Grand challenges for resilience-based management of rangelands

TitleGrand challenges for resilience-based management of rangelands
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsBestelmeyer BT, Briske D.D.
JournalRangeland Ecology and Management
Start Page654
Date Published11/2012
ARIS Log Number285849
Keywordsadaptive management, ecosystem services, knowledge systems, postmodern science, social-ecological systems, transformation

The social and ecological contexts for rangeland management are changing rapidly, prompting a reevaluation of science, management, and the linkages between them. Here, we argue that the recent transformation from a steady state to an ecosystem management model has served the rangeland profession well, but that further transformation to resilience-based management is required to ensure that rangeland services will continue to benefit society in an era of rapid change. Resilience-based management emphasizes collaborative management and social learning to guide adaptation and transformation in social-ecological systems. The objectives of this forum are to: 1) justify the need for adopting resilience-based management, 2) identify the challenges that will be encountered in its development and implementation, and 3) highlight approaches to overcoming these challenges. Five categories of challenges confronting the adoption of resilience-based management, based upon the insights of 55 of rangeland researchers that have contributed to this special issue, were identified as: a) development of knowledge systems to support resilience-based management, b) improvement of ecological models supporting science and management, c) protocols to assess and manage tradeoffs among ecosystem services, d) use of social-ecological system perspectives to achieve greater stakeholder participation, and e) reorganization of institutions to support resilience-based management. It has become clear that greater scientific knowledge by itself is insufficient to promote resilience-based management in rangelands. Resolving the challenges presented here will require the creation of stronger partnerships between ecosystem managers, science organizations, management agencies, and policymakers at local, regional, and national scales. The creation of social learning institutions tied to evolving knowledge systems is our best hope to guide adaptation and transformation in rangelands in the coming century.