Anticipating cascading change in land use: Exploring the implications of a major trend in US northern forests
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Land Use Policy. 71: 222-229.
Land managers, planners, and policy makers need to proactively consider the potential effects of change in order to prepare for it. But the direct consequences of social and ecological change are often not thoroughly identified and explored in policy analysis, and possible higher-order implications are rarely considered. This study used a structured group process called the Futures Wheel to uncover and analyze possible higher-order implications of an important trend in US Northern forests: lack of age-class diversity and uniform aging. Multidisciplinary teams of participants generated 384 possible second- and third-order implications of this trend and scored them for desirability and likelihood. The large set of implications identified by our participants suggests some daunting challenges. But positive consequences also emerged from the group process, indicating opportunities. Foresight tools such as the Futures Wheel can help environmental decision makers anticipate the future to avoid problems and make the most of opportunities.
Bengston, David N.; Dockry, Michael J.; Shifley, Stephen R. 2018. Anticipating cascading change in land use: Exploring the implications of a major trend in US northern forests. Land Use Policy. 71: 222-229. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2017.11.046.