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Targets for human development are increasingly connected with targets for nature, however, existing scenarios do not explicitly address this relationship. Here, we outline a strategy to generate scenarios centred on our relationship with nature to inform decision-making at multiple scales.
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© 2017 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature. All rights reserved.
Multiscale scenarios for nature
Targets for human development are increasingly connected with targets for nature, however, existing scenarios do
not explicitly address this relationship. Here, we outline a strategy to generate scenarios centred on our relationship
with nature to inform decision-making at multiple scales.
Isabel M. D. Rosa, Henrique M. Pereira, Simon Ferrier, Rob Alkemade, Lilibeth A. Acosta, H. Resit Akcakaya,
Eefje den Belder, Asghar M. Fazel, Shinichiro Fujimori, Mike Harfoot, Khaled A. Harhash, Paula A. Harrison,
Jennifer Hauck, Rob J. J. Hendriks, Gladys Hernández, Walter Jetz, Sylvia I. Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen,
HyeJin Kim, Nicholas King, Marcel T. J. Kok, Grygoriy O. Kolomytsev, Tanya Lazarova, Paul Leadley,
Carolyn J. Lundquist, Jaime García Márquez, Carsten Meyer, Laetitia M. Navarro, Carsten Nesshöver,
Hien T. Ngo, Karachepone N. Ninan, Maria G. Palomo, Laura M. Pereira, Garry D. Peterson, Ramon Pichs,
Alexander Popp, Andy Purvis, Federica Ravera, Carlo Rondinini, Jyothis Sathyapalan, Aafke M. Schipper,
Ralf Seppelt, Josef Settele, Nadia Sitas and Detlef van Vuuren
Scenarios are powerful tools to
envision how nature might respond
to different pathways of future
human development and policy choices1.
Most scenarios developed for global
environmental assessments have explored
impacts of society on nature, such as
biodiversity loss, but have not included
nature as a component of socioeconomic
development2. They ignore policy
objectives related to nature protection
and neglect nature’s role in underpinning
development and human well-being.
This approach is becoming untenable
because targets for human development
are increasingly connected with targets
for nature, such as in the United Nations’
Sustainable Development Goals. The next
generation of scenarios should explore
alternative pathways to reach these
intertwined targets, including potential
synergies and trade-offs between nature
conservation and other development
goals, as well as address feedbacks between
nature, nature’s contributions to people,
and human well-being. The development
of these scenarios would benefit from the
use of participatory approaches, integrating
stakeholders from multiple sectors (for
example, fisheries, agriculture, forestry)
and should address decision-makers
from the local to the global scale3, thereby
supporting assessments being undertaken
by the Intergovernmental Platform
on Biodiversity and Ecosystem
Services (IPBES).
A strategy for IPBES-tailored scenarios
Changes in nature, including biodiversity
loss, emerge from interactions between
drivers operating across a wide range
of spatial scales, from local to global.
Consequences of these changes, such as
loss of ecosystem services supply, also play
out across multiple scales. However, the
recent IPBES methodological assessment
of scenarios and models of biodiversity and
ecosystem services showed that scenarios
used in global assessments rarely integrate
values and processes from sub-regional
scales, while scenarios used at local scale
are usually developed for specific contexts,
hampering their comparison across regions1.
Furthermore, existing global socioeconomic
and climate change scenarios, being used
by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change4, do not adequately consider nature
and its contributions to people. Scenarios
generated by past initiatives informing
global environmental assessments, such as
the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment5,
placed a stronger emphasis on nature, yet
the socioeconomic pathways explored
were similar to those in climate scenarios,
and hence included no consideration of
social–ecological feedbacks, and limited
consideration of multiscale processes.
Here, we outline a two-step strategy to
develop a new generation of scenarios that
overcome these limitations, in accordance
with guidance provided by IPBES1, which
encouraged close collaboration with the
wider scientific community “to develop a
flexible and adaptable suite of multiscaled
scenarios specifically tailored to its [IPBES’s]
objectives”1. The steps are as follows: (i)
extend existing global scenarios developed
by the climate-science community, by
modelling impacts on biodiversity and
ecosystem services (Fig.1a); and (ii)
make an ambitious effort to create a set of
multiscale scenarios of desirable ‘nature
futures’, based on the perspectives of
different stakeholders, taking into account
goals for both human development and
nature stewardship (Fig.1b).
Global biodiversity scenarios
Potential global trajectories for drivers
of ecosystem change have been recently
explored by the climate-science community6.
Although targeting long-term analyses,
with low sensitivity to short-term and
local/regional dynamics, the shared socio-
economic pathways (SSPs) explore a wide
range of human development pathways,
from slow to fast rates of population
growth, economic growth, technological
development, trade development and
implementation of environmental policies.
The SSPs can be used in combination with
representative concentration pathways
(RCPs), which describe pathways of
greenhouse gas emissions resulting in
different climate change scenarios.
Integrated assessment models and
global climate models can translate relevant
combinations of SSPs/RCPs into land-use
change and climate change projections.
© 2017 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature. All rights reserved. © 2017 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature. All rights reserved.
Existing biodiversity and ecosystem services
models1 can then be used to translate
these projections into potential impacts on
nature, nature’s contributions to people,
and good quality of life (Fig.1a). Although
this approach does not account for drivers
of change in biodiversity and ecosystem
services operating at regional and sub-
regional scales, it enables an assessment of
impacts from projected changes in land use
and climate at the global scale. In contrast
with previous analyses, we propose the
use of multiple models assessing impacts
across diverse dimensions of biodiversity
(for example, species richness, abundance,
and composition) and ecosystem services
(provisioning, regulating, and cultural
services). Comparable metrics for
biodiversity and ecosystem services
(such as essential biodiversity variables) will
be needed to harmonize outputs
from models addressing each of
these dimensions1,2.
Although this use of scenarios based on
combinations of SSPs/RCPs will continue
the tradition of viewing nature as the
endpoint in a linear cascade of models
(Fig.1a), there is little choice but to retain
this approach for informing the IPBES
global assessment, given its scheduled
delivery in 2019. However, this approach
will inform the more ambitious and
longer-term component of this two-step
strategy. The second component places our
relationship with nature at the centre of
scenario development and addresses the full
range of social–ecological feedbacks (Fig.1b).
Scenarios developed by this long-term
endeavour will underpin future rounds of
IPBES regional and global assessments.
Visioning nature futures
The process of developing nature futures
will produce multiple, stakeholder-defined
endpoints and then explore various
pathways for reaching those (Fig.1b).
These desirable nature futures should
represent a wide range of human–nature
interactions, based on the perspectives of
different stakeholders, and include a variety
of different types of human-modified
ecosystems encompassing different degrees
of human intervention. As in other visioning
exercises (Fig.2a), futures may range from
seascapes and landscapes managed for
multiple purposes (that is, multifunctional
landscapes) to intensely managed, highly
productive regions co-existing with
wilderness and minimally exploited marine
and freshwater ecosystems.
We propose an iterative, participatory
and creative process, to identify these
nature futures (Fig.2b). This process will
bring together key stakeholders from
different sectors, at multiple spatial scales,
including public administration agencies,
intergovernmental organizations, non-
governmental organizations, businesses,
civil society, indigenous peoples and local
communities, as well as the scientific
community. The articulation of nature
futures between stakeholders, and spatial
scales, will use visualization techniques and
other facilitation tools to enrich existing
statements of such futures. These visioning
exercises will build on emerging efforts at
multiple scales (for example, the European
Nature Outlook7, Fig.2a). Tools such as
scenario archetypes, that is, grouping
scenarios together as classes based on
similarities in underlying assumptions,
storylines, and characteristics, can then be
used to integrate visions, thus highlighting
conflicts and convergences across scales6.
At the global scale, nature futures
could, for example, explore pathways to
achieve the 2050 strategic vision of the
Convention on Biological Diversity8, and
work in collaboration with ongoing efforts
across other sectors developing visions
for the array of Sustainable Development
Goals. At the regional scale, nature futures
can be informed by the ongoing IPBES
regional assessments, which are collecting
information on trends of biodiversity and
ecosystem services, as well as by national
and regional biodiversity targets (for
example, national biodiversity strategies and
action plans). Local studies, on the other
hand, can provide knowledge on how to link
nature futures to decision-making, while
being inclusive of the diversity of nature
values held by different local communities9.
Once the alternative nature futures have
been identified, qualitative and quantitative
approaches (for example, modelling,
empirical studies and expert knowledge)
can be used to identify potential pathways
for reaching these endpoints, including
specific policy alternatives, and feedbacks
between nature, nature’s contributions to
people, quality of life and decision-making.
These analyses could be carried out in
working groups, focusing on three topics
(Fig.1b): (1) models of interactions between
biodiversity and ecosystem services;
(2) social–ecological feedbacks, such as
individual and institutional behavioural
responses to changes in nature and their
impact on human well-being; and (3)
trajectories of indirect (for example,
socioeconomic changes) and direct (for
example, land-use change) drivers of change
and their impacts on nature.
Biodiversity and ecosystem services
Explicit consideration of links between
biodiversity and ecosystem services is
limited in most models, and therefore
impacts of direct drivers on nature are
usually modelled independently of their
impacts on natures contributions to
people2. However, our knowledge about
the relationships between biodiversity
and ecosystem functioning, and therefore
services, has improved greatly10,11. Much of
this ecological knowledge, acquired at very
small scales (for example, experimental
plots) is still to be incorporated into
models at larger scales. Accounting for
Global pathways of
socio-economic development
Driver (for example, climate change
and land use) trajectories
Impacts on biodiversity and
ecosystem services
Ecosystem services
Nature contributions
Drivers, governance,
quality of life
Alternative nature futures
WG 1
WG 3
WG 2
Integrated assessment and
global climate models
Biodiversity and ecosystem
services models
Models, empirical studies and expert knowledge
Fig. 1 | Strategy to develop the next generation of biodiversity and ecosystem services scenarios
supporting the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. a, Extension of
global scenarios developed by the climate-science community, by analysing the impacts on biodiversity
and ecosystem services. b, A novel approach based on participatory nature futures, which are
transformed into scenarios using three working groups (WGs): interactions between biodiversity and
ecosystem services (WG 1), social–ecological feedbacks and impact on human well-being (WG 2); and
trajectories of indirect (for example, socioeconomic changes) and direct drivers (for example, land-use
change) (WG 3). Note: biodiversity and nature, and ecosystem services and nature’s contributions to
people, are used interchangeably throughout the text.
© 2017 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature. All rights reserved. © 2017 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature. All rights reserved.
the role of biodiversity in the delivery of
ecosystem services11 in each nature future
can be accomplished by a combination of
appropriate scale choice and application
of the most recent empirical, experimental
and modelling knowledge. When
indicators that are robust across scales are
available, methods that work at multiple
spatiotemporal scales can be integrated
(empirical studies, remote sensing and
ecosystem modelling)12.
Recent work has started to explore how
to map at continental scales the spatial
distribution of these benefits based on the
presence of species with particular traits13,
opening the door to assessments of how
regional and global scenarios of indirect
and direct drivers of biodiversity change
would affect ecosystem services, mediated
by changes in species distributions and
abundances. Such scenarios are likely to
demonstrate that nature’s contributions to
people depend both on natural and human
capital14, although their relative importance
may vary across ecosystem services.
Furthermore, scenarios could highlight
that the perceived relationship between
nature and nature’s contributions to people
may differ among stakeholder groups, that
is, landscape management preferences
of farmers, hunters, and tourists differ
because they expect different combinations
of services. Inclusion of indigenous and
local knowledge and practices is critical to
guarantee that diverse values of nature are
captured and integrated.
Social–ecological feedbacks
In developing this new generation of
scenarios, it is vital not only to include key
stakeholders in identifying the futures, but
also to describe and model how they may
respond to changes in drivers, biodiversity,
ecosystem services and human well-being
associated with each future. Models that
couple social and ecological dynamics are
becoming available, demonstrating that
insights from social–ecological feedbacks
can be critical for anticipating regime
shifts15. Agent-based and dynamic models
can represent how the well-being of key
agents, within each sector and realm, differ
in each vision, and how individual responses
and actions can impact the drivers
Many of these social–ecological
feedbacks play out across multiple scales and
locations through telecoupling between the
production and consumption of ecosystem
services, often mediated by trade, but
also through institutional and governance
linkages16. Being able to produce scenarios
that show, for example, major relocation
of crop production or fisheries as a result
of environmental changes17, is essential to
help policymakers prepare for potential
socioeconomic (transboundary) impacts.
Global and regional policies set
the boundaries for national policies,
which affect decision-making in local
communities. In turn, the decisions of
local stakeholders and how they respond
and manage different nature trajectories
can scale up to determine the dynamics
of ecosystem change at regional scales.
The development of multi-scale scenarios
provides a unique environment to address
these cross-scale social–ecological
feedbacks, and their impact on human well-
being, thereby stimulating further research
in this field.
Towards social–ecological pathways
The SSPs do not adequately incorporate
cross-scale dynamics and social–ecological
feedbacks involving nature. These
shortcomings lead to an underestimation
of the effects of telecoupling and of tipping
points in ecosystems (such as fisheries
collapse or forest to savannah shifts)18. By
producing multiscale scenarios for nature
futures enriched with local to regional
models of biodiversity and ecosystem
services, we can assess how a similar
scenario endpoint may produce distinct
contributions to people in different areas
of the world. This is particularly relevant
to broadening the range of drivers assessed
in current global scenarios of biodiversity,
as many drivers are not currently well
modelled at the global scale, but are well
understood at local scales — for example,
the impacts of hunting on biodiversity or
the impacts of forest loss on pollination.
Such work on social–ecological feedbacks
and the development of coupled analyses
of society, nature and nature contributions
to people, may ultimately lead to a revised
set of SSPs, in which nature plays a central
Sectors: ABCD
Africa Europe
Central Asia
Visions developed by stakeholders: civil society, private sector,
policymakers, indigenous knowledge and so on
Vision archetypes
Regional nature future
Global nature futures
Subregional to local
nature futures
Strengthening cultural identity
People consider nature and the landscape part of
their local and regional communities.
Going with the economic flow
Nature serves lifestyles (production-oriented),
leaving management to businesses and citizens.
Allowing nature to find its way
People feel strongly about the value of nature,
providing it enough space and time to evolve.
Working with nature
Aiming for long-term preservation of natural
processes and delivery of services to people.
Fig. 2 | Constructing multiscale, multisectoral visions for nature futures. a, Examples of futures for European nature from the Nature Outlook project. The
Nature Outlook project aimed to capture the benefits that nature offersto people by engaging citizens and businesses of multiple sectors in the development
of future visions for nature in the European Union. As a result of the participatory process, which included dialogues with stakeholders and a citizens’ survey,
four different nature futures were designed. b, Expansion to a multiscale, multisector approach to produce alternative nature futures. Panel a adapted with
permission from ref. 7, PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency.
© 2017 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature. All rights reserved. © 2017 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature. All rights reserved.
role alongside existing socioeconomic
To be successful, the scenario-
development process proposed here will
require scientific and technological advances
to fill knowledge gaps1 relating to the links
between nature, nature’s contributions
to people and human well-being. It will
thus rely on activities of a broad and
interdisciplinary community of scholars,
and equally critically, on the engagement
of policymakers, practitioners, and other
stakeholders. This engagement should
occur throughout all stages of scenario
development, from the identification
of nature futures, to modelling and
analysis, to decision support and policy
implementation1. Only through continued
engagement will scenarios be policy-relevant
and effectively used by decision-makers at
all scales.
Isabel M. D. Rosa1,2*, Henrique M. Pereira1,2,3*,
Simon Ferrier4, Rob Alkemade5,
Lilibeth A. Acosta6, H. Resit Akcakaya7,
Eefje den Belder5,8, Asghar M. Fazel9,10,
Shinichiro Fujimori11,12, Mike Harfoot13,
Khaled A. Harhash14, Paula A. Harrison15,
Jennifer Hauck16,17, Rob J. J. Hendriks18,
Gladys Hernández19, Walter Jetz20,21,
Sylvia I. Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen22, HyeJin Kim23,
Nicholas King24, Marcel T. J. Kok5,
Grygoriy O. Kolomytsev25, Tanya Lazarova5,
Paul Leadley26, Carolyn J. Lundquist27,28,
Jaime García Márquez29, Carsten Meyer1,20,
Laetitia M. Navarro1,2, Carsten Nesshöver1,16,
Hien T. Ngo30, Karachepone N. Ninan31,
Maria G. Palomo32, Laura M. Pereira33,
Garry D. Peterson34, Ramon Pichs19,
Alexander Popp35, Andy Purvis36,
Federica Ravera37,38,39, Carlo Rondinini40,
Jyothis Sathyapalan41, Aafke M. Schipper5,
Ralf Seppelt2,17, Josef Settele1,42, Nadia Sitas43
and Detlef van Vuuren5
1 German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research
(iDiv), 04103 Leipzig, Germany. 2 Martin Luther
University Halle-Wittenberg, 06108 Halle, Germany.
3 Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos
Genéticos (CIBIO), Universidade do Porto, Vairāo
4485-661, Portugal. 4 Commonwealth Scientic and
Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Land and
Water, Canberra 2601, Australia. 5 PBL Netherlands
Environmental Assessment Agency, 2500 GH e Hague,
e Netherlands. 6 Department of Community and
Environmental Resource Planning, College of Human
Ecology, University of the Philippines Los Banos
(UPLB), Laguna 4031, Philippines. 7 Department
of Ecology and Evolution, Stony Brook University,
Stony Brook, NY 11794-5245, USA.
8 Agrosystems Research, Wageningen University and
Research, 6708 PB Wageningen, e Netherlands.
9 Univ ersity Coll ege o f Envi ronment , Karaj 141 55-61 35,
Iran. 10 ECO Institute of Environmental Science and
Technology (ECO-IEST), Karaj 31746-118, Iran.
11 Center for Social and Environmental Systems
Research, National Institute for Environmental
Studies (NIES), Tsukuba 305-8506 Ibaraki, Japan.
12 International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
(IIASA), Schlossplatz 1 A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria.
13 United Nations Environment Programme, World
Conservation Monitoring Centre, Cambridge CB3
0DL, UK. 14 Egyptian Environmental Aairs Agency
(EEAA), Maadi, Cairo 11728, Egypt. 15 Centre for
Ecology and Hydrology, Lancaster Environment
Centre, Bailrigg LA1 4AP Lancaster, UK. 16 UFZ —
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, 04318
Leipzig, Germany. 17 CoKnow Consulting, 04838
Jesewitz, Germany. 18 Directorate of Agro and Nature
Knowledge, Ministry of Economic Aairs,
2594 AC e Hague, e Netherlands. 19 Centre for
World Economy Studies (CIEM), Miramar,
Habana 11300, Cuba. 20 Ecology and Evolutionary
Biology Department, Yale University,
New Haven, CT 06520-8106 Connecticut, USA.
21 Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College
London, Silwood Park Ascot Berkshire SL5 7PY,
UK. 22 Public Administration Group, Wageningen
University and Research, 6708 PB Wageningen,
e Netherlands. 23 National Institute of Ecology,
Seocheon 33657, Republic of Korea. 24 Research Unit
for Environmental Sciences and Management, North-
West University, Potchefstroom 2520, South Africa.
25 I.I. Schmalhausen Institute of Zoology of National
Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kiev 01030,
Ukraine. 26 Laboratoire d’Ecologie, Systématique
et Evolution, Université Paris-Sud, 91405 Orsay,
France. 27 Institute of Marine Science, University of
Auckland, Auckland 1142, New Zealand. 28 Nati onal
Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd
(NIWA), Hamilton 3216, New Zealand. 29 IRI
THESys, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, 10117
Berlin, Germany. 30 IPBES secretariat, D-53113 Bonn,
Germany. 31 Centre for Economics, Environment and
Society, Bangalore 560 047, India. 32 Museo Argentino
de Ciencias Naturales (MACN-CONICET), Buenos
Aires C1405DJR, Argentina. 33 Centre for Complex
Systems in Transition, Stellenbosch University,
Stellenbosch 7600, South Africa. 34 Stockholm
Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, Stockholm
SE-106 91, Sweden. 35 Potsdam Institute for Climate
Impact Research (PIK), Telegraphenberg, 14473
Potsdam, Germany. 36 Department of Life Sciences,
Natural History Museum, London SW7 5BD,
UK. 37 Instituto de Ciências Agrárias e Ambientais
Mediterrânica (ICAAM), University of Évora, Évora
7002-554, Portugal. 38 Agroecology and Food Systems,
UVic-Universitat Central De Catalunya, Carrer de
la Sagrada Família 7, 08500 Vic, Spain. 39 CREAF,
Cerdanyola del Vallès, Catalonia 08193, Spain.
40 Global Mammal Assessment Program, Department
of Biology and Biotechnologies, Sapienza University
of Rome, Rome 00185, Italy. 41 Centre for Economic
and Social Studies (CESS), Hyderabad 500016,
India. 42 UFZ — Helmholtz Centre for
Environmental Research, Halle 06120, Germany.
43 Council for Scientic and Industrial Research
(CSIR), Stellenbosch 7600, South Africa.
Published: xx xx xxxx
DOI: 10.1038/s41559-017-0273-9
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These recommendations emerged from a workshop
held at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity
Research (iDiv), in Leipzig, between 3 and 6 October
2016, organized and funded by the Technical Support
Unit on Scenarios and Models of Biodiversity and
Ecosystem Services of IPBES Deliverable 3c, and iDiv.
I.M.D.R. has received funding from the European
Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation
programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant
agreement no. 703862.
Author contributions
I.M.D.R. and H.M.P. wrote the paper with input from
all co-authors. All co-authors were participants in the
workshop, and provided comments and revisions to the
manuscript. Note that the author list, after the fourth
author, is in alphabetic order by authors’ surname.
Competing interests
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
... Scenario analysis has proved to be a powerful tool in identifying measures that are required for effective conservation across different regions 10,11 . Recently, spatially explicit model-based scenarios have been used to explore policies that could reduce threats to conservation from agriculture 12 and to evaluate measures to halt and reverse biodiversity decline while sustaining global food supply 13 . ...
... Recently, spatially explicit model-based scenarios have been used to explore policies that could reduce threats to conservation from agriculture 12 and to evaluate measures to halt and reverse biodiversity decline while sustaining global food supply 13 . However, most existing scenario approaches have modelled the impact of society and conservation policy on nature 11 , while the impact of conservation actions on societies is largely unexplored 8,14,15 . For example, the impacts of widespread area-based conservation measures on food security and health remain poorly understood 9,15 . ...
... For example, the impacts of widespread area-based conservation measures on food security and health remain poorly understood 9,15 . Furthermore, existing studies of human and biodiversity interactions have been typically conducted at global scales, despite calls to ensure regional variations are considered 11,16 . ...
Full-text available
Global biodiversity is rapidly declining and goals to halt biodiversity loss, such as the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, have not been achieved. To avoid further biodiversity loss and aid recovery some have argued for the protection of 50% or 30% of the Earth’s terrestrial land surface. We use a state of the art global land use model, LandSyMM, to assess global and regional human health and food security outcomes when potential area based strategies for conserving biodiversity are modelled. We find diet and weight changes in strictly enforced 30% and 50% land protection scenarios, cause an additional 5.1 million deaths in 2060. At a regional level, South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa experience high levels of underweight-related mortality, causing an additional 200,000 deaths in these regions alone. Developed regions in contrast are less affected by protection measures. Our results highlight that radical measures to protect areas of biodiversity value may jeopardise food security and human health in the most vulnerable regions of the world.
... However, these values are rarely accounted for in adaptation responses to climate change (Adger et al. 2013). One reason for this is the lack of a framework that is able to recognize multiple (desired) futures for nature and society, and which acknowledges potential trade-offs between values when incorporating aspects like climate change into models (Pereira et al. 2020;Lindquist et al. 2017;Rosa et al. 2017;IPBES 2016;Díaz et al. 2015). ...
... Thus, finding ways in which the different components of the NFF can be included could help modeling efforts represent a broader set of societal values that encapsulate a wider range of nature's contributions to people. What we put into models is determined by the characteristics underlying their initial scenario assumptions (O'Neill et al. 2014) and so we need to start with broader ideas of diverse values when looking at scenarios through a critical social science lens (PBL 2018; Rosa et al. 2017). For example, a model framework for managing woody encroachment only considering NS values could result in moving away from using fire as the potential for large-uncontrolled fires increases under more frequent extreme weather events (IPCC 2021). ...
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Conservation approaches to social-ecological systems have largely been informed by a framing of preserving nature for its instrumental societal benefits, often ignoring the complex relationship of humans and nature and how climate change might impact these. The Nature Futures Framework (NFF) was developed by the Task Force on scenarios and models of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services as a heuristic approach that appreciates the diverse positive values of nature and its contribution to people. In this overview, we convene a group of experts to discuss the NFF as a tool to inform management in social-ecological systems facing climate change. We focus on three illustrative case studies from the global south across a range of climate change impacts at different ecological levels. We find that the NFF can facilitate the identification of trade-offs between alternative climate adaptation pathways based on different perspectives on the values of nature they emphasize. However, we also identify challenges in adopting the NFF, including how outputs can be translated into modeling frameworks. We conclude that using the NFF to unpack diverse management options under climate change is useful, but that there are still gaps where more work needs to be done to make it fully operational. A key conclusion is that a range of multiple perspectives of people’s values on nature could result in adaptive decision-making and policy that is resilient in responding to climate change impacts in social-ecological systems.
... For example, the nested ToCs that we have described may not have su cient detail or local context for actors working to implement conservation on the ground. To overcome this, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) has recognised the need for multi-scale conservation planning 21 . Our framework could be extended to support multi-scale conservation planning by establishing multi-level, hierarchical enabling pro les that represent enabling condition contexts operating at different spatial scales (e.g., sub-national enabling pro les nested hierarchically within multinational enabling pro les). ...
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Global Theories of Change (ToCs), such as the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), provide broad, overarching guidance for achieving conservation goals. However, broad guidance cannot inform how conservation actions will lead to desired outcomes. We provide a framework for translating a global-scale ToC into focussed, ecosystem-specific ToCs that consider feasibility of actions, as determined by national socioeconomic and political context (i.e., enabling conditions). We demonstrate the framework using coastal wetland ecosystems as a case study. We identified six distinct multinational profiles of enabling conditions (‘enabling profiles’) for coastal wetland conservation. For countries belonging to enabling profiles with high internal capacity to enable conservation, we described plausible ToCs that involved strengthening policy and regulation. Alternatively, for enabling profiles with low internal enabling capacity, plausible ToCs typically required formalising community-led conservation. Our ‘enabling profile’ framework could be applied to other ecosystems to help operationalise the post-2020 GBF.
... A t present, global models of biodiversity and ecosystem services estimate the impacts of anthropogenic stressors (e.g., climate change, land-use change) using scenarios that operate independently (Rosa et al. 2017). Projections of socioeconomic variables such as demography and land-use change are traditionally used to estimate impacts on biodiversity separately from those on ecosystem services (Pereira et al. 2010). ...
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Global biodiversity and ecosystem service models typically operate independently. Ecosystem service projections may therefore be overly optimistic because they do not always account for the role of biodiversity in maintaining ecological functions. We review models used in recent global model intercomparison projects and develop a novel model integration framework to more fully account for the role of biodiversity in ecosystem function, a key gap for linking biodiversity changes to ecosystem services. We propose two integration pathways. The first uses empirical data on biodiversity–ecosystem function relationships to bridge biodiversity and ecosystem function models and could currently be implemented globally for systems and taxa with sufficient data. We also propose a trait-based approach involving greater incorporation of biodiversity into ecosystem function models. Pursuing both approaches will provide greater insight into biodiversity and ecosystem services projections. Integrating biodiversity, ecosystem function, and ecosystem service modeling will enhance policy development to meet global sustainability goals.
... Suggested process elements such as individualbased reflexive inquiries and constructively engaging with dissensus are more achievable at the local levels of landscape management. Additionally, applications in local decision-making, as opposed to the global one, present conditions necessary for representativeness and inclusiveness of diverse values held by different communities (Rosa et al. 2017), which nevertheless require navigating "the politics of doing inclusion" and balancing representation with deliberation locally (Kok et al. 2021). Therefore, the implications of informed decision-making using a valuesknowledge perspective guided by one or more of the three modalities becomes relevant for the local governance of place, its equity and justice. ...
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Respecting connections between the diversity of values and forms of knowledge is essential to support a decision-making that fosters relationships between ecosystems and people. However, little theory has been developed for clarifying interactions between values and knowledge, and their relevance for environmental policy. We surfaced the overlooked relationship between values and knowledge by studying individual cognitive and emotional processes during a guided visioning exercise in the context of the multifunctional landscapes of Östergötland, Sweden. We investigated these cognitive processes using 30 semi-structured interviews and questionnaires organized around three types of relationships: vision ⇔ values, vision ⇔ knowledge, and especially values ⇔ knowledge. The analysis of the relationship between vision and values reveals that all types of values including core human values, relational, and intrinsic values are important in shaping the decision-making context in which landscape management visions arise. The relationship between vision and knowledge uncovers the mix of experiential and theoretical knowledge that informs the decision-making context. Interviews unfold three modalities in terms of how values and knowledge relate: i) linked and not necessarily connected (e.g. when individuals perceive a high conflict between their knowledge and their values leading to one construct silencing the other); ii) mutually reinforcing (e.g. when values and knowledge are seen as feeding into one another); and iii) intertwined (e.g. when individuals perceive that values and knowledge can co-exist). We discuss our findings in the context of their relevance for a collaborative decision-making process for balancing consensus and dissensus in multifunctional landscapes.
... 3 development pathways using different narratives of population and gross domestic product (GDP) change throughout this century (Rosa et al. 2017). The RCP scenarios present future climate change (e.g., temperature and precipitation) under different CO 2 concentrations which have been widely used in Earth System Models and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report (Riahi et al. 2017). ...
... Scenarios of biodiversity change that can inform decision-making are under development (Rosa et al. 2017;Leclère et al. 2020), but biological invasions are not considered in these analytical frameworks, despite the recognition of the importance of their integration into global environmental policies (e.g. Sustainable Development Goals; UN 2019). ...
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The extent and impacts of biological invasions on biodiversity are largely shaped by an array of socio-economic and environmental factors, which exhibit high variation among countries. Yet, a global analysis of how these factors vary across countries is currently lacking. Here, we investigate how five broad, country-specific socio-economic and environmental indices (Governance, Trade, Environmental Performance, Lifestyle and Education, Innovation) explain country-level (1) established alien species (EAS) richness of eight taxonomic groups, and (2) proactive or reactive capacity to prevent and manage biological invasions and their impacts. These indices underpin many aspects of the invasion process, including the introduction, establishment, spread and management of alien species. They are also general enough to enable a global comparison across countries, and are therefore essential for defining future scenarios for biological invasions. Models including Trade, Governance, Lifestyle and Education, or a combination of these, best explained EAS richness across taxonomic groups and national proactive or reactive capacity. Historical (1996 or averaged over 1996–2015) levels of Governance and Trade better explained both EAS richness and the capacity of countries to manage invasions than more recent (2015) levels, revealing a historical legacy with important implications for the future of biological invasions. Using Governance and Trade to define a two-dimensional socio-economic space in which the position of a country captures its capacity to address issues of biological invasions, we identified four main clusters of countries in 2015. Most countries had an increase in Trade over the past 25 years, but trajectories were more geographically heterogeneous for Governance. Declines in levels of Governance are concerning as they may be responsible for larger levels of invasions in the future. By identifying the factors influencing EAS richness and the regions most susceptible to changes in these factors, our results provide novel insights to integrate biological invasions into scenarios of biodiversity change to better inform decision-making for policy and the management of biological invasions.
... Scenarios were presented in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment; however, they did not explore social-ecological feedback and dynamic interactions. Currently, a task force at IPBES is developing new scenarios that take dynamic interactions and feedbacks into consideration (Rosa et al. 2017). Such scenarios can then illustrate that the future will hold unpredictable conditions for ES and point to the need to embracing change (Pereira et al. 2021). ...
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Panarchy illustrates the dynamic nature of social-ecological systems and their nestedness and interconnectedness through time and space. Although there have been great advances in ecosystem service (ES) research, it has only rarely integrated dynamic interaction of components in social-ecological systems (SES). We explore how Panarchy theory, and especially its detailed reflections on change and system dynamics, could help ES research to better capture the dynamics of change into its fundamental assumptions. We do this by outlining four main conclusions of Panarchy theory: multiple states, the adaptive cycle, variances of the adaptive cycle, and change and persistence for sustainability. We illustrate how these aspects can be incorporated in ES research and conclude with recommendations for the field.
Biotic interactions drive multitrophic species community assembly. Yet, explicitly incorporating this process in species distribution models (SDMs) is particularly challenging, even when biotic interactions are known. Here, we propose a framework that combines knowledge of trophic interactions with Bayesian structural equation models that model each species as a function of its prey or predators and environmental conditions. We tested and validated our framework on realistic simulated communities from different theoretical models. We showed that our framework improves the inference of both species’ fundamental and realized niches compared to classical SDMs (mean performances increased by 11% and 4% respectively), especially for species with strong biotic control, thus increasing model predictive performance (up to 99% and 70% improvement, respectively). Our framework can easily integrate various SDM extensions (e.g., occupancy models) and algorithms, and stands out as a novel solution for modeling multitrophic community distributions when trophic interactions are known or assumed.
Unprecedented human induced changes to the climate system have already contributed to a variety of observed impacts to both ecosystems and populations. Decision-makers demand impact assessments at the regional-to-local scale to be able to plan and define effective climate action measures. Integrated socio-ecological assessments that properly consider system uncertainties require the use of prospective scenarios that project potential climate impacts, while accounting for sectoral exposure and adaptive capacity. Here we provide an integrated assessment of climate change to the whale watching sector by: 1) extending the European Shared Socio-economic Pathways (Eur-SSPs) and developing four whale watching SSP narratives (WW-SSPs) and 2) characterize each key element comprised in the WW-SSPs for the time period 2025-2055. We applied this approach in a case study for the Macaronesia region where we developed scenarios which integrate the socio-economic (WW-SSPs), climate (RCPs) and ecological (species' thermal suitability responses) dimensions of whale watching. These scenarios were used by local stakeholders to identify the level of preparedness of the whale watching sector. When confronted with scenarios that combine this ecological dimension with projected climate changes and the four different socioeconomic narratives, stakeholders assessed the whale watching sector in Macaronesia as being somewhat prepared for a Sustainable World and a Fossil Fuel Development World, but somewhat unprepared for a Rivalry World. No consensus was reached regarding the sector's preparedness level under an Inequality World scenario. Our study demonstrates the importance of considering multiple dimensions when assessing the potential challenges posed by climate change and provides a needed resource to help the whale watching sector in Macaronesia, and elsewhere, in its effort to devise efficient climate action policies and strategies.
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The occurrence of many species in the EU is expected to further decline, making it difficult to reach the 2050 policy vision. This study elaborates four ‘perspectives’ on the future of nature in the EU, in search for new approaches. The study concludes with topics for debate on a future policy strategy that increases engagement of citizens and businesses. For this study, the researchers have developed scenarios that represent four main perspectives on nature. In each perspective, people are connected with nature in different ways: Strengthening Cultural Identity – through love for the local landscape; Allowing Nature to Find its Way – for its intrinsic value; Going with the Economic Flow – for its contribution to individual lifestyles; Woring with Nature – as an essential basis for a sustainable society. Based on these values, each perspective offers new approaches to the challenges facing nature in Europe today: finding a shared agenda for nature areas, making nature more relevant for the sustainability of economic sectors, and strengthening the connection between people and nature. The EU should not choose one perspective over the other. Rather, the researchers recommend that a future nature vision should be a many-faceted one, which not only contains protection of species, ecosystems and the services they provide, but also other objectives, ranging from ensuring areas of undisturbed nature and space for dynamic processes to profit making and private initiatives. In particular lacking in policy visions seem relational values, the fact that nature provides identity to people; it would be promising to address nature in such a way that it will foster a sense of place.
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In complex systems, a critical transition is a shift in a system's dynamical regime from its current state to a strongly contrasting state as external conditions move beyond a tipping point. These transitions are often preceded by characteristic early warning signals such as increased system variability. However, early warning signals in complex, coupled human-environment systems (HESs) remain little studied. Here, we compare critical transitions and their early warning signals in a coupled HES model to an equivalent environment model uncoupled from the human system. We parameterize the HES model, using social and ecological data from old-growth forests in Oregon. We find that the coupled HES exhibits a richer variety of dynamics and regime shifts than the uncoupled environment system. Moreover, the early warning signals in the coupled HES can be ambiguous, heralding either an era of ecosystem conservationism or collapse of both forest ecosystems and conservationism. The presence of human feedback in the coupled HES can also mitigate the early warning signal, making it more difficult to detect the oncoming regime shift. We furthermore show how the coupled HES can be "doomed to criticality": Strategic human interactions cause the system to remain perpetually in the vicinity of a collapse threshold, as humans become complacent when the resource seems protected but respond rapidly when it is under immediate threat. We conclude that the opportunities, benefits, and challenges of modeling regime shifts and early warning signals in coupled HESs merit further research.
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What does the future hold for the world’s ecosystems and benefits that people obtain from them? While the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) has identified the development of scenarios as a key to helping decision makers identify potential impacts of different policy options, it currently lacks a long-term scenario strategy. IPBES will decide how it will approach scenarios at its plenary meeting on 22–28 February 2016, in Kuala Lumpur. IPBES now needs to decide whether it should create new scenarios that better explore ecosystem services and biodiversity dynamics. For IPBES to capture the social-ecological dynamics of biodiversity and ecosystem services, it is essential to engage with the great diversity of local contexts, while also including the global tele-coupling among local places. We present and compare three alternative scenario strategies that IPBES could use and then suggest a bottom-up, cross-scale scenario strategy to improve the policy relevance of future IPBES assessments. We propose five concrete steps as part of an effective, long term scenario development process for IPBES in cooperation with the scientific community.
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Current trajectories of global change may lead to regime shifts at regional scales, driving coupled human–environment systems to highly degraded states in terms of biodiversity, ecosystem services, and human well-being. For business-as-usual socioeconomic development pathways, regime shifts are projected to occur within the next several decades, to be difficult to reverse, and to have regional- to global-scale impacts on human society. We provide an overview of ecosystem, socioeconomic, and biophysical mechanisms mediating regime shifts and illustrate how these interact at regional scales by aggregation, synergy, and spreading processes. We give detailed examples of interactions for terrestrial ecosystems of central South America and for marine and coastal ecosystems of Southeast Asia. This analysis suggests that degradation of biodiversity and ecosystem services over the twenty-first century could be far greater than was previously predicted. We identify key policy and management opportunities at regional to global scales to avoid these shifts.
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A systematic literature review was undertaken to analyse the linkages between different biodiversity attributes and 11 ecosystem services. The majority of relationships between attributes and ecosystem services cited in the 530 studies were positive. For example, the services of water quality regulation, water flow regulation, mass flow regulation and landscape aesthetics were improved by increases in community and habitat area. Functional traits, such as richness and diversity, also displayed a predominantly positive relationship across the services, most commonly discussed for atmospheric regulation, pest regulation and pollination. A number of studies also discussed a positive correlation with stand age, particularly for atmospheric regulation. Species level traits were found to benefit a number of ecosystem services, with species abundance being particularly important for pest regulation, pollination and recreation, and species richness for timber production and freshwater fishing. Instances of biodiversity negatively affecting the examined ecosystem services were few in number for all ecosystem services, except freshwater provision. The review showed that ecosystem services are generated from numerous interactions occurring in complex systems. However, improving understanding of at least some of the key relationships between biodiversity and service provision will help guide effective management and protection strategies.
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Coupled human and natural systems (CHANS) manifest various complexities such as heterogeneity, nonlinearity, feedback, and emergence. Humans play a critical role in affecting such systems and in giving rise to various environmental consequences, which may in turn affect future human decisions and behavior. In light of complexity theory and its application in CHANS, this paper reviews various decision models used in agent based simulations of CHANS dynamics, discussing their strengths and weaknesses. This paper concludes by advocating development of more process-based decision models as well as protocols or architectures that facilitate better modeling of human decisions in various CHANS.
A suggestion for mapping the SRES illustrative scenarios onto the new scenarios framework of representative concentration pathways (RCPs) and shared socio-economic pathways (SSPs) is presented. The mapping first compares storylines describing future socio-economic developments for SRES and SSPs. Next, it compares projected atmospheric composition, radiative forcing and climate characteristics for SRES and RCPs. Finally, it uses the new scenarios matrix architecture to match SRES scenarios to combinations of RCPs and SSPs, resulting in four suggestions of suitable combinations, mapping: (i) an A2 world onto RCP 8.5 and SSP3, (ii) a B2 (or A1B) world onto RCP 6.0 and SSP2, (iii) a B1 world onto RCP 4.5 and SSP1, and (iv) an A1FI world onto RCP 8.5 and SSP5. A few other variants are also explored. These mappings, though approximate, may assist analysts in reconciling earlier scenarios with the new scenario framework.
In the context of climate change, resource limitations and other drivers, there is growing international acceptance that conventional technocratic approaches to planning urban water systems are inadequate to deliver the services society requires. Instead, scholars and practitioners are calling for a shift to an adaptive approach that increases a system's sustainability and resilience. This shift is significant, requiring transitions in the way urban water systems are planned, designed and managed. However, there is limited understanding of how strategic initiatives can be deliberately managed and coordinated to reform mainstream policy and practice. This paper aims to develop a strategic program for this purpose. It draws on strategy literature to develop a scope and logic for a general program that can address challenges for long-term urban infrastructure management related to path-dependencies, the direction of transformative change, system complexity and future uncertainty. The content of a normative transition scenario, developed in participatory workshops by water practitioners in Melbourne, is then presented, focusing on the transition to a “water sensitive city”. The scenario comprises a problem definition, vision and strategies, which provide lessons for contextualizing the strategic program for the specific purpose of enabling transformative change in urban water systems. These lessons are synthesized in strategy goals and planning processes that form the design base of a strategic program. With tailoring for local contexts, the strategic program can provide operational guidance for planners, designers and decision-makers in strategically planning and managing initiatives to facilitate sustainability transitions in urban water systems.