FARMS4 Biodiversity WP3: Participatory Scenario Planning

Leads: Isaac Luginaah (Western University) and Laifolo Dakishoni (Soils, Food, and Healthy Communities))

Concept: Participatory scenario planning brings together diverse stakeholders within communities and regions to exchange knowledge and perceptions about environmental change, consider different future scenarios, and develop action plans.

Objective: To test how participatory scenario planning can enhance long-term community resilience and biodiversity under different land use scenarios and anticipated climate change impacts.

Data Collection and Analysis:

  • Use remote sensing, participatory Geographic Information Systems (GIS) approaches, and participatory scenario planning to accomplish the objective.
  • Augment free, multi-temporal and multi-spectral satellite imagery with high-resolution WorldView satellite images. Use Sentinel-1 cloud-penetrating radar images when there is cloud cover. High-resolution images will be used for detailed reference data collection and field boundaries. Statistical image classification methods applied for mapping land cover change, including vegetation density and crop diversity. Crop mapping will combine boundary information with frequent low-resolution images to separate crop types based on growing/harvesting stages and phenology. Crop mapping will include major types as well as intercropped fiels. We will estimate crop yields using General Yield Unified Reference Index method. This will be complemented by ground truth yield measurements in objective 1.
  • Farmers will learn to use GPS to geocode their communities and ground-truth data.
  • Reference data will be produced by combining high-resolution images and participatory GIS information. These data will be used to train statistical classifiers. Integration of remote sensing and participatory GIS data will provide accurate base maps on large sheets.
  • Base maps, 10 models for land use change (WP1) and socio-economic and policy drivers data (WP2) will be shared with participating communities in 9 participatory scenario planning workshops. We will then work with research participants to develop four scenarios for Malawi’s future, describing in qualitative terms, agroecosystem conditions, land use change, biodiversity, livelihood sources, and lifestyles over the next 25 years. Participants will discuss and rank likely drivers of current and future land use change in Malawi. The top driving forces of change and critical uncertainty will form the basis for alternative scenarios.
  • Contract a local professional artist to visualize these scenarios, with narratives in local languages, to make accessible to rural communities. By combining images and narratives, we will present a richer, comprehensible version of final scenarios to local communities and policy-makers for in-depth discussions.
  • Conduct interviews and focus groups to better understand how to support community resilience and biodiversity conservation under each scenario, trigger long-term planning and creativity in landscape design, and foster community organizing for transformational change.

Expected Results and Use:

  • Community action plans developed based on outputs of participatory scenarios.
  • At least 4 participatory scenarios that predict potential future land use, biodiversity, ecosystem services, food security and lifestyles in Malawi over the next 25 years.
  • At least 12 scenario maps at the community scale, and 4 large-scale regional maps, that could be used by policy-makers and community members to foster long-term transformational change to address these challenges at a regional and national scale.