New England Landscape Futures Annual Report 2015

Here is a list of project highlights from our work in 2015

1. New England landscape scenarios – Together with co-hosts across the region, we convened scenario-building workshops in each of the 6 New England states. This report summarizes the outputs from all of the workshops and shows many similarities from state to state. The resulting scenarios reveal that (1) population and settlement patterns in the region and (2) the extent of land-use planning and valuing of natural resources emerge as key drivers of landscape change across the region.

2. Scenario-building process – The workshops utilized a 1-day scenario building process that we developed based on existing methods and input at the kick-off workshop at Migis Lodge in Maine. The scenario process may be useful to you in other contexts and we provide the supporting scenario-building slide deck here.

3. Recent trends – Jonathan Thompson (Harvard Forest) and colleagues quantified and presented recent trends in development, agriculture, timber harvesting, and conservation for each New England state at the scenario workshops. We share that trend information here for your reference and use.

Next Steps

In March, we will hold a webinar to present a drafts of the four regional New England landscape scenarios and to seek your feedback. Stay tuned for dates and details!

Aspirations for 2016

1. Simulate scenarios – Using computer models, we will simulate the landscape change and consequences for a range of ecosystem services for each scenario and recent trends.

2. Publish Voices from the Land – We will publish a summary of recent landscape trends, drivers of change, and scenarios of the future.

3. Create Scenario Tools – We will begin scoping out the elements and format of scenario tools for practitioners, such as an online “explorer” with trend information and maps of ecosystem services and how they change under the alternative scenarios.

4. Form New Collaborations – We will continue to look for opportunities to share the scenarios with other groups (both researchers and practitioners) and to develop applications that serve the needs and interests of communities, organizations, and agencies in the region.

The aim of this project is to both advance science and serve society. To that end, we welcome your input.

Thank you to those of you who have shared your interest and involvement to date in the New England Landscape Futures Project. We look forward to working with you in 2016.

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