Scenarios and story lines: drivers of land use change in southern Mexico

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Abstract

The study presents three scenarios of land use and cover change (LUCC), the most important factor for environmental degradation in southern Mexico. We developed story lines and quantitative projections for regional scenarios based on historic LUCC processes, environmental policies, socioeconomic drivers, stakeholder consultations and official planning documents to gain a better understanding of drivers of LUCC, and quantitative scenarios were modeled with DINAMICA-EGO. Regionally specific interactions between social and natural systems are recognized, and detrimental policies and policy options for landscape conservation and management for sustainability are acknowledged in a base line, variant and alternative scenario. Incongruent policies and ineffective ground implementation of conservation actions were identified as the critical underlying drivers of deforestation and forest degradation that could lead to a severe reduction in natural forests, while the local socioeconomic situation stays precarious. The baseline scenario parts from an analysis of historic LUCC processes and shows the consequences of LUCC tendencies: 73% of temperate forests and 50% of tropical forests would get deforested until 2030. In the variant scenario, these tendencies are adjusted to planning goals extracted from official documents and recent changes in public policies. The alternative scenario further addresses policy options for fostering conservation and sustainable development, but because of the time lag of implementation, still 59% of temperate forests and 36% of tropical forest would get lost until 2030. Nevertheless, this represents a reduction of 13% of forest loss and 11% less pastureland due to the proposed measures of conservation, and sustainable management, including strategies for reforming agricultural systems, agricultural and forestry policies and trade, land tenure and livelihood risk management.

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Kolb, M., Galicia, L. Scenarios and story lines: drivers of land use change in southern Mexico. Environ Dev Sustain 20, 681–702 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10668-016-9905-5

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Keywords

  • Policy options
  • Sustainability
  • Scenario analysis
  • Storyline
  • Modeling
  • Mexico