Caring for the Land In a Time of Change
After two hundred years of regrowth, forest cover is declining in all six New England states. The incremental chipping away of open space seems imperceptible on a daily basis. Yet, land use is altering forests and other natural lands faster than climate change in the northeastern U.S.
The consequences of this double whammy and its feedbacks to climate change are profound. However, few organizations are incorporating both land use and climate change into greenhouse gas inventories, climate mitigation and adaptation plans, and land conservation priorities. Scenarios bring together stakeholder knowledge, big data, and sophisticated models to overcome these limitations and help achieve more resilient landscapes for people and nature.
Exploring Options for the Future
|As part of the New England Landscape Futures project, the Science Policy Exchange is collaborating with stakeholders to build and evaluate scenarios that show how land-use choices and climate change could shape the landscape over the next 50 years. We work with teams of scientists to assess the consequences and trade-offs for ecosystem services and other benefits under each scenario. The resulting maps and data provide useful tools for exploring the impacts of different policy, planning, and conservation strategies. The project, led by the Harvard Forest, started in Massachusetts and now extends to the entire New England region.|
Gaining Ground with Scenario Science
We’re enlisting resource managers, government officials, conservationists and other academics in a New Englandwide “Scenarios, Services, and Society” network. We’ve engaged approximately 200 stakeholders across the region in a scenario-building process. Through in-depth interviews and interactive workshops participants gain capacity for scenario planning, access data on current trends, and design scenarios relevant to their own decisions.