Implementing invasive species management in an adaptive management framework
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Adaptive management theory has attracted substantial interest in recent years, in natural resource management in general and also for invasive alien species management. However, whilst many theoretical and conceptual advances have been made, documented cases of practical applications are rare. Coupling invasive species management components with adaptive feedback processes is not without challenges, requiring a substantial change in the thinking and practice of all those involved. Drawing on a decade of experience in South African National Parks, we suggest an approach to implementing adaptive management for controlling invasive alien species. Whilst efforts have been made to advance components of the overall management strategy, the absence of a framework for decision making and feedback mechanisms, inflexibility in the system and shortcomings in the governance structure are all identified as barriers to learning and knowledge integration for the purposes of effective invasive alien species management. The framework provided here, encompassing documents, committees and processes, is aimed at addressing these shortcomings. Conservation implication: Adaptive management theory offers a robust tool for managing inherently complex systems. Its practical application, however, requires distilling the theory into useable functions. We offer a framework to advance implementation of strategic adaptive management for the control of invasive alien species using experiences gained from South African National Parks.