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Development of scenarios for land cover, population density, impervious cover, and conservation in New Hampshire, 2010–2100

Alexandra M. Thorn, Earth Systems Research Center, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, University of New Hampshire; Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School for Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University
Cameron P. Wake, Earth Systems Research Center, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, University of New Hampshire; Department of Earth Sciences, University of New Hampshire
Curt D Grimm, Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire; Department of Anthropology, University of New Hampshire
Clayton R Mitchell, Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of New Hampshire
Madeleine M Mineau, Earth Systems Research Center, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, University of New Hampshire
Scott V. Ollinger, Earth Systems Research Center, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, University of New Hampshire

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-09733-220419

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Abstract

Future changes in ecosystem services will depend heavily on changes in land cover and land use, which, in turn, are shaped by human activities. Given the challenges of predicting long-term changes in human behaviors and activities, scenarios provide a framework for simulating the long-term consequences of land-cover change on ecosystem function. As input for process-based models of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem function, we developed scenarios for land cover, population density, and impervious cover for the state of New Hampshire for 2020–2100. Key drivers of change were identified through information gathered from six sources: historical trends, existing plans relating to New Hampshire’s land-cover future, surveys, existing population scenarios, key informant interviews with diverse stakeholders, and input from subject-matter experts. Scenarios were developed in parallel with information gathering, with details added iteratively as new questions emerged. The final scenarios span a continuum from spatially dispersed development with a low value placed on ecosystem services (Backyard Amenities) to concentrated development with a high value placed on ecosystem services (the Community Amenities family). The Community family includes two population scenarios (Large Community and Small Community), to be combined with two scenarios for land cover (Protection of Wildlands and Promotion of Local Food), producing combinations that bring the total number of scenarios to six. Between Backyard Amenities and Community Amenities is a scenario based on linear extrapolations of current trends (Linear Trends). Custom models were used to simulate decadal change in land cover, population density, and impervious cover. We present raster maps and proportion of impervious cover for HUC10 watersheds under each scenario and discuss the trade-offs of our translation and modeling approach within the context of contemporary scenario projects.

Key words

conservation; ecosystem services; forests; impervious cover; land cover change; land use zoning; population density; scenarios;

Copyright © 2017 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article  is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.  You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087