Testing a multi-scale scenario approach for smallholder tree plantations in Indonesia and Vietnam

Technological Forecasting and Social Change 80(4), 762-771

Author(s): Dermawana, A. ; Kemp-Benedict, E. ; Huber-Lee, A. ; Fencl, A.
Year: 2013

This article presents a participatory method for constructing cross-scale scenario logics, which applies when different locales are embedded within a common higher-level scenario.

Smallholder tree plantations are seen as promising routes to alleviating poverty and increasing forest area among the countries in Southeast Asia. However, implementation has been disappointing, which led scientists at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) to consider a scenario exercise as a way to mitigate the risk of unwanted outcomes.

The study had a characteristic that it shares with many other studies: close interaction of larger-scale processes and trends (global markets, national policy) with smaller-scale systems (regional and local policy, farmer livelihoods). The authors therefore felt than an explicitly multi-scale approach was called for. To keep close to the well-known practice, they made a modest extension to a conventional scenario logic approach, and introduced a nested, and multi-scale scenario logic. While modest, they believe that the modification is useful, and the method could be used in other studies, in particular climate adaptation studies.

They applied the method during two scenario workshops held to explore the use of smallholder tree plantations in efforts to improve rural livelihoods; each workshop considered two different localities. While the scenario frameworks resulting from the workshops were similar between the localities, the authors believe that the nested scenario framework served to structure the process and revealed meaningful contextual differences. From these experiences, they discuss and critique the method.

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