Tuesday 6
Using scenarios to explore plausible social-ecological futures
Garry Peterson
› 15:40 - 16:40 (1h)
› JOFFRE 1-1
Planning for Social-ecological system transformation: Lessons from scenario planning for wildlife management in the SW Yukon
Dylan Beach  1@  , Douglas Clark  1@  
1 : School of Environment and Sustainability, University of Saskatchewan  (SENS)  -  Website
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, S7N5C8 -  Canada

With the complexity of social-ecological systems (SES) there have been few methods contributed that can operationalize navigating SESs transformations for practitioners. We argue that scenario planning can help. Using a SES framework, we conducted a participatory, qualitative scenario planning process to develop wildlife management goals under four plausible future scenarios in the southwest Yukon. Several characteristics made the southwest Yukon an opportune context in which to undertake this study. Literature suggests that the southwest Yukon is a SES in transition. Importantly, wood bison, elk, and mule deer are all “new” ungulates on the landscape. Additionally, the co-management context of the southwest Yukon is characterized by a high degree of institutional linkages, which provide the region with improved adaptive capacity.

Embedding the scenario planning process within a SES framework helped participants to think long term and holistically. This factor facilitated envisioning alternate pathways for the system. Imagining scenarios where culturally sensitive wildlife populations struggled helped participants to understand the potential for “new” ungulate species to provide a more food secure future. Maintaining “new” ungulate populations at socially desirable levels was a management goal from the workshops, intending to secure the three species for future use. Implementing this goal could result in helping to shift the southwest Yukon SES to a new system state with radically altered human values and floral and faunal compositions.

Several steps of the scenario planning process seemed to link with strategies for navigating SES transformations. Participants identified drivers of change, grouped them into axes of uncertainty, and envisioned how they may interact into the future. This linked with recognizing thresholds and the current state of the system. Identifying scenario logics and describing different plausible futures linked with identifying alternative states into which the system could transform. In each scenario, identifying threats and opportunities, management goals, recommendations, monitoring needs, and resource gaps offered a way to uncover potential crises and develop strategies to overcome barriers to change. Through the development of indicators, scenario planning can enhance the flexibility of resource managers to seize windows of opportunity for SES transformation. By exploring and testing different management options, scenario planning can help resource managers plan to reduce the likelihood of shifts to undesirable system states, or conversely, improve the likelihood of shifts to desirable system states. 

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