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Project

Decision Making and Uncertainty: Potential of Scenario Planning in Forest Management in the Netherlands

The objective of this project consists of two aspects, namely, to design and carry out scenario planning for forest management in the Netherlands and by doing so explore factors influencing decision making by forest managers, develop scenarios for the next 30 years (forecasting) as well as strategies to prepare for these scenarios (back casting). And next to this to evaluate scenario planning as a strategy and decision making tool for forest managers in the Netherlands.

Forest managers operate in an uncertain (ecological, economic and social) environment and are faced with influences on different scales, like climate change, population growth and changing demands on the forests. These influences and demands will develop over time but it is uncertain in which way. To manage forests in a sustainable way these influences and demands, although uncertain, need to be taken into account.

Decision support systems (DSSs) may offer forest managers help in making decisions in the face of uncertainty. Many of these DSSs are based on quantitative approaches, but during the last years more attention has been given to combine quantitative and qualitative approaches. Especially the use of qualitative scenario analysis is seen as a supplement to cope with uncertainty. Until now this type of scenario thinking has, however, not been used much in forest management.

The objective consists of two aspects, namely, to design and carry out scenario planning for forest management in the Netherlands and by doing so explore factors influencing decision making by forest, develop scenarios for the next 30 years (forecasting) as well as strategies to prepare for these scenarios (back casting). And next to this to evaluate scenario planning as a strategy and decision making tool for forest managers in the Netherlands. 

Scenario planning is a disciplined method for imagining possible futures in a participatory, qualitative way. It captures the richness and range of possibilities, stimulating decision makers to consider changes they would otherwise possibly ignore, by challenging the prevailing mind-set.

During this research project forest managers and experts will be asked to participate during interviews and workshops.