Developing scenarios and visualisations to illustrate potential policy and climatic influences on future agricultural landscapes

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The future evolution of our agricultural landscapes and countryside is the subject of considerable debate and policy discussion, alongside which is an increasing emphasis on the inclusion of public consultation and participation within planning and decision making systems. However, communicating different proposed policy options in a manner that facilitates informed decisions from stakeholders can be far from straightforward. This is particularly true with more abstract and uncertain issues such as potential impacts of climate change.

Scenarios depicting the possible outcomes of policy options provide a useful tool to evaluate the potential consequences of choices. This paper documents an approach to constructing scenarios that can incorporate potential climate change impacts, and reflect the uncertainty in climate change projections due to different environmental policies. It describes the construction of scenarios using the Humberhead Levels in the UK as a case study and portrays the scenarios using two forms of visualisation—digital photo-montage and a real-time landscape model. The method is equally applicable to other study areas across Europe where suitable data are available. Preliminary reactions from an audience to scenario images are discussed, as well as the technical and practical challenges of using visualisation techniques to support decision making.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-120
Number of pages18
JournalAgriculture, Ecosystems and Environment
Issue number1
Early online date28 Dec 2005
Publication statusPublished - May 2006


  • Scenarios
  • Landscape visualisation
  • Public consultation
  • Climate change
  • Agriculture

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