Participatory scenario planning in place-based social-ecological research: insights and experiences from 23 case studies

Oteros-Rozas , Elisa, Martin-López, Berta, Daw, Tim M., Bohensky, Erin L., Butler, James R.A., Hill, Rosemary, Martin-Ortaga, Julia, Quinlin, Allyson, Revera, Frederica, Ruiz-Mallén, Isabel, Thyresson, Matilda, Mistry, Jayalaxshmi, Palomo, Ignacio, Peterson, Garry D., Plieninger, Tobias, Waylen, Kerry A., Beach, Dylan M. , Bohnet, Iris C,, Hamann, Maike, Hanspach, Jan, Hubacek, Klaus, Lavorel, Sandra, and Vilardy, Sandra P. (2015) Participatory scenario planning in place-based social-ecological research: insights and experiences from 23 case studies. Ecology and Society, 20 (4). 32.

[img] PDF (Published Version) - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

View at Publisher Website:


Participatory scenario planning (PSP) is an increasingly popular tool in place-based environmental research for evaluating alternative futures of social-ecological systems. Although a range of guidelines on PSP methods are available in the scientific and grey literature, there is a need to reflect on existing practices and their appropriate application for different objectives and contexts at the local scale, as well as on their potential perceived outcomes. We contribute to theoretical and empirical frameworks by analyzing how and why researchers assess social-ecological systems using place-based PSP, hence facilitating the appropriate uptake of such scenario tools in the future. We analyzed 23 PSP case studies conducted by the authors in a wide range of social-ecological settings by exploring seven aspects: (1) the context; (2) the original motivations and objectives; (3) the methodological approach; (4) the process; (5) the content of the scenarios; (6) the outputs of the research; and (7) the monitoring and evaluation of the PSP process. This was complemented by a reflection on strengths and weaknesses of using PSP for the place-based social-ecological research. We conclude that the application of PSP, particularly when tailored to shared objectives between local people and researchers, has enriched environmental management and scientific research through building common understanding and fostering learning about future planning of social-ecological systems. However, PSP still requires greater systematic monitoring and evaluation to assess its impact on the promotion of collective action for transitions to sustainability and the adaptation to global environmental change and its challenges.

Item ID: 42112
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1708-3087
Keywords: futures research; methodological insights; participation; place-based research; scenarios; social-ecological systems
Funders: Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS), Social Science and Humanities Research Council, Canada, University of Saskatchewan, German Ministry of Education and Research (FKZ), European Community's Seventh Framework Programme (EC7), Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), Rural Economy and Land Use Program (RELP), Australian Department of the Environment, Australian Government's Natural Resource Management (NRM), Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Research Program, Wet Tropics Cluster (NRM) Groups, Reef Catchments (NRM), Terrain (NRM), DFAT-CSIRO Research for Development Alliance, Spanish Ministry for the Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs (SMERMA), Spanish Ministry of the Economy and Competitiveness (SMEC), Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, US National Science Foundation (NSF), Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) programme , Bonnechere River Watershed Project, Ontario Trillium Foundation, World Wildlife Fund, Spain, Autonomous Organization of National Parks, Spain, Spanish Ministry of Education
Projects and Grants: FKZ 01UU0904A-D, EC7 - HERCULES 603447, EC7 - COMET-LA 282845, EC7 - COMBIOSERVE 282899, EC7 - COBRA 249667), RELP RES-224-25-0088, SMERMA 079/RN08/02.1 , SMERMA 018/2009, SMEC CGL2011-30266, ESPA NE/I00324X/1
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2016 00:30
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0599 Other Environmental Sciences > 059999 Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960301 Climate Change Adaptation Measures @ 100%
Downloads: Total: 5
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page