Please note, the original publication is in Spanish and can be found here.
This publication is the final product of a study that explores, through the use of the scenario method, possible alternative futures of the Paraná-Paraguay Corridor and its main wetland systems: the Pantanal, the Iberá marshes and the Paraná Delta.
This study was commissioned and financed by Fundación Humedales/WetlandsInternational as part of its Corredor Azul Programme, of ten years’ duration. This programme is aimed at preserving the health and connectivity of the Paraná-Paraguay wetland system, with a focus on three main areas represented by the above mentioned wetland systems. (See Figure 1)
The scenario method is one of the most useful tools in futures studies. It is presented in the “Methodological approach” section just as it was applied in this work. Scenarios do not aim at predicting the future and neither are they a synonym of planification, projections or, even less, diagnoses, but they do offer a complementary approach to them. Their aim is to explore the future with focus on its usefulness for decision‑makers.
In the “Current situation” section, the reader will find a succinct summary of the starting point for the scenarios, which represent the evolution over time of certain trends or “driving forces” (DF) that, collectively, could alter the course of events in one direction or another.
In the next section, “Critical dimensions (CD),” the author describes the process of co‑identification of the indicators to be used in order to determine the desirability (or lack thereof) of the images of the future which would result from the different scenarios. This was a collaborative process based on several consultations with experts from different areas and institutions, as well as representatives of institutions.
The “Driving forces” are introduced and described in the following section of this document, having also been identified and characterised through a collaborative process, and subsequently categorised and defined by the author of this document.
In “Main future evolution paths,” the author identifies four different types of possible scenarios, which are all plausible and of interest, given the fact that they encompass a wide range of possible futures. It should also be stated that no scenarios here have been built based on wholly unexpected events (“wildcards”) which could happen—for example, the unpredicted impact of a meteorite, radical technological revolutions or wars where biological weapons are used—but, instead, a guiding principle has been the criterion of logical plausibility, which has implied emphasising the processes that seem plausible in light of the knowledge that we currently have. These scenarios are, therefore, conservative in this respect.
The section “Evolution of the scenarios” is the longest in the document and describes how the scenarios unfold over time. This is done through the use of narratives that describe the evolution of every DF in each scenario, complemented by a diagram showing how they are causally interwoven and how they unfold over time. The final image of each scenario is presented as a narrative for the two time horizons (2030 and 2050/60) and for the two scales (Paraná-Paraguay Corridor and wetland systems.) These images are also summarised in the boxes appearing in the lower part of the causal sequences charts. It is after the next decade that these scenarios start to diverge significantly from each other; therefore, only the evolution of the conventional scenario “Business as Usual” is developed in detail for time horizon 2030.
Future images for all the 2050/60 scenarios at a macroscale are presented along with a “radar” chart showing in only one figure the (ordinal) values of the critical dimensions. In this way, the scenarios and their final states can be appreciated from different complementary angles.
Finally, the work presents some general conclusions that can be drawn from the previous analysis.