Tuesday 6
Using scenarios to explore plausible social-ecological futures
Garry Peterson
› 15:40 - 16:40 (1h)
› JOFFRE 1-1
Exploring Future Trajectories to Support Positive Changes in a Challenging Transformation: Case Study from the Chiquitania Region in Bolivia
Tahia Devisscher  1, *@  
1 : PhD Candidate, University of Oxford / Stockholm Environment Institute, Oxford
29 Grove Street OX2 7JT Oxford UK -  Royaume-Uni
* : Corresponding author

The Chiquitania region in Bolivia is currently undergoing a major transformation, both in ecological and social terms. The Chiquitania extends across 11.8 million hectares, which includes different national parks and reserves in Bolivia, and links the South American Gran Chaco to the south with the Amazon Rainforests to the north. Over time, the Chiquitania has gone through several transitions, which were mainly of passive adaptive nature. However, in the past decade, new actors have migrated to the territory and are rapidly changing the landscape and its culture. National policies are shaping land use dynamics, and climatic and economic factors are affecting the production sector. Currently, multiple drivers of change are converging and moving the region into a new phase of accelerated and large-scale transformation. On one front, this transformation could lead to major changes in the economic base and productivity of the Chiquitania, lower risk of fire events due to less use of fire for land clearing, improvement in national food security, and more decentralised governance. On the other front, critical trade-offs emerge from this process such as the expansion of the agricultural frontier at the expense of forests, forest carbon and biodiversity loss, the probability of higher fire impacts due to biomass accumulation and more frequent and intense droughts in the future, and erosion of the Chiquitano cultural identity.

This study builds on current changes in the Chiquitania region to explore possible scenarios for the future. The aim is to use scenarios to find trajectories that could support positive changes from this transformation in light of the challenges mentioned above. Future dynamics are built based on local expert knowledge and empirical social and biophysical data collected through satellite imagery analysis, forest plot measurements, participant observation and semi-structured interviews to diverse actors in the region (i.e. local and regional authorities, cattle rangers, indigenous and inter-cultural communities). The research is guided by two case studies in the Chiquitania region and adopts complex adaptive systems as its theoretical framework. The first case study is located in the southern transition between the Chiquitano dry forest and the cerrado ecosystem of the Gran Chaco, the second case study is located in the northern transition between the Chiquitano dry forest and the humid ecosystem of the Amazon. The study considers several slow and fast variables that are inter-linked to explore non-linear dynamics between land use change, forest management, fire, livestock production, agricultural production, and the behaviour of different actors in the Chiquitania. Scenarios reflect different policies, regulations and initiatives that are currently being developed at different governance levels and introduced in the region to modernize the agriculture sector, reduce fire occurrence, regularize forest clearing and management, and re-distribute land ownership.

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