How the 7 desirable visions generated in the 2017 workshop in New Zealand formed the basis of the Nature Futures Framework that sets out three core values of nature: nature for nature, nature for society and nature as culture. These value perspectives build on the IPBES guidance on multiple values for nature.
(Source: Authors’ own and images from Mary Brake, Reflection Graphics; Dave Leigh, Emphasise Ltd.; Pepper Lindgren-Streicher, Pepper Curry Design).

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Nature is under pressure. Given current development trajectories, without substantial transformations, it is unlikely that we will achieve the prosperous future imagined in global sustainability targets. Although a lot of research explores the impacts that our present actions will have on the future of the planet, there is little work on what more desirable futures for people and nature might actually look like for different people and in different contexts. These descriptions of the future are important tools for decision-makers and researchers who want to understand how choices in the present can help enable the transformative changes needed to navigate towards a more prosperous future.

To address this gap, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) expert group on scenarios and models undertook work to co- create desirable scenarios of nature that not only reflect the diversity of values that humans have for nature, but are also applicable in different contexts. The process started in September 2017 in New Zealand with a workshop to create a set of desirable future visions for nature with a diverse group of stakeholders from 31 countries around the world. In this paper, we describe the research process of developing the Nature Futures Framework (NFF) (see figure) and how it is the starting point for a longer-term process to co-create a new set of desirable nature-centred scenarios.

The NFF is a triangle space with each of the corners representing one of the following value perspectives on nature:

  • Nature for Nature, in which nature has value in and of itself;
  • Nature for Society, in which nature is primarily valued for the benefits or uses people derive from it;
  • Nature as Culture, in which humans are perceived as an integral part of nature.

The aim of the NNF is to provide a simple way to illustrate a complex mixture of values for appreciating nature. It is an actionable framework for opening up more perspectives in the creation of nature scenarios whilst ensuring consistency for models and other research. As we navigate the next chapter in global biodiversity governance, the NFF makes a unique contribution towards improving the science-policy interface. But, it cannot be an isolated endeavour, and so we call on the research and practitioner communities to join us in testing and improving the framework so that together we can move towards a more hopeful future for people and the planet.