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The Relevance of Local Participatory Scenario Planning for Ecosystem Management Policies in the Basque Country, Northern Spain

Igone Palacios-Agundez, Plant Biology and Ecology Department, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU
Izaskun Casado-Arzuaga, Plant Biology and Ecology Department, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU
Iosu Madariaga, Environment Department, County Council of Biscay; Plant Biology and Ecology Department, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU
Miren Onaindia, Plant Biology and Ecology Department, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-05619-180307

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Abstract

As part of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment in Biscay, Basque Country, we described scenarios for Biscay through 2050 in an integrated and participatory way by downscaling the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) global scenarios, analyzed how ecosystem services and human well-being might change in a range of plausible futures, identified management strategies for the territory through a backcasting process, and explored the relevance of scenarios to policy making. Our intention was to strengthen the link to policy making and to achieve a real implementation of our research results in ecosystem management policies. We also aimed to provide more insights on how large-scale scenario developments can be translated to the local level. In doing so, we emphasized specific local characteristics and used highly participatory methods focusing on novel elements, such as organizing back-to-back workshops, creating coherent scenarios across scales, using visual elements to present exploratory scenarios, and combining exploratory scenarios with normative backcasting using a World Café methodology. The outcome scenarios and management proposals are relevant for decision making and planning processes at local scale and at the same time, they are comparable to other assessment scenarios. This local participatory scenario process and tool for landscape planning is already having a policy impact thanks to the involvement of public administration technicians and policy makers. In the recently renewed strategic policy plan for sustainability of the county, this assessment is considered a high priority. Therefore, for the next steps of the assessment, detailed guidelines for ecosystem management policies are planned.

Key words

Biscay subglobal assessment (EEMBiscay); ecosystem service; Millennium Ecosystem Assessment; multiscale scenarios; policy impact; scenario planning; stakeholder participation
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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087