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Conservation under uncertainty: Innovations in participatory climate change scenario planning from U.S. national parks

February 2, 2022

The impacts of climate change (CC) on natural and cultural resources are far-reaching and complex. A major challenge facing resource managers is not knowing the exact timing and nature of those impacts. To confront this problem, scientists, adaptation specialists, and resource managers have begun to use scenario planning (SP). This structured process identifies a small set of scenarios—descriptions of potential future conditions that encompass the range of critical uncertainties—and uses them to inform planning. We reflect on a series of five recent participatory CC SP projects at four US National Park Service units and derive guidelines for using CC SP to support natural and cultural resource conservation. Specifically, we describe how these engagements affected management, present a generalized CC SP approach grounded in management priorities, and share key insights and innovations that (1) fostered participant confidence and deep engagement in the participatory CC SP process, (2) shared technical information in a way that encouraged informed, effective participation, (3) contextualized CC SP in the broader picture of relevant longstanding or emerging nonclimate stressors, (4) incorporated quantitative approaches to expand analytical capacity and assess qualitative findings, and (5) translated scenarios and all their complexity into strategic action.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2022
Title Conservation under uncertainty: Innovations in participatory climate change scenario planning from U.S. national parks
DOI 10.1111/csp2.12633
Authors Brian W. Miller, Gregor W. Schuurman, Amy Symstad, Amber C Runyon, Brecken C. Robb
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Conservation Science and Practice
Series Number
Index ID 70228127
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center