Participatory scenario development for environmental management: A methodological framework illustrated with experience from the UK uplands

M. S. Reed*, J. Kenter, A. Bonn, K. Broad, T. P. Burt, I. R. Fazey, E. D.G. Fraser, K. Hubacek, D. Nainggolan, C. H. Quinn, L. C. Stringer, F. Ravera

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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A methodological framework is proposed for participatory scenario development on the basis of evidence from the literature, and is tested and refined through the development of scenarios for the future of UK uplands. The paper uses a review of previous work to justify a framework based around the following steps: i) define context and establish whether there is a basis for stakeholder engagement in scenario development; ii) systematically identify and represent relevant stakeholders in the process; iii) define clear objectives for scenario development with stakeholders including spatial and temporal boundaries; iv) select relevant participatory methods for scenario development, during initial scenario construction, evaluation and to support decision-making based on scenarios; and v) integrate local and scientific knowledge throughout the process. The application of this framework in case study research suggests that participatory scenario development has the potential to: i) make scenarios more relevant to stakeholder needs and priorities; ii) extend the range of scenarios developed; iii) develop more detailed and precise scenarios through the integration of local and scientific knowledge; and iv) move beyond scenario development to facilitate adaptation to future change. It is argued that participatory scenario development can empower stakeholders and lead to more consistent and robust scenarios that can help people prepare more effectively for future change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-362
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Early online date15 Jun 2013
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Futures
  • Participation
  • Scenarios
  • Stakeholders
  • United Kingdom
  • Uplands
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Community Participation/methods
  • Conservation of Natural Resources/methods


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