Modeling of ecosystem service (ES) provision is an essential tool to help develop strategies that will allow for ES provision continuing into the future. Frequently, modeling methods rely on foresight scenario analyses due to their powerful capacity to highlight synergies and tradeoffs between ES as well as the relationship between economic development and ES. However, this type of analysis often fails to provide clear information on how specific policy alternatives will influence future ES supply and how this supply relates to social preferences.
OPERAs researcher Sibyl Brunner along with colleagues have taken a first step in the ES sphere by applying a complementary “backcasting” analysis in conjunction with foresight analysis for ES. Backcasting focuses on determining the freedom of policy action with respect to desirable futures rather than on evaluating policy implications along a certain path or trend. By this method, they address the gaps left by foresight analysis as well as addressing uncertainties involved in ES modeling studies.