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Using scenarios to define a range of possible futures


Figure 6VOLANTE has developed an integrated framework to analyse land use scenarios that address not only land cover change but also changes in land management within both the agricultural and forestry sector. Following many other scenario studies worldwide, and in close consultation with our stakeholder community, the uncertainty in future driving factors of land use change was partitioned into four scenarios by creating consistent storylines that differ in the amount of global integration of trade (increased telecoupling of land systems) and the level of policy intervention guiding agriculture, urbanisation, forestry and land use planning in general (A1, D7.3). A suite of linked simulation models was used to calculate the land cover and land management developments for the period 2010-2040 under these scenarios (Figure 6). Figure 7 provides, for two scenarios, the expected changes in land use in Europe.

 Figure 6 VOLANTE scenarios used (derived from IPCC-SRES storylines)

 Figure 7

Figure 7 Simulated dominant land change processes between 2010 – 2040 based on two different VOLANTE scenarios (V-A1 and V-B2), showing the areas affected by specific trends in land cover and land use intensity changes: multiple processes are happening at the same time in different regions of Europe; opposite conversions may occur in neighbouring regions.

The results reveal a number of important trends:

    1. Land use change processes are spatially variable: opposing trends occur in different parts of Europe. The same overall storyline of the scenario leads to location-specific impacts.
    2. A strong polarisation of land use is occurring: intensification of agriculture and forestry is happening in many regions while at the same time marginal agricultural lands are abandoned. Urban land cover is becoming more dominant in the main urban conglomerations of Europe. Together these processes lead to an ‘unmixing’ of the multi-functional land use of Europe.
    3. The four different scenarios show differences in the spatial extent of the different conversion types. However, the general pattern of occurrence of the different processes and challenges the regions will face in terms of land use is not strongly different. Irrespective of the uncertainty in socio-economic conditions and globalisation, the challenges for the VOLANTE roadmap are consistent, but differ in terms of impact and urgency.


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