New EU-Level Scenarios on the Future of Ecosystem Services
New European Union level scenarios have been developed in the FP7 project OpenNESS to fill a thematic gap in existing broad-scale environmental scenarios to assess the uncertainties and risks of different drivers of change for natural capital and ecosystem service provision. The scenarios are aiming at applicability for science and policy-making at different scales, including the European level and regional and local scales. The scenarios are going beyond the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment scenarios, making broader assumptions in covering different types of ecosystem services, and different pathways of ecosystem services provision, including risks of ecosystem service losses. The main research question is addressing uncertainties and risks related to land-use change, exemplified via impacts on a provisioning and a regulating service. The approach is based on participatory scenario development and integrated modelling with the CLIMSAVE modelling framework. Four scenarios were developed (WealthBeing, UnitedWeStand, EcoCentre, RuralRevival). Simulations of the combinations of driving forces caused land-use changes up to +65% for forest, or −37% for grassland, both in UnitedWeStand. The most extreme changes highlighted here for scenario UnitedWeStand can mainly be attributed to the highest increase in irrigation efficiency (+58%) and crop yields (+50%), an almost constant human population in Europe (+1%), moderate increases in meat demands (+10%) and increasing food imports (+10%). In terms of ecosystem services provision, no clear winners and losers could be identified in the four scenarios, but rather different mixes of trade-offs and synergies. Thus, drivers within Europe as well as trade with land-intensive commodities and the policies steering them contribute to lower or increased pressures and risks of ecosystem services loss, e.g., on agricultural land in Europe and the countries of trading partners.
KeywordsEurope Land use Participatory scenarios Policies Simulation model
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