Downscaling scenarios of future land use and land cover changes using a participatory approach: an application to mountain risk assessment in the Pyrenees (France)

Abstract

Better understanding the pathways through which future socioeconomic changes might influence land use and land cover changes (LULCCs) is a crucial step in accurately assessing the resilience of societies to mountain hazards. Participatory foresight involving local stakeholders may help building fine-scale LULCC scenarios that are consistent with the likely evolution of mountain communities. This paper develops a methodology that combines participatory approaches in downscaling socioeconomic scenarios with LULCC modelling to assess future changes in mountain hazards, applied to a case study located in the French Pyrenees. Four spatially explicit local scenarios are built each including a narrative, two future land cover maps up to 2040 and 2100, and a set of quantified LULCC. Scenarios are then used to identify areas likely to encounter land cover changes (deforestation, reforestation, and encroachment) prone to affect gravitational hazards. In order to demonstrate their interest for decision-making, future land cover maps are used as input to a landslide hazard assessment model. Results highlight that reforestation will continue to be a major trend in all scenarios and confirm that the approach improves the accuracy of landslide hazard computations. This validates the interest of developing fine-scale LULCC models that account for the local knowledge of stakeholders.

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Acknowledgments

This study was part of the Society Adaptation for coping with Mountain risks in a global change Context (SAMCO) project funded by the French National Research Agency (ANR 12 SENV-0004 SAMCO). We would like to thank the Pyrenees National Park for providing historical GIS data, and the reviewers for their constructive comments on the earlier draft.

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Houet, T., Grémont, M., Vacquié, L. et al. Downscaling scenarios of future land use and land cover changes using a participatory approach: an application to mountain risk assessment in the Pyrenees (France). Reg Environ Change 17, 2293–2307 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10113-017-1171-z

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Keywords

  • Land use and land cover changes
  • Modelling
  • Future
  • Narratives
  • Stakeholders