Analyzing future scenarios
Scenario analysis can help identify the tradeoffs of different alternative management actions. In systems that are prone to tipping points, scenario analysis can be particularly useful because it generates multiple alternative descriptions of potential outcomes that include attributes such as processes of change, thresholds and uncertainties. Managers can explore alternative perspectives about thresholds, feedbacks, and system resilience, and gain insight into the potential consequences that may occur with abrupt or non-linear changes. Furthermore, where environmental thresholds exist, there may also be social-thresholds that inform target setting. For example, if an ecological threshold is tied to the economic value of an ecosystem, the costs and benefits of management actions will similarly follow a threshold curve. Scenario analyses can help uncover these social-ecological thresholds that managers can use to inform target setting.
In Haida Gwaii, we combined findings from the interviews on sociocultural importance of herring with results from ecological models of the herring ecosystem to evaluate how different ecological scenarios would affect a suite of sociocultural indicators. We held a series of workshops with local participants to identify their preferences for the state of the herring ecosystem based on changes in the ecology and sociocultural benefits. In these collaborative workshops we attempted to identify the potential impacts of different scenarios on people in Haida Gwaii. Outcomes from these workshops will help to build an understanding of how various marine changes result in specific social-ecological consequences identified by local people as important. These scenarios can help managers identify reference points for social-ecological dimensions of sustainability for marine management and set appropriate social-ecological targets for herring recovery.