Scenario planning is used to develop long-term plans that are resilient under a variety of potential future conditions or scenarios. Planners consider a range of scenarios, and then select the plan that is most robust across several or all scenarios.
In brief, scenario planning can be broken into three steps:
Many land trusts already use scenario planning. For example, when deciding upon a piece of land to protect, a land trust might consider several variables, such as:
Land trusts cannot eliminate uncertainty. But, by considering the impacts of potential variables, land trusts are able to identify parcels that are a good choice in a wide range of future conditions. Scenario planning helps land trusts plan for uncertainty, and select resilient parcels for protection.
When planning for climate change, it can be easy to get entangled with the details of specific projections. But, for the purposes of land conservation, it is often more useful to focus on the broad implications of climate change for a particular region, area or land parcel. This allows land trusts to develop scenarios for various climatic conditions, and to then apply those scenarios to land conservation planning.
Potential scenarios to consider when planning for climate change include any climate change impacts that are projected to affect the land trust’s region, such as:
Land trusts are engaging in strategic conservation planning to build resilience and minimize vulnerabilities to impacts of climate change in different ways. Learn more.