Building Scenarios to Explore Marine Ecosystem Services


Topic Paper 3 – INTERREG IV A France (Channel) – England Project.

A key part of the VALMER project is engaging important stakeholders in discussions. The ‘scenario’ approach has been chosen deliberately, as it is an effective way of involving people and moving from theory to practice. Scenario building can also be a standalone exercise, improving stakeholders’ engagement and discussion on management questions. Good engagement of stakeholders can give better shared ownership of decisions that then improve the delivery of policy.

In VALMER, scenarios are being used with ecosystem service assessments and valuations to explore stakeholder views and preferences on various management options and trade-offs. The elements presented here deal only with the scenario building process.

What are scenarios?

Scenarios are a proven tool and one that produces results. The method is simple in that it invites the ‘audience’ to react to a plausible set of future events. Scenario building is a participative activity and a very flexible and adaptative process. It can be used to develop ideas from a very basic starting point or to enhance existing ideas. Scenarios are stories that portray plausible future events. They are designed to systematically explore, create and test possible future conditions. They are a useful tool, often employed to help with complex management questions (e.g. environmental management, climate change, urban planning, etc.). Scenarios that include different scientific disciplines, a wide range of interests and responsibilities and are collaborative are more likely to achieve successful community-based management.