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Inter- and transdisciplinary scenario construction to explore future land-use options in southern Amazonia

Regine Schönenberg, Latin America Institute, Free University Berlin
Rüdiger Schaldach, Center for Environmental Systems Research (CESR), University of Kassel
Tobia Lakes, Department of Geography, Humboldt Universität Berlin
Jan Göpel, Center for Environmental Systems Research (CESR), University of Kassel
Florian Gollnow, Department of Geography, Humboldt Universität Berlin


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Our aim with this paper is to present a novel approach for developing story lines and scenarios by combining qualitative knowledge and quantitative data from different disciplines and discussing the results with relevant decision makers. This research strategy offers a solid foundation for perspectives into the future. The “laboratory” is the Brazilian Amazon, one of the hotspots of land-use change where local and global interests both collide and converge: local livelihoods are affected by regional and global climate change and by the loss of biodiversity caused by local and global economic interests in agro-industrial land use; such use contributes, in turn, to climate change. After decades of diverse policy interventions the question arises: What can we learn from past trajectories for a more sustainable development in the future? To answer this question, we combined qualitative story lines for the region, reviewed by local experts, with quantitative land-use scenarios, to study their regional and local manifestations in space. These results were then discussed again with local and national experts. Our findings suggest that in-depth knowledge of the diverging perspectives at a very local level is a fundamental prerequisite for downscaling global scenarios and upscaling local approaches to sustainable land-use management and thus, to producing communicable and applicable results.

Key words

agriculture; Amazon; Brazil; environmental protection; land-use change; scenarios; story lines; transdisciplinarity

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.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087