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We evaluate the relative desirability of alternative futures for the upper Merrimack River watershed in New Hampshire, USA based on the value of ecosystem services at the end of the 21st century as gauged by its present-day inhabitants. This evaluation is accomplished by integrating land-use and socioeconomic scenarios, downscaled climate projections, biogeophysical simulation models, and the results of a citizen-stakeholder deliberative multicriteria evaluation. We find that although there are some trade-offs between alternative plausible futures, for the most part, it can be expected that future inhabitants of the watershed will be most satisfied if land-use planning in the intervening years prioritizes water supply and flood protection as well as maintenance of existing farmland and forest cover. With respect to climate change, it is expected that future watershed inhabitants will be more negatively affected by the projected loss of snow cover than the anticipated increase in hot summer days. More important than the specific results for the upper Merrimack River watershed, this integrative assessment demonstrates the complex yet ultimately informative potential to link stakeholder engagement with scenario generation, ecosystem models, and multiattribute evaluation for informing regional-scale planning and decision making.
Earth Systems Research Center
Ecology and Society
Borsuk, M. E., G. Mavrommati, N. R. Samal, S. Zuidema, W. Wollheim, S. H. Rogers, A. M. Thorn, D. Lutz, M. Mineau, C. Grimm, C. P. Wake, R. Howarth, and K. Gardner. 2019. Deliberative multiattribute valuation of ecosystem services across a range of regional land-use, socioeconomic, and climate scenarios for the upper Merrimack River watershed, New Hampshire, USA. Ecology and Society 24(2):11. https://doi.org/10.5751/ES-10806-240211