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A framework for participatory scenario planning to guide transitions towards sustainability in mountain social-ecological systems: A case study from the Colombian Andes

Tatiana Rodríguez, Björn Reu, Sergio Bolívar-Santamaría, Alexandra Cortés-Aguilar and Corina Buendía
Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Alexandra Cortés Aguilar

Land Use Policy, 2023, vol. 132, issue C

Abstract: Pronounced environmental gradients of tropical mountains result in interconnected social-ecological systems of great cultural and biological diversity and high provision of essential ecosystem services. This intrinsic diversity of mountain social-ecological systems (MtSES) entails great complexity which, coupled with remoteness, vulnerability, and lack of fine-scale data, hampers the adequate planning of transitions towards sustainability and affects the livelihoods of their inhabitants. Based on our experience in a tropical MtSES, here we propose a framework for participatory scenario planning (PSP) that supports local stakeholders to create plausible development pathways while harmonizing top-down planning instruments and securing the provision of ecosystem services (ES). Our framework comprises: (1) screening the study area to understand historical land cover changes and development pathways based on current planning instruments and local knowledge, (2) gathering future visions from MtSES inhabitants based on their wishes, perceived drivers of change, and key ecosystems services, (3) creating a land-cover map using satellite imagery, (4) establishing a baseline with on-field data collection, (5) writing narratives that harmonize those visions with planning instruments and translating them into spatially explicit future scenarios, (6) estimating ecosystems services in each scenario, and (7) refining future scenario narratives by facilitating a dialog where farmers, researchers, and stakeholders discuss contrasting scenario results and their perceived potential impacts. Our PSP framework raises awareness among local stakeholders about land cover changes and their impacts, while generating fine-scale data that is usually lacking for MtSES. Both aspects are important for updating planning instruments and policies in a participatory way taking into account the complexity of each particular MtSES as well as people's perceptions about the future. Our study adds to the existing literature on PSP as it provides a case study in a Andean tropical MtSES. Since each MtSES is unique, we hope this practical example can inspire planning policy schemes to include bottom-up approaches.

Keywords: Scenario planning; Food provision; Agroforestry; Transdisciplinary; Sustainability; Futures (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2023
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DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2023.106817

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