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The Futures Wheel: A method for exploring the implications of social-ecological change

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Society & Natural Resources. 29(3): 374-379.


Change in social-ecological systems often produces a cascade of unanticipated consequences. Natural resource professionals and other stakeholders need to understand the possible implications of cascading change to prepare for it. The Futures Wheel is a "smart group" method that uses a structured brainstorming process to uncover and evaluate multiple levels of consequences resulting from all types of change. The output is a map of possible direct and indirect, positive and negative impacts that can be analyzed to develop strategies to promote desirable consequences and avoid undesirable ones. The FuturesWheel can help natural resource planners and decision makers anticipate unforeseen consequences of social-ecological change and become more proactive.


Futures Wheel; Implications Wheel; participatory; smart group; social–ecological change; structured brainstorming; unforeseen consequences


Bengston, David N. 2015. The futures wheel: a method for exploring the implications of social-ecological change. Society & Natural Resources. 29(3): 374-379. doi: 10.1080/08941920.2015.1054980

Last updated on: January 28, 2016