Work package 8


Scenario analyses of upscaling preventive and restorative measures



  • Analysis of local land users' adaptation strategies across a spectrum of degradation states
  • Scenario analysis of promising sustainable land management strategies, scaling up in time and space
  • Multi-scale evaluation of scenario analyses with policy makers
  • Formulating policy recommendations for preventive and restorative dryland management and identifying entry points to inform policy change.


Description of work and role of partners

The main objective of WB8 is to establish preventive and restorative measures for sustainable management of dryland ecosystems. At the (regional) scale of our study sites, we expect a variety of degradation states and land management strategies. We will link the possible financial consequences of management adaptations to the soil-water-plant model developed, in order to come up with a tool for cost-benefit analyses, with special attention to the optimum timing of measures that prevent degradation processes. For each CASCADE site, we will evaluate the model results by means of interviews with land users, community focus groups and experts. Furthermore, group meetings will be held with regional and national policy makers. (Socio-economic) data from WB2, 5 and 7 are used.


Task 1: Integrated, geographically-stratified stakeholder adaptation survey.

WB2 will assess the historical ecological evolution in the study sites taking into account climate and human activities. WB4 will undertake experiments in mesocosms and WB5 a characterisation of ecological conditions in regional-scale field studies. WB6 will develop models which may represent the current conditions (early warning indicators and shifts) in study sites. WB2 provides a long-term context, WB4/5 a snapshot characterisation. At the (regional) scale of study sites, one may expect a large variety of degradation states. In this task, we envisage conducting a survey with local stakeholders in target communities to explore: a) whether they have noticed changes in environmental conditions (e.g. regime shifts) and how they adapted to them; and b) what kind of changes they expect in the future, and what modifications they envisage for their current land use and management practices to adapt to future changes. This survey is to be conducted simultaneously with WB2, a) to provide an account of local stakeholders for contrasting against more abstract drivers (including shifts in policy and market conditions) as well as indicators of change; and b) to establish, early-on, a relationship with local stakeholders and engage them in the project. This task will be conducted in collaboration with WB7, which focuses on current land management practices effective in preventing ecosystem shifts.


Task 2: Developing a point-based integrated model to assess preferable timing of measures.

WB6 model output will generate early warning indicators and occurrences of catastrophic shifts. WBs4, 5 & 7 will yield information which can be used to evaluate the financial consequences of (not) adopting measures. By developing an integrated (spreadsheet) model that can quickly assess the financial consequences of timing (i.e. an economic model coupled to the WB6 model), a tool is created that can: a) assess the immediate costs of (in-)action; b) assess, within confidence limits, the best timing to reduce investment (start-up) costs for measures versus a non-intervention case; and c) idem as under b) assess the most appropriate timing to maximize net present value. This model will feed into the evaluation process with local land users (Task 4) together with WB7 guidelines. There could also be scope for using the model to inform a multi-criteria analysis, e.g. in the form of a multi-objective programming tool (GAMS), by looking at risks of non-action, early action, late action, etc. alongside investment costs, NPV and other criteria (external to model, such as effect on non-modelled ecosystem services). Lag effects are also considered in the model.


Task 3: Integrated regional modelling of SLM strategies

WB4 experiments are necessarily confined to small areas; Task 1 and WB2, 5 and 7 give indications of where strategies could be promising. Integrated regional modelling (using the model from WB6 with a simplified version of the point-based time optimization model from Task 2) can be used as a tool to scale-up results. This task requires upscaling of analyses from point to area, and will thus involve geographical modelling. WB6 and WB8 will collaborate to achieve optimal integration between their models. Aforementioned outputs (especially Task 1 and WB2) will be used to evaluate (at least in a qualitative sense) the output of regional modelling. Calibration takes place based on WB7 (and WB3-5) output.

Task 4: Multi-scale evaluation of scenario analyses with policy makers and land managers.

Using the point-based and regional integrated models, various scenarios can be developed (building from existing regional scenario-building exercises and site level interviews) and then evaluated. The upscaling approach developed in WB7 can be taken as an entry point for a scenario analysis of restorative and preventive measures under variable influence of drivers (both climate & human, WB2). At the level of individual study sites evaluation will be conducted through individual land manager interviews, community focus groups and expert interviews using a range of participatory approaches employed successfully in other dryland settings. Group meetings will also be held with regional and national policymakers enabling integration of results from across the various sites and a sharing of key insights to inform policy across levels from the national to the international.


Task 5: Policy recommendations.

Land manager focus-groups and expert stakeholder interviews will also be used to evaluate the feasibility of policy recommendations stemming from the integrated modelling. This will enable links to develop dissemination outputs for reporting to national and international policy-makers, where the work block leaders have significant experience. Entry points for policy changes will also be identified to ensure maximum policy impact.