Integrating QAQC into Adaptive Management: Revisiting the Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle

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Brick Fevold, Tim Lewis, Craig Palmer, Molly Amos, Judith Schofield , and Louis Blume

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The term ‘Adaptive Management,’ is a common keyword cited by many authors of ecosystem or ecological restoration planning and quality documentation when describing their intended management strategy. However, in many instances, the authors do not describe how it will inform effective decision making or modifications to management actions fundamental to project success. The ‘Plan-Do-Check-Act’ (PDCA) cycle, also known as the Shewhart or Deming cycle, is a quality improvement and process decision model first applied in the manufacturing industry, and that represents a simplified model of adaptive management. The PDCA cycle models a recurrent assessment of the achievement of quality objectives or performance criteria pursuant to the success in realizing an intended product or predicted system response. In ecosystem or ecological restoration, quantitative benchmarks (targets or thresholds) serve as decision criteria (or triggers) necessary to inform objective decision making during project implementation and effectiveness monitoring assessment. The PDCA cycle can provide ecosystem and ecological restoration planners, scientists, and practitioners a framework in which to integrate quality assurance and quality control (QAQC) principles and procedures as a core component to inform project management, and guide quality oversight, and assessment of whether restoration practices are successful. Decision criteria, when effectively integrated in a combined PDCA and QAQC framework can operationalize adaptive management in both qualitative and quantitative terms needed to provide an objective and evidence based assessment of whether a restoration project is on the right track in attaining its stated goals.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program