Developing protocol-based storylines of future European agriculture to inform integrated assessments (Eur-Agri-SSPs)

Hermine Mitter, Anja K. Techen, Franz Sinabell, Katharina Helming, K. Kok, Jörg A. Priess, B. Bodirsky, I. Holman, K. Kok, H. Lehtonen, A. Leip, Chantal Le Mouël, Hermann Lotze-Campen, E. Mathijs, B. Mehdi, Melania Michetti, K. Mittenzwei, Olivier Mora, Lillian Øygarden, Jörg PriessP. Reidsma

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


The climate change research community has established the Shared Socio-economic Pathways (SSPs) to support integrated assessments (IA) at large spatial scales. Their spatial resolution and scope is insufficient for IA in agriculture at European, national and regional scales. We aim at advancing the SSPs by developing storylines of future European agriculture, called Eur-Agri-SSPs. We address two research questions, (i) what should Eur-Agri-SSPs contain? and (ii) how can an ideal-typical process, i.e. following a protocol, be conducted to obtain storylines that are consistent with the SSPs and relevant to scientists and stakeholders? The design of the storyline development process is based on six ranked quality criteria – credibility, consistency, legitimacy, salience, richness and creativity – whereby trade-offs between these criteria may occur. We propose a science-driven, iterative process to enhance credibility and horizontal consistency and follow a nested approach to link storylines across scales while maintaining vertical consistency. The remaining quality criteria should be stimulated in a participatory and interdisciplinary process. We suggest combining the quality criteria and process design requirements in a protocol to increase conceptual and methodological transparency. The protocol specifies nine working steps: defining core elements, setting-up a stakeholder group, determining storyline elements, drafting storylines, consistency checks, developing presentation formats, peer and stakeholder review, dissemination, and process evaluation. For each step, we discuss the degree of stakeholder engagement and provide suitable methods. For developing Eur-Agri-SSPs, we interviewed about 50 European stakeholders representing a diversity of interests. They shared insights on drivers and potential changes of European agriculture. However, trade-offs between vertical consistency and stakeholder buy-in remain. We conclude that the protocol facilitates systematic construction and evaluation of storylines, can be transferred to other sectors and regions and helps to improve comparability of IA in agriculture. The Eur-Agri-SSPs form the basis of national and regional storylines and facilitate a goal-oriented dialogue.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event4th Open Science Meeting of the Global Land Programme - Bern, Switzerland
Duration: 24 Apr 201926 Apr 2019


Conference4th Open Science Meeting of the Global Land Programme


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