Concept Use in Management - How Is the Adaptive Cycle Relevant in the Real World?

The adaptive cycle model can be useful to managers and decision makers as a way to visualize and quantify the structural changes in systems being managed. To continue with the example of human society, governments can gain new perspective on political and social processes by viewing them as parts of a complex system that is constantly changing and sometimes significantly reorganizing itself. The adaptive cycle can be useful to natural resource and ecological managers as well. For example, phytoplankton communities in the Baltic Sea have been demonstrated to reliably follow patterns of growth, organization and conservation, and collapse over time (Angeler et al. 2015). These patterns are visible in the sudden algal blooms that can inhibit recreation and safe use of the water. Being able to better understand and predict these dynamics in large systems makes the adaptive cycle a powerful option in the toolbox of managers.