Table 2. Impact factors of our study system with definitions and description of their respective future states. It is important to note that the impact factors differ in their complexity. Please also note that in a genuine formative scenario analysis (FSA) all future states are defined complementary to each other. We did not completely follow this approach in our study, particularly if future states are defined as a combination of aspects. In these cases, some of the future states may be partly overlapping.

Impact factors Definitions Characteristic developments-future states
1) Damage through natural hazards and extreme natural events Frequency and intensity of damage caused by natural hazards and extreme events (drought, forest fires, floods, avalanches, rockfall, land slides, heavy rainfall) 1) Marked local consequences of climate change
Melting of glaciers by 75-90%, high increase in the frequency of extreme events and high direct and indirect damage
2) Medium local consequences of climate change
Melting of glaciers by 50-75%, lower increase in the frequency of extreme events, moderate direct and indirect damage
3) Low local consequences of climate change
Melting of glaciers by up to 50%, very small increase in the frequency of extreme events, small direct and indirect damage
2) Environmental Quality Extent of the provision of environmental services by local ecosystems: diversity of species, habitats and landscape features, scenic beauty, recreation, protected areas 1) High environmental quality
By maintaining and expanding the protected areas
2) Moderate environmental quality
Preservation of cultural heritage and traditional landscapes; traditional farming
3) Low environmental quality
Economically productive region leads to high loss of environmental services
3) Construction activities and quality of built environment Extent and quality of construction (e.g., dealing with old buildings, traditions, percentage of typical regional buildings, handling and construction of second homes); sealing (of soil) 1) Moderate extension of construction activities with poor quality
Second homes in Saas-Fee and Saas-Valley due to high demand
2) High extension of construction activities with poor quality
Urban sprawl and homogenization leads to high construction activity in housing and commercial buildings
3) Low or no extension of construction activities with increased quality
Regionally specific construction and settlement quality
4) Hazard protection measures Inventory of and investment in measures to protect against natural hazards 1) High level protection policy
Anticipatory coordination structure for all natural hazards and high investment
2) Low level protection policy
Low investment and low problem anticipation
5) Spatial Planning Way of cantonal and municipal land use planning and zoning policies (degree of coordination between the municipalities, the presence and seriousness of the rules for qualifying and use of zones) 1) Very restrictive planning and zoning activities
Sustainable regional development as aim, curbing urban sprawl
2) Moderate restrictive planning and zoning activities
A positive process for the resolution of spatial conflicts
3) ‘Laissez-faire’ planning and zoning activities
Spatial policy and zoning plans allowing for sprawl
6) Nature protection measures Intensity and area fraction of the measures of the canton and the communities for conservation: protected areas of all categories, landscape conservation, species protection 1) Extension of nature protection measures
Solidarity of nature conservation and tourism; creation of national parks, elaboration of concepts for regional landscape development
2) Reduction of nature protection measures
Extensive tourism vs. conservation; low investment in nature conservation, drop of protected areas
7) Support of enterprises for local goods Promotion, the number and condition of regional processing plants for agricultural and forestry products and their marketing, diversity of regional product range 1) Strong support of enterprises for local goods
Marketing of local high quality agricultural products
2) No or moderate support of enterprises for local goods
Marketing local products is not promoted
8) Type of agricultural management Extent, type, and intensity of agricultural management; motivation for such agricultural activities (food production, breeding, etc.) 1) Intensification and extension of agriculture
Extension of value chains; quality products with the brand Wallis; extension of subsidies
2) Integrated agriculture
Conservation of cultural landscapes and rural tourism; traditional agriculture on biodiversity-rich areas; intensive and extensive grassland
3) Decrease of agriculture
Agricultural land is pushed back by competition from infrastructure and settlement areas
9) Type of forest management Extent, type, intensity of forest management 1) Intensification and extension of forestry
Expansion of serious management approaches by coupling subsidies from the federal and cantonal level
2) Integrated forest management
sustainable silviculture especially for landscape conservation and recreation
3) Decrease of forestry
Climate change impacts; composition of forest species significantly varies, forest is heavily damaged by summer drought, beetles, fire, and landslides
10) Renewable energy management Utilizing the potential of renewable resources (water, wind, biomass, solar) as an energy source, ownership structure and distribution of the resulting revenue (local, foreign companies, etc.) 1) Increase of renewables
Export product 'Energy Upper Vallais'; significant expansion of solar energy, increase hydropower production, and promotion of training in energy sciences in the region
2) Status quo or reduction of renewables
No further expansion- preservation of existing capacity (hydro power)
11) Touristic infrastructure: strategy and investment Investments in and current inventory of tourism infrastructure 1) Structural change in tourism and high investment
Renewal and creative improvement of tourism infrastructure. Capacity for innovation (adapting to changing needs) gaining strength.
2) Moderate change and investment
Agrotourism; economic partnership between agriculture and tourism
3) Structural change caused by climate change and low investment
Touristic infrastructure is heavily affected by the thawing of permafrost and unstable snow conditions.
12) Destination management Existence, structure and budget of initiatives for regional marketing, branding, labeling, or cooperation with strong brands in various industries (tourism, farming, forestry) 1) Expansion of the destination management
Continued trend toward common destination management (region), including extensive forestry and agriculture
2) Stagnation or decrease of destination management
Weakened trend toward common destination management (region)
13) Development of economic sectors The share of the sectors, to be calculated of the production process of goods and services (output produced), minus the value of intermediate consumption, regional economic performance by sector:
1) Agriculture / Forestry
2) Industry
3) Services (especially tourism)
1) Structural change of third sector (services)
Tourism breaks down. Shift to other services (IT, call centers, educational institutions, energy services) and industry.
2) Increase of second sector ('renewable energies')
"Energy Saastal" –– focus on and steep increase in renewable energies (hydropower, solar, biomasss).
3) Governed shrinking of third sector (winter tourism)
Shrinking process by e.g., decommissioning payments. Diversification of tourism activities and year-round tourism, such as mountain biking, hiking in summer and winter, sustainable eco-tourism and agrotourism
4) Shrinkage of the second sector (industry)
Because of comparably poorer site conditions; relocation of major companies. Keeping the top destination tourism: focus on intensive tourism in ever higher elevations
14) Budget of municipalities Financial position of municipalities: amount of revenue compared to expenses, indebtedness, tax rate 1) Higher budget
Increased revenues
2) Lower budget
Reduced financial flexibility; lower tax income
15) Strategies for business support Steering the degree of attractiveness of the region for businesses
=> tax burden on legal persons
=> Promotion of education (workers)
1) Care for and gain of locational advantage
Keeping the existing and attracting new industries thanks to location advantages (energy costs, well-trained labor force)
2) No care for and loss of locational advantages
Profile drops compared to other places (also internationally); because of high energy costs, decreasing number of skilled labor force
16) Population change & composition Development of the local demographic structure (% change); ratio of immigration / emigration, age structure, shares of immigrants 1) Small demographic fluctuations (increase or decrease by up to 15%)
Openness to cultural change in the region; willingness to stay in the valley and work there; tendency to rejuvenate but preserving traditions
2) Large inflows of nonresidents (more than 15%)
Mostly foreigners / nonresidents (young Swiss people without local identity)
3) Large out-migration (brain drain; more than 15%)
Aging of the population by emigration of young and skilled people
17) Quality of life: basic needs and recreation Coverage of basic material needs, cost of living, recreation quality 1) Improve the quality of life
Basic needs covered, relatively low cost, high quality recreation
2) Consistent quality of life
Basic needs covered, high cost, high quality recreation
3) Reduced quality of life
Basic needs not covered, costs are relatively high: increase in consumer prices (especially housing and energy, reduced recreational quality)
18) Strategies for social and economic conditions for inhabitants Portfolio of and investment in/promotion of services to residents in the areas of culture, sports, recreation, basic services 1) Increasing attractiveness for residents
Increase in spending on service public; lower taxes in mountain communities, primary health care, day care centers
2) Decreasing attractiveness for residents
Mild increase in spending on service public
19) Local identity Importance of the region, its products and traditions in the everyday lives of residents 1) High importance of local identity
Local cultural identity is for instance used in regional marketing and marketed by means of agricultural products, used in tourism and construction activity
2) Medium importance of local identity
Does not play a major role, is not rejected
3) Low importance of local identity
Loss of cultural identity, traditional knowledge is lost
20) Cooperation of communities and institutions Division of work with regard to public interest on several levels (community, civic community, families, individuals), degree of cooperation (coordination/cooperation) between the levels (of different communities) 1) Fusion of the communities Visp, Baltschieder, and Visperterminen
In particular institutions considering land use
2) High degree of coherence among municipalities
Collective definition of objectives and optimized processes, up to comprehensive and synergistic municipal mergers, linking tourism offers
3) Low degree of coherence among municipalities
Coordination problems, no cooperation; strong development toward "centers;" death of certain villages