditions fueled by or worsened by climate change may favor species new to an area over those that have been longtime inhabitants. The result: ecological transformation—a thorough system makeover that can occur
when populations decline and species move due to changes in their surrounding environment. Recognizing the need for coordinated action, representatives of several natural resource management agencies have met since 2018 to refine a frame-
work to address ecological transformation. The Resist-Accept-Direct frame-work allows managers to choose from three management responses:

  • Resist the direction of change, by working to maintain or restore function, structure or composition, based on historical or current conditions.
  • Accept the direction of change, by allowing the change to occur without intervening.
  • Direct the change, by actively managing processes, function, structure or composition toward a preferred new condition.

Cases: We will explore landscape management in the southwest, coastal forest transition in Maine, and cold-water fish management in the upper Midwest.