What Might the Future Look Like? Participatory Scenario Development in Southwestern Ethiopia


Many agricultural landscapes in the Global South share two urgent challenges: improving food security while also conserving biodiversity. These challenges are intimately connected through land use practices, livelihoods, and governance arrangements. Southwestern Ethiopia exhibits many of the social-ecological system properties of other rural landscapes in the Global South, including rapid population growth, ecosystem degradation driven by land use change, and an oftentimes ineffective administration. With the help of participatory planning, Jiren et al. (2020) developed four plausible future scenarios for the area in order to build adaptive capacity among stakeholders and generate shared visions for the future.

Left: Jiren et al. (2020) focused on three kebeles (municipalities) that capture the ecological and social diversities of the area and differ in terms of accessibility to social infrastructure. (Jiren et al. 2020, p. 2). Right: Southwestern Ethiopia hosts an important share of global biodiversity and supports the remaining Afromontane forests of Ethiopia. (

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