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Using Scenario Planning to Inform Land and Wildlife Management: A Pilot Project for Boreal Forests in the Northeastern United States


Scenario planning is one decision support method that can help managers incorporate information about future changes in climate and other drivers into their management decisions. The development of future scenarios (of climate change, socioeconomic conditions, land use changes, and ecological responses) can help state and federal managers understand plausible ecological futures, vulnerabilities, and opportunities as a result of climate change and related stressors. While scenario planning is increasingly being proposed as a useful method for addressing climate change uncertainties in land and wildlife management, there is a need for additional models that show proof of concept of how management plans and decisions can be informed by scenario planning. We therefore propose to conduct a pilot scenario-planning project aimed at informing land and wildlife management, with a specific focus on moose in the north woods of the United States. Outputs from the project will be designed to inform State Wildlife Action Plans and/or other relevant wildlife and land management plans in the region, while also providing a model for how scenario planning might be useful for other systems and geographies. The goal of the proposed project is to design and implement a pilot scenario planning effort over the next 18 months that provides (a) information on climate change impacts and adaptation options that can be incorporated into State Wildlife Action Plans and/or other relevant management plans affecting moose and their habitats in the Northeast; and (b) proof of concept and a learning opportunity on how scenario planning can be used to bring existing research and analyses to bear on timely management decision-making and planning by state agencies.

Project Investigators

Toni Lyn Morelli, Alexander Bryan, Molly Cross (Wildlife Conservation Society), National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (USGS)


  • Bryan, A. M., 2015. Climate projections and uncertainties for the region through 2100. "Moose, Boreal Forest and Climate Change -- State of the Science" workshop. Westborough, MA. February 4, 2015