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Scenario analysis: exploring future woodland use and ecosystem services delivery

Lead Author: Darren Moseley

Home Publications Scenario analysis: exploring future woodland use and ecosystem services delivery

Land use change has been one of the major influences on UK forests and wooded landscapes for many years, with the future likely to be affected through changes in climate and human population pressure. This presents a challenge for the long-term planning and management of woodlands to provide the range of goods and benefits (i.e. ecosystem services) required by society. After providing an introduction to the different types of scenario, by using examples from three case studies, this Research Note illustrates how scenario analysis can be used as a tool to investigate potential future changes and to support better informed and rational decision-making in situations of uncertainty. The first case study shows how scenarios have been developed for woodland expansion, by incorporating visions into an agent-based model. The multi-scale application of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment is explored in the second case study, where six indicators were used to compare the provision of forest ecosystem services from six scenarios. The final case study illustrates how exploratory scenarios can be co-developed with stakeholders to inform land management plans, in this instance working closely with a forest planner and adopting a conifer species diversification approach based on ecological site classification. The limitations of scenarios with regard to land-use planning are also discussed, such as their lack of applicability in all circumstances, thus necessitating a zoning approach, or the difficulty in down-scaling national policies to the regional scale because of a shortage of mechanisms and resources, which can be overcome by adopting a multi-scale approach. It is concluded that scenario analyses can support decision- and policy-making processes in different contexts, which, when combined with participatory modelling, provide a means for stakeholders to increase their identification of management interventions and sustainable outcomes.

Note: the title of this Research Note has changed to Scenario analysis: exploring future woodland use and ecosystem benefits, however, the content remains the same.


PDF, 3.94 MB

Publication type
Research Note