Natural resource manager perceptions of agency performance on climate change

J Environ Manage. 2013 Jan 15;114:178-89. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2012.09.014. Epub 2012 Nov 6.


An important precursor to the adoption of climate change adaptation strategies is to understand the perceived capacity to implement and operationalize such strategies. Utilizing an importance-performance analysis (IPA) evaluation framework, this article presents a comparative case study of federal and state land and natural resource manager perceptions of agency performance on factors influencing adaptive capacity in two U.S. regions (northern Colorado and southwestern South Dakota). Results revealed several important findings with substantial management implications. First, none of the managers ranked the adaptive capacity factors as a low priority. Second, managers held the perception that their agencies were performing either neutrally or poorly on most factors influencing adaptive capacity. Third, gap analysis revealed that significant improvements are required to facilitate optimal agency functioning when dealing with climate change-related management issues. Overall, results suggest that a host of institutional and policy-oriented (e.g., lack of clear mandate to adapt to climate change), financial and human resource (e.g., inadequate staff and financial resources), informational (e.g., inadequate research and monitoring programs) and contextual barriers (e.g., sufficient regional networks to mitigate potential transboundary impacts) currently challenge the efficient and effective integration of climate change into decision-making and management within agencies working in these regions. The IPA framework proved to be an effective tool to help managers identify and understand agency strengths, areas of concern, redundancies, and areas that warrant the use of limited funds and/or resource re-allocation in order to enhance adaptive capacity and maximize management effectiveness with respect to climate change.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Climate Change*
  • Conservation of Energy Resources*
  • Government Agencies / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Perception