Mountain social-ecological systems (SES) contribute critically to ecosystem services at local, regional and global scales. Yet, they are highly vulnerable to climate, political and socio-economic changes, which compound with natural climate harshness, variability and natural risks. Therefore, co-designing future adaptation pathways with mountain stakeholders towards sustainability is essential. Specific sustainability and global change adaptation issues in the Alps regard the development of a local economy that is resilient to both climate and broader-scale political and economic context, builds on local natural and social assets and benefits from societal demands for mountain ecosystem services.
The objective of MtnPATHS is to develop such adaptation pathways by considering ecosystem services and climate adaptation services for the participatory construction of visions for sustainable futures in the Swiss Central Valais (Visp and the Saastal) and the southern French Alps (Lautaret, Haute-Romanche) and by implementing these visions through participatory modelling.
Our transdisciplinary approach starts by co-constructing a common understanding of the SES, followed by the joint formulation of future visions. Based on these visions, participants identify scenarios of change leading to desired futures and reject scenarios leading to unwanted outcomes. These scenarios and the visions will be explored using agent-based modelling. The model will be run under different climate and socio-economic scenarios and policy options to evaluate changes in ecosystem and adaptation services. Scenario simulations will help characterise alternative adaptation pathways to visions and provide quantitative information for pathway design. Finally, the implementation of simulated pathways requires that their acceptability and social as well as institutional feasibility are evaluated and potential barriers or facilitating factors identified. Also, future implementation will depend on the empowerment of stakeholders. The implementation of pathways will therefore be facilitated by a participatory evaluation of adaptation pathways and their associated constraints and by co-developing a dissemination strategy towards decision makers and the public. Additionally, to assess the impact of such pathway design processes, stakeholder learning and behavioural change (i.e. adaptation) will be evaluated after the participatory process is concluded.
Prof. Dr. Sandra Lavorel (LECA – Université Grenoble Alpes)
Enora Bruley (LECA – Université Grenoble Alpes)
Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF)
French National Research Agency (ANR)
May 2017 – April 2020