Anticipating cascading change in land use: Exploring the implications of a major trend in US Northern forests

David N. Bengston, Michael J. Dockry, Stephen R. Shifley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)222-229
Number of pages8
JournalLand Use Policy
Volume71
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cascading change
  • Futures Wheel
  • Implications Wheel
  • Northern forests

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