2004-2005, Estonia, Northern Italy and The Netherlands,

[b]Scenarios for Europe[/b]
In the PRELUDE project (PRELUDE - PRospective Environmental analysis of Land Use Development in Europe) the European Environment Agency analyses environmental implications of land use/land cover changes in Europe as part of a scenario exercise involving varying assumptions relative to Europe’s future and the way it will unfold over time.

Different factors, including demographic trends, spatial planning options, agricultural policy, climate change and other key driving forces, lead to changes in land use and land cover. In turn, these cause a range of impacts on biodiversity, water quality, flooding, soil erosion, and landscape identity.

The output of the project will be a set of five scenarios shedding some light into the environmental consequences of changes in land use and land cover in Europe in the next 30 years. The scenarios are developed in participatory workshop sessions by stakeholders representing a broad range of influential European organisations as well as visionary individuals. Modellers provide additional, qualitative information to these stakeholders by calculating, visualising and analysing the spatial and environmental consequences of the narrative storylines. Stakeholders and modellers work together in an iterative process: model input and parameter values are defined on the basis of the storylines developed by the stakeholders, and, the model output can be used to adapt the scenarios in order to increase their consistency and to expand them with more information, trends and/or views.

The modelling work is carried out at two levels: the European level, showing the main shifts and trends in land cover and land use changes at the European (EU-25) scale, and, the local scale, analysing the detailed consequences of the former at the national, regional (NUTS-region), and local (500 m grid) scale.

[b]RIKS' role in PRELUDE[/b]
RIKS’ task in the PRELUDE project is to downscale the narrative scenarios and modelling work done at the European level into three country/region specific scenarios for Estonia, Northern Italy and the Netherlands. The European narratives are downscaled to the country level to form the basis for the input and parameter values for the models applied to each of the three countries/regions. The three applications will simulate regional developments on a yearly basis for 30 years into the future. They will do so for 5 different downscaled European scenarios. The precise location of land use and cover changes will be analysed with a METRONAMICA-like spatially-dynamic model operating at 2 embedded spatial levels. At the macro-geographical level, the model will allocate national demographic and economic growth amongst regions, typically NUTS2 or NUTS3 regions. Regions will attract more or less growth on the basis of their relative competitiveness. Regional land use demands will subsequently be allocated on a grid with a spatial resolution of 500 m at the micro-geographical level of the model. Both models are intimately connected through a dynamic feedback loop: the regional demands constrain the allocation of land uses and cover at the micro-model, while the competitiveness of the regions is among others based on local characteristics, such as the amount of land available for new urban development, the suitability of that land to establish particular land use functions, and its road accessibility.

A model run will typically result in a time series of maps, showing land use and land cover changes associated with a particular scenario. For easy viewing, these maps can be animated and thus be shown as movies to the stakeholders. Data at the regional level are available in spreadsheets enabling their graphing and further analysis.

Besides calculating land use changes, RIKS also evaluates the environmental impact of the integrated spatial scenarios by means of a number of spatial indicators. Indicators include among others ‘habitat fragmentation’, ‘landscape identity’ and ‘areas with high nature value’. Like the land use/cover changes, these indicators are calculated for every year simulated, hence result in time series equally well. Thus, the developments associated with the different scenarios can be compared in terms of their detailed impacts over time and in space.

For this project RIKS applies its METRONAMICA modelling framework. More information about applications developed with this framework can be found on the page of the Environment Explorer and MOLAND. Information on the (semi-automatic) calibration carried out for the former can be found on the LOV Calibration page.