Skip to main content

Scenarios and models expert group activities (IPBES 2 - IPBES 7)


The IPBES expert group on scenarios and models was established in 2014 as an author group of over 80 experts, tasked with producing the Methodological Assessment of Scenarios and Models of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. The report, which was accepted by Plenary at its fourth session in 2016, and the full list of authors, can be viewed from the dedicated page here.

Following the launch of this assessment report in 2016, the expert group on scenarios and models received a further mandate from the IPBES Plenary in decision IPBES-4/1 to undertake a second phase of advanced work on scenarios and models, as a smaller group of 23 experts (the full list of members can be found here).

The advanced work on scenarios and models built on the Assessment, to catalyse the further development and use of tools and methodologies on scenarios and modelling, and to ensure that they help guide decision-making by allowing consideration of multiple values of nature and its contributions to people. The work plan consisted of two main activities:

  1. Providing expert advice to relevant expert groups of the Platform, in particular those undertaking assessments, on the use of existing scenarios and models to address current IPBES needs, and
  2. Catalysing the development of scenarios and models by the broader scientific community for future IPBES work.

The expert group kicked off this work with a stakeholder workshop on the “Way forward for scenario development for IPBES” (3-6 October 2016, Leipzig, Germany) which aimed at identifying priorities and timelines for scenario development to support ongoing and future IPBES assessments. This led to multiple lines of activities implemented in the subsequent years, including:

  • Collaboration with the modelling community to conduct an intercomparison of biodiversity and ecosystem services models using harmonised land-use and climate scenarios (‘BES-SIM’ exercise), the results of which served as input to the IPBES Global Assessment.
  • Engagement with diverse stakeholders within and beyond the IPBES community to formulate visions of desirable futures for nature and people (‘Nature Futures’) as a basis for developing new scenarios. The full report on these “Visions for nature and nature’s contributions to people for the 21st century” can be downloaded here

In 2018, the expert group formulated the Nature Futures Framework based on stakeholder inputs and agreed on a work plan to continue engaging with the broader scientific community towards the development of new Nature Futures scenarios (A summary on the 'Next steps in developing Nature Futures' can be accessed here). The work plan was structured around the following priorities:

  • Stakeholder consultations to further flesh out the desirable future visions into consistent storylines using the Nature Futures Framework. The expert group aimed to engage global, regional and national scale stakeholders and other networks, in a participatory process to ensure the inclusiveness of resulting visions and scenarios. 
  • Iterative development of indicators and models to support the Nature Futures Framework. The expert group initiated the translation of desirable visions and storylines into quantitative terms, through mobilisation of a broad community of modelling experts.
  • Engagement of existing scenario development initiatives across various scales. The expert group aimed to promote and support sub-global scenario-building initiatives that serve as case studies to introduce and adapt the Nature Futures Framework across various geographical scales. 

Overall coordination and coherence between the participatory development of qualitative storylines, and their translation into quantitative terms through models and indicators was ensured by the co-chairs, the working group leaders, and the technical support unit. Collaboration with IPBES task forces and provision of support to IPBES assessments was also facilitated through the respective technical support units.

Outputs resulting from the work of the former expert group on scenarios and models:
  • Rosa, I.M.D., Pereira, H.M., Ferrier, S. et al. Multiscale scenarios for nature futures. Nat Ecol Evol 1, 1416–1419 (2017). 
  • Protocol paper for the BES-SIM exercise: Kim, H., Rosa, I. M. D., Alkemade, R., Leadley, P., Hurtt, G., Popp, A., van Vuuren, D. P., Anthoni, P., Arneth, A., Baisero, D., Caton, E., Chaplin-Kramer, R., Chini, L., De Palma, A., Di Fulvio, F., Di Marco, M., Espinoza, F., Ferrier, S., Fujimori, S., Gonzalez, R. E., Gueguen, M., Guerra, C., Harfoot, M., Harwood, T. D., Hasegawa, T., Haverd, V., Havlík, P., Hellweg, S., Hill, S. L. L., Hirata, A., Hoskins, A. J., Janse, J. H., Jetz, W., Johnson, J. A., Krause, A., Leclère, D., Martins, I. S., Matsui, T., Merow, C., Obersteiner, M., Ohashi, H., Poulter, B., Purvis, A., Quesada, B., Rondinini, C., Schipper, A. M., Sharp, R., Takahashi, K., Thuiller, W., Titeux, N., Visconti, P., Ware, C., Wolf, F., and Pereira, H. M. (2018) A protocol for an intercomparison of biodiversity and ecosystem services models using harmonized land-use and climate scenarios, Geosci. Model Dev., 11, 4537–4562, 
  • The BES-SIM exercise catalysed the publication of several papers by this modelling community, such as (amongst others still in press):
    • Baisero, D., Visconti, P., Pacifici, M., Cimatti, M. and Rondinini, C. (2019) Projected Changes in Mammalian Habitat Under Contrasting Climate and Land Use Change Scenarios. One Earth.
    • Chaplin-Kramer, R., Sharp, R.P., Weil, C., Bennett, E.M., Pascual, U., Arkema, K.K., Brauman, K.A., Bryant, B.P., Guerry, A.D., Haddad, N.M., Hamann, M., Hamel, P., Johnson, J.A., Mandle, L., Pereira, H.M., Polasky, S., Ruckelshaus, M., Shaw, M.R., Silver, J.M., Vogl, A.L. and Daily, G.C. (2019) Global modeling of nature’s contributions to people. Science, 366, 255–258.
    • Di Marco, M., Harwood, T.D., Hoskins, A.J., Ware, C., Hill, S.L.L. and Ferrier, S. (2019) Projecting impacts of global climate and land‐use scenarios on plant biodiversity using compositional‐turnover modelling. Global Change Biology, 25, 2763–2778.
    • Krause, A., Haverd, V., Poulter, B., Anthoni, P., Quesada, B., Rammig, A., & Arneth, A. (2019). Multimodel analysis of future land use and climate change impacts on ecosystem functioning. Earth's Future, 7, 833– 851.
    • H. Ohashi, T. Hasegawa, A. Hirata, S. Fujimori, K. Takahashi, I. Tsuyama, K. Nakao, Y. Kominami, N. Tanaka, Y. Hijioka, T. Matsui, Biodiversity can benefit from climate stabilization despite adverse side effects of land-based mitigation. Nature Communications, 10(1), 1-11.
    • Schipper, A.M., Hilbers, J.P., Meijer, J.R., Antão, L.H., Benítez‐López, A., Jonge, M.M.J., Leemans, L.H., Scheper, E., Alkemade, R., Doelman, J.C., Mylius, S., Stehfest, E., Vuuren, D.P., Zeist, W. and Huijbregts, M.A.J. (2019) Projecting terrestrial biodiversity intactness with GLOBIO 4. Global Change Biology, gcb.14848.
    • Thuiller, W., Guéguen, M., Renaud, J., Karger, D.N. and Zimmermann, N.E. (2019) Uncertainty in ensembles of global biodiversity scenarios. Nature Communications, 10, 1446.
    • Powers, R., & Jetz, W. (2019). Global habitat loss and extinction risk of terrestrial vertebrates under future land-use-change scenarios. Nature Climate Change, 9(4), 323-329.
    • Rosa, I.M.D., Purvis, A., Alkemade, R., Chaplin-Kramer, R., Ferrier, S., Guerra, C.A., Hurtt, G., Kim, H., Leadley, P., Martins, I.S., Popp, A., Schipper, A.M., van Vuuren, D. & Pereira, H.M. (2020). Challenges in producing policy-relevant global scenarios of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Global Ecology and Conservation, 22, e00886.