Assessing Changes in Uncertainty during Adaptive Management: A Case Study of the Washington State Forest Practices Habitat Conservation Plan


Published: December 2022

Pages: 9

Author(s): Tim Quinn PhD, George Wilhere, Aimee Mcintyre, and Reed Ojala-Barbour


This project is composed of two major parts. Part 1 consists of recounting the history of Forest Practices Habitat Conservation Plan (FPHCP) Adaptive Management Program (AMP) studies since 1999. We do this by documenting reasons why each study was funded with respect to scientific and/or policy uncertainty and evaluating the degree to which those studies have contributed to resolving policy issues within the FPHCP AMP. This work is composed of four tasks: 1) characterizing the history of adaptive management, research, and monitoring of the FPHCP, 2) identifying key uncertainties (Schedules L1/L2; Cooperative Monitoring Evaluation and Research [CMER] work plans, etc.) and expectations for addressing them; 3) developing a comprehensive accounting of all CMER-funded studies, organized by rule group, and identify which key uncertainties each was intended to address; and 4) documenting the Policy outcome of research efforts (e.g., reduced uncertainty, rule change, etc.).

Part 2 is designed to a better understand the various perceptions and opinions of the adaptive management process held by AMP participants. This part of the study focuses on the role of risk and uncertainty relating to ecological outcomes, even though risk and uncertainty in other domains (e.g., economic, social, cultural) also play into the perception, experience, and may contribute to problems impacting the AMP. Part 2 relies on cataloguing perceptions from the three existing reviews of the Timber Fish and Wildlife (TFW) program using Q-methodology. Q-methodology is a mixed qualitative-quantitative approach that identifies patterns denoting shared social perspectives among a group of participants or stakeholders. Using Q-methodology, we will ask AMP participants and stakeholders to rank the problems identified in prior reports, providing additional data and detail to accomplish the goals listed in the following section.