Jordan Truitt (BA Geography, December of 2020) recently presented his undergraduate honors thesis findings at both the annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers (AAG) and at the International Association of Landscape Ecology North American meeting. Truitt performed a critical review of the stakeholder engagement and Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) processes within the project Adaptive Management (AM) of the Spruce Beetle Epidemic Aspen Decline Management Response (SBEADMR) in western Colorado. AM is based on learning by doing to reduce uncertainty, and adjusting future management practices based on what is learned, and is increasingly used in the area of natural resources management.
The stages of stakeholder engagement and M&E are critical for creating a successful AM. Also, they are common sources of failure in many AM projects. Jordan’s research aimed to provide insights for the SBEADMR and for AM practitioners overall. Despite some challenges found in the application of the AM approach, the thesis findings indicate that the SBEADMR is following many of the AM best practices mentioned in the environmental management literature. This has resulted in good stakeholder engagement, cost savings, and several types of efficiencies in the process of managing the forests in western Colorado. His thesis was developed under the supervision of Associate Geography and Environmental Sciences Professor Rafael Moreno-Sanchez, M.S. Clay Speas from U.S. Forest Service, and GES Chair Peter Anthamatten.