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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Exploring the impacts of woodland management on ecosystem services - a deliberative method

Eastwood, Antonia; Lorenzo-Arribas, Altea; Fischer, Anke; MacLean, Laura; Hague, Alice; Juarez-Bourke, Alba; Herrett, Scott; Byg, Anja; Marshall, Keith; Pakeman, Robin; Donaldson-Selby, Gillian; Hester, Alison


There is a need for operational decision-making methodologies applicable at local management scales which are inclusive and enable the integration of plural values, knowledges and perspectives of co-produced ecosystem services. Here we describe a deliberative scenario analysis method using ‘management intervention bundles’ as distinct scenarios to assess the perceived impact of changing management on woodland ecosystem services. We used three hypothetical future management scenarios, Biodiversity Conservation, People Engagement and Austerity, alongside scenarios of the Past, Present and an existing Management Plan. We assessed the perceived impacts of these scenarios on 11 ecosystem services using local expert workshops in six sites across Scotland. The experts were chosen to represent a range of different perspectives, from biodiversity to the local economy, community concerns and recreation. Overall, Management Plan, Biodiversity Conservation and People Engagement scenarios performed significantly better than Past, Present and Austerity scenarios. Further quantitative and in-depth qualitative analysis revealed trade-offs and noteworthy patterns. We explore some of these key trade-offs and patterns and argue that our methodology has potential to be an effective tool for local managers to support local decision-making at management scales for co-produced ecosystem services. Our methodology enabled a diverse group of local experts to express and deliberate a range of values, experiences and viewpoints. This knowledge sharing and collective learning allowed the development of shared values and perspectives, which are thought to be critical in more equitable and inclusive decision-making.


Cultural ecosystem services; environmental justice; participatory methods; scenario planning; Scotland

Published in

Ecosystems and People
2024, Volume: 20, number: 1, article number: 2322638

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Human Geography
    Landscape Architecture

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