Decision Support Tools for Climate Scenarios

OIKO’s EARTH OBSERVATION team includes practiced geographic information system (GIS) professionals developing land-use planning tools for coastal areas scenarios development. Our team works hand in hand with land use and coastal planners to facilitates identification of adaptation solutions based on coastal sensitivity to different threats: agriculture development, urbanization, irrigation, water consumption, climate change, coastal erosion etc., based on the calculated exposure to coastal erosion of ecosystems, infrastructure, etc.

OIKO has supported the Ministry of Planning in Costa Rica to develop land use planning coastal scenarios and maps showing changing land utilization and development depending on various factors for land cover use: benthic classes assessment, socio-economic activities, ecological services and benefits, climate change, etc.

As for many SIDS recreation, tourism, and estuarine-dependent commercial and recreational fisheries play a key role in the strategic development of coastal regions, which are in turn important contributors to the high quality of life in the rest of the country. However, some coastal areas are experiencing rapid tourism and population growth, making it necessary to develop management tools that links and applies decision support tools to enable better land use and resource management decisions to municipalities.

Working with the Ministry of Planning SETENA, OIKO developed a national operational guideline (Protocol) and the key scenarios for some municipalities to land use planning tool for scenarios development.

Our team used the following three decision support tools to demonstrate the innovative application and integration of tools for land use scenario analysis for planning and ecosystem management.

  • Community Viz is a decision support software for regional and local planners used for the development and analysis of land use scenarios and socioeconomic indicators. With an ArcGIS® extension to include interactive analysis tools and a decision-making framework to help view, analyze and understand land-use alternatives and impacts.
  • NatureServe Vista helped the government planners to depict ecological values, evaluate impacts from land use scenarios, and develop alternative land use scenarios. NatureServe Vista is a powerful Scenario-Based Assessment and Planning Tool, developed as an extension to ArcGIS that supports complex assessment and planning in any environment, anywhere that has data sufficient for your planning needs. The tool helps managers and planners assess impacts on a variety of natural, cultural, and development objectives, and create options for sites, and entire landscapes and seascapes.
  • The Nonpoint-Source Pollution and Erosion Comparison Tool (N-SPECT) helped to predict sedimentation and pollution changes within different land-use scenarios and to identify areas that are the key contributors. With an open-source version, Nonpoint Source Pollution and Erosion is a broadly applicable comparison tool to investigate impacts from development, other land uses, and climate change. The tool allows simulations of erosion, pollution, and their accumulation from overland flow, provides estimates and maps of surface water runoff volumes, pollutant loads, pollutant concentrations, and total sediment loads. These scenarios allow users identify areas that might benefit from changes to proposed development strategies and provides a means to analyze “what if” land use change scenarios.

After participating in the training, the local municipality planners of Costa Rica were able to perform ongoing analysis and improve local decision-making and resource management by integrating the three decision-support tools. The interoperability substantially increased the users’ decision-making capacity, enabling them to conduct cross-sector and ecosystem planning. The process and lessons learned are applicable to the other coastal communities in other municipalities.


Global actions


15+ years


Climate Technology Center Network UNIDO

Costa Rica’s mangrove swamp

Satellite vies of Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s main setlements