Science to understand, anticipate, and adapt to global change, including land use and climate change, is driving new integration among disciplines. Overarching questions include
(1) How will global change alter the futures of regional social-ecological systems?
(2) How and why do regional social-ecological systems differ in vulnerability, resilience and adaptability to global change?
Such questions cannot be addressed by discipline-bound thinking, require new approaches, and must be answered through broad-scale comparative investigations of dissimilar systems. Scenario thinking is among the most promising approaches to emerge ( e.g. the 2005 Millennium Assessment). Scenarios begin as suites of qualitative narratives---developed by regional stakeholders including social and ecological scientists-that describe an envelope of plausible futures based on contrasting assumptions. The narratives inform and are, in tum, informed by integrated spatial models of socio-ecological change (e.g. agent-based models or linked land change, econometric, and ecosystem models). This approach for coupling qualitative and quantitative scenarios has informed planning and policy and generated a rich set of fundamental research questions.
Long Term Ecological Research Network. "Future Scenarios: Landscape Vulnerability and Resilience to Climate and Land Use Change." (2010). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/lter_reports/115