Identifying pathways to visions of future land use in Europe
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Plausible scenarios of future land use derived from model projections may differ substantially from what is actually desired by society, and identifying such mismatches is important for identifying policies to resolve them. This paper presents an approach to link explorative projections of future land use for the European Union to normative visions of desired land-use futures. We used the results of 24 scenario projections obtained from seven linked simulation models to explore uncertainty in future land-use developments. Land-use projections were linked to statements made by stakeholders for three normative visions of desired, future land use. The visions differed in the scale of multifunctionality of land use: at European (Best Land in Europe), regional (Regional Connected) or local (Local Multifunctional) level. To identify pathways to these visions, we analysed in which cases projected land-use changes matched with the land-use changes desired in the visions. We identified five pathways to the vision Regional Connected, two pathways to the vision Best Land in Europe, but no pathway to the vision Local Multifunctional. Our results suggest that policies have the ability to change the development of land use such that it is more in line with land-use futures desired by society. We believe our approach represents an interesting avenue for foresight studies on land use, as it combines the credibility from explorative scenarios with legitimacy and saliency of normative visions.
KeywordsExplorative scenarios Land use Normative visions Pathways
The authors thank two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on the manuscript. The authors also thank Sergey Zudin, Elena Zudina and Simo Varis from the European Forest Institute for their help with data processing, Bep Schrammeijer from VU University for scenario simulations, as well as all partners of the VOLANTE Project for their comments on the approach. This work has been funded through the EU 7th framework project VOLANTE (Project Number 265104) and is part of the strategic research program KBIV “Sustainable spatial development of ecosystems, landscapes, seas and regions”, funded by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs (in the part of work carried out by Wageningen University & Research). Opinions expressed in this paper are those of the authors only.
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