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Evaluation Overview

Evaluation is a process of developing performance metrics to track progress in achieving goals, reducing threats, leveraging assets, and completing strategies. Adaptive management concerns the process an organization puts in place to learn from the results of evaluations and to adjust program strategies accordingly.

Over the last two decades, hundreds of experiments in ecosystem management have developed across the country and the world. Research demonstrates that these initiatives are more likely to succeed when they evaluate progress toward clear and measurable goals and use this information to adapt their activities over time. Unfortunately, most practitioners avoid evaluation and adaptive management, or do it poorly. This can mean that they waste time and money pursuing ineffective strategies, or if they are effective, are unable to demonstrate success.


At EMI we are developing ways to improve the impact of ecosystem and community-based projects and create a new generation of adaptive organizations by building on-the-ground capacity for evaluation and adaptive management. Our work in this area includes:

  • Conducting research on the evaluation of social, ecological and process improvements in theory and in practice
  • Providing user-friendly guides and tools for practitioners to develop an evaluation program for their organization, agency or collaborative
  • Leading trainings in the process of evaluation and adaptive management
  • Facilitating a group, step by step, in developing their own program for evaluating and adapting over time

You can use the drop-down menu above to explore our evaluation tools and activities or access key areas through the links below.

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