The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission manages over 650,000 ha, including 26 wildlife management and environmental areas. To improve management, they developed an objective-based vegetation management (OBVM) process that focuses on desired conditions of plant communities through an adaptive management framework. Our goals were to understand potential barriers to implementing OBVM and to recommend strategies to overcome barriers. A literature review identified 47 potential barriers in six categories to implementation of adaptive and ecosystem management: logistical, communication, attitudinal, institutional, conceptual, and educational. We explored these barriers through a bureau-wide survey of 90 staff involved in OBVM and personal interviews with area managers, scientists, and administrators. The survey incorporated an organizational culture assessment instrument to gauge how institutional factors might influence OBVM implementation. The survey response rate was 69%. Logistics and communications were the greatest barriers to implementing OBVM. Respondents perceived that the agency had inadequate resources for implementing OBVM and provided inadequate information. About one-third of the respondents believed OBVM would decrease their job flexibility and perceived greater institutional barriers to the approach. The 43% of respondents who believed they would have more responsibility under OBVM also had greater attitudinal barriers. A similar percentage of respondents reported OBVM would not give enough priority to wildlife. Staff believed that current agency culture was hierarchical but preferred a culture that would provide more flexibility for adaptive management and would foster learning from land management activities. In light of the barriers to OBVM, we recommend the following: (1) mitigation of logistical barriers by addressing real and perceived constraints of staff, funds, and other resources in a participatory manner; (2) mitigation of communication barriers through interpersonal and electronic communication channels; (3) development of an OBVM external advisory committee; and (4) adoption of characteristics of an organizational culture that promotes flexibility and learning. ??2006 Society for Conservation Biology.
Additional publication details
Understanding barriers to implementation of an adaptive land management program