This case study describes the application of a framework for developing stakeholder-driven scenarios of the future. The purpose of these scenarios is to inform land use planning toward the protection of ecosystems and derivable ecosystem services in Northwestern Virginia. We held two scenario development workshops with regional experts in conservation, agriculture, land use planning, policy, and economic development to create scenarios of land use in the northern Piedmont and northern Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. We structured the workshops around a framework that guided stakeholders through several steps eventually resulting in four unique scenarios describing the region in 50 years. Scenario narratives were defined by the intersection of highly influential and uncertain drivers of change relevant to land use planning and ecosystem services. Participants from the northern Shenandoah Valley region selected population growth and climate change adaptation as their scenario defining drivers, while participants from the northern Piedmont region selected planning strategy and climate change impact as their scenario defining drivers. Participants fleshed out scenarios into descriptive narratives that incorporated qualitative and quantitative measures of change. Details from the scenario narratives informed land use change models to further quantify tradeoffs between land use planning decisions and ecosystem services. Individuals interested in using scenario planning to guide research efforts, conservation, or land use planning, or even to broaden perspectives on how to view the future, will find value in this case study.
Engaging Regional Stakeholders in Scenario Planning for the Long-Term Preservation of Ecosystem Services in Northwestern Virginia
Iara Lacher, Thomas Akre, William J. McShea, Marissa McBride, Jonathan R. Thompson, Craig Fergus; Engaging Regional Stakeholders in Scenario Planning for the Long-Term Preservation of Ecosystem Services in Northwestern Virginia. Case Studies in the Environment 31 December 2019; 3 (1): 1–13. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/cse.2018.001180
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