Work Package 6: Synthesis – Implementing strategic foresight in management of harvested ecosystems

Leader: Sandra Hamel, UiT

Strategic foresight is a framework for structured planning for surprises that may threaten managed systems (56) and provides an extension of traditional adaptive management because of increased attention to foresight analyses. It helps to i) identify possible surprises and signals that provide early warning of their emergence, ii) provide guidelines on how research and monitoring systems can be improved to anticipate and detect surprises, and iii) how management and decision makers can implement immediate actions and long-term strategies that counteract negative impacts.

The steps scope to interpretation of the protocol (see 7) are integral parts of WP1-5 of the present proposal. However, a key aim of strategic foresight is to force experts to “think out of their (normal) boxes” so as to facilitate more creative thinking about multiple possible futures. In this project we aim to transcend “box thinking” at two levels.

At an academic level, the project will transcend the conventional boxes of marine, freshwater and terrestrial ecological sub-disciplines that hinder progress (53). The cross-ecosystem scope of the project and its organization (section 3) will break down such disciplinary boxes. At another level, the involvement of the User Panel2 will break down the barrier between academics and stakeholders/decision makers.

We will employ a protocol for creating a scientist – user interphase according to Lane et al. (57) to achieve an integrated assessment in the steps of scope and interpretation, and management strategy evaluation (53) for the step of deciding on actions (revising harvesting control rules and monitoring systems). 

Three main deliveries will emerge from the strategic foresight perspective of the project: i) proposal of concrete, short-term tactical actions that may be implemented in research agendas, monitoring and management systems for the three target ecosystems, ii) implementation of strategic foresight as a new paradigm of long-term strategic management of Norwegian ecosystems, and iii) training of new generation of applied ecosystem scientists (PhD and PDRs) (58) in integrated assessment and management evaluation strategies (e.g., the Tromsø-based research school AMINOR; http://www.aminor.org/).