Using scenarios to explore UK upland futures

M. S. Reed*, K. Arblaster, C. Bullock, R. J. F. Burton, Althea Lynn Davies, J. Holden, K. Hubacek, R. May, J. Mitchley, J. Morris, D. Nainggolan, C. Potter, C. H. Quinn, V. Swales, S. Thorp

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    31 Citations (Scopus)


    Uplands around the world are facing significant social, economic and environmental changes, and decision-makers need to better understand what the future may hold if they are to adapt and maintain upland goods and services. This paper draws together all major research comprising eight studies that have used scenarios to describe possible futures for UK uplands. The paper evaluates which scenarios are perceived by stakeholders to be most likely and desirable, and assesses the benefits and drawbacks of the scenario methods used in UK uplands to date. Stakeholders agreed that the most desirable and likely scenario would be a continuation of hill farming (albeit at reduced levels) based on cross-compliance with environmental measures. The least desirable scenario is a withdrawal of government financial support for hill farming. Although this was deemed by stakeholders to be the least likely scenario, the loss of government support warrants close attention due to its potential implications for the local economy. Stakeholders noted that the environmental implications of this scenario are much less clear-cut. As such, there is an urgent need to understand the full implications of this scenario, so that upland stakeholders can adequately prepare, and policy-makers can better evaluate the likely implications of different policy options. The paper concludes that in future, upland scenario research needs to: (1) better integrate in-depth and representative participation from stakeholders during both scenario development and evaluation; and (2) make more effective use of visualisation techniques and simulation models. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)619-630
    Number of pages12
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009


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