Bring on tomorrow: A new way of looking into the future of ecosystem services in southwestern Ethiopia

SCIENCE FOR SUSTAINABILITY

While science can do much, its chance to travel into the future is still severely limited. By applying old methods in a new way, Jiren et al. (2022) may have circumvented this issue. Scenario planning, stakeholder analysis and space-for-time substitution may all be well-used methods in various research fields, but employed together they open up new research opportunities: While both scenario planning and stakeholder analysis have been widely used in environmental management research, space-for-time substitution is usually used in landscape ecology and has been rarely applied in the social sciences. By using this combination, Jiren et al. show how multi-level stakeholder constellations, interests and influences on ecosystem services (ES) in a southwestern Ethiopian landscape might change in different future scenarios of landscape change.

A landscape in southwestern Ethiopia. Photo credit: Girma Shumi.

To map stakeholders’ interests and influences, the authors focus on smallholder farming landscapes sensitive to rapid social-ecological changes…

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