Methods for translating narrative scenarios into quantitative assessments of land use change

Varun Rao Mallampalli, Georgia Mavrommati, Jonathan Thompson, Matthew Duveneck, Spencer Meyer, Arika Ligmann-Zielinska, Caroline Gottschalk Druschke, Kristen Hychka, Melissa A. Kenney, Kasper Kok, Mark E. Borsuk*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

80 Citations (Scopus)


In the land use and land cover (LULC) literature, narrative scenarios are qualitative descriptions of plausible futures associated with a combination of socio-economic, policy, technological, and climate changes. LULC models are then often used to translate these narrative descriptions into quantitative characterizations of possible future societal and ecological impacts and conditions. To respect the intent of the underlying scenario descriptions, this process of translation needs to be thoughtful, transparent, and reproducible. This paper evaluates the current state of the art in scenario translation methods and outlines their relative advantages and disadvantages, as well as the respective roles of stakeholders and subject matter experts. We summarize our findings in the form of a decision matrix that can assist land use planners, scientists, and modelers in choosing a translation method appropriate to their situation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-20
JournalEnvironmental Modelling & Software
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Agent-based model
  • Bayesian network
  • Fuzzy cognitive map
  • Participatory process
  • Socio-ecological scenarios
  • System dynamics


Dive into the research topics of 'Methods for translating narrative scenarios into quantitative assessments of land use change'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this