, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 493–506 | Cite as

Citizen Science as an Approach for Overcoming Insufficient Monitoring and Inadequate Stakeholder Buy-in in Adaptive Management: Criteria and Evidence

  • Eréndira Aceves-Bueno
  • Adeyemi S. Adeleye
  • Darcy Bradley
  • W. Tyler Brandt
  • Patrick Callery
  • Marina Feraud
  • Kendra L. Garner
  • Rebecca Gentry
  • Yuxiong Huang
  • Ian McCullough
  • Isaac Pearlman
  • Sara A. Sutherland
  • Whitney Wilkinson
  • Yi Yang
  • Trevor Zink
  • Sarah E. AndersonEmail author
  • Christina Tague


Adaptive management is broadly recognized as critical for managing natural resources, yet in practice it often fails to achieve intended results for two main reasons: insufficient monitoring and inadequate stakeholder buy-in. Citizen science is gaining momentum as an approach that can inform natural resource management and has some promise for solving the problems faced by adaptive management. Based on adaptive management literature, we developed a set of criteria for successfully addressing monitoring and stakeholder related failures in adaptive management and then used these criteria to evaluate 83 citizen science case studies from peer-reviewed literature. The results suggest that citizen science can be a cost-effective method to collect essential monitoring information and can also produce the high levels of citizen engagement that are vital to the adaptive management learning process. The analysis also provides a set of recommendations for citizen science program design that addresses spatial and temporal scale, data quality, costs, and effective incentives to facilitate participation and integration of findings into adaptive management.


citizen science community-based monitoring Public Participation in Scientific Research adaptive management natural resource management environmental science and management 



We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara. This paper is the product of an interdisciplinary PhD seminar. The first 15 authors were participants. Anderson and Tague were the faculty leads.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eréndira Aceves-Bueno
    • 1
  • Adeyemi S. Adeleye
    • 1
  • Darcy Bradley
    • 1
  • W. Tyler Brandt
    • 1
  • Patrick Callery
    • 1
  • Marina Feraud
    • 1
  • Kendra L. Garner
    • 1
  • Rebecca Gentry
    • 1
  • Yuxiong Huang
    • 1
  • Ian McCullough
    • 1
  • Isaac Pearlman
    • 1
  • Sara A. Sutherland
    • 1
  • Whitney Wilkinson
    • 1
  • Yi Yang
    • 1
  • Trevor Zink
    • 1
  • Sarah E. Anderson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christina Tague
    • 1
  1. 1.Bren School of Environmental Science & ManagementUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA

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