GLP News

EVENT RECAP: Adaptive landscape approaches using role-playing games

Related GLP Member: Isabelle Providoli, Christine Ornetsmüller, Jean-Christophe Castella, Claude Garcia

The GLP working group Co-production of Sustainable Land Systems held its second webinar in October 2018.

The webinar was intended for people already engaged in co-production, as well as to newcomers to the topic, who are not currently engaged in this exciting work.

The webinar focused on adaptive landscape approaches using role-playing games and illustrated examples on the use of role-playing games:

  • for understanding changes
  • for informing policies
  • and for engaging communities into transformative pathways

More details are provided below on the presentations by our three speakers of the day:

Please view the full webinar (you can also make it full screen):

Please take the webinar survey after watching the entire video at:

Introduction and closing slides, Isabelle Providoli (PDF, 2.4 MB)
Introduction to the webinar topic, Jean-Christophe Castella (PDF, 1.1 MB)
Multiscale gaming to produce knowledge about land use decision making on different scales and from different actors' perspectives, Christine Ornetsmüller (PDF, 3.5 MB)
Engaging farming communities in adaptive landscape approaches using role-playing games: Experiences from Laos, Jean-Christophe Castella (PDF, 2 MB)
Wicked Games, Claude Garcia (PDF, 5 MB)

Missed the first co-production webinar? You can view the webinar recording and download presentations.

Become a Member
We encourage you to become a member of GLP for free and join the co-production working group to help shape future offerings.

Please direct any questions about the webinar or working group to Isabelle Providoli.


Multiscale gaming – an approach to co-produce knowledge about land use decision making on different scales and from different actor’s perspectives

Christine Ornetsmüller

Serious games can be versatile tools for co-production of knowledge. One approach that illustrates this is the multiscale gaming approach which integrated knowledge from farmers, agricultural experts and scientists by designing and running game sessions on the local and regional level (meta-level). It has been developed to better understand land use decisions of farmers during the maize boom and bust in northern Laos.

Results of the method showed, that short-term exploitation of former shifting cultivation land is related to long-term socio-economic aspirations and goals such as education, housing and access to paddy land. Another finding emerged from the interactive elements of the multiscale gaming. Some farmers announced their willingness to a decision if only the price for the crop was higher. When scientists implemented a higher price in the game, the player surprisingly did not take the decision as stated earlier. In the debriefing session of the game scientists inquired about the reasons and one farmer confessed that he tried to follow the other’s decisions, so he wouldn’t be alone in his choice. This illustrates the role of social influence and imitation behavior in farmers’ decision-making.

For further information:

Engaging farming communities in transformative landscape approaches using role-playing games. Experiences from Laos

Jean-Christophe Castella

In the northern uplands of Laos, farming communities are transitioning from subsistence to commercial agriculture. Studies conducted over the last decade showed that the conversion from upland rice-based shifting cultivation systems to more intensive, cash crop cultivation can be abrupt and highly disruptive for the livelihood systems leading to increased vulnerability of smallholder farms. This presentation draws lessons from the experience of the EFICAS (Eco-Friendly Intensification and Climate resilient Agricultural Sytems) Project, which engaged farming communities in a transformative landscape approach towards more sustainable agroecosystems. After co-designing village level land use plans, the first stage of implementation has consisted in reorganizing crop-livestock interactions so that the animals would not be left grazing freely on young fallows right after crop harvests, as it is common in traditional shifting cultivation systems. The successive stages of the transition to new agroecological practices and landscape management rules involved negotiations among local stakeholders. These negotiations were facilitated using participatory mapping and role-play games. Impacts were assessed both in terms of technical and economic performances and in terms of social changes and emerging institutions at the village level. Scaling-up promising results calls for a major change in extension approaches that would turn extension agents from lecturers to facilitators in adaptive learning approaches.

For further information:

Playing the Game: Defining indicators for intact forest landscapes management in the Congo Basin

Claude Garcia

In 2014, the General Assembly of the Forest Stewardship Council adopted Motion 65 that called for the protection of the vast majority of Intact Forest Landscapes (IFL) in FSC certified concessions. To comply with Motion 65, a Regional Working Group for the Congo Basin on High Conservation Values (HCV-RWG) was established in 2016. To support its decision-making process, FSC invited a team of researchers as facilitators. The facilitation team associated Companion Modelling and MineSet. Companion Modelling is a participatory approach based on the development and use of role-playing games to support decision-making. MineSet, is a model of regional landscape change developed to explore the future of tropical forest landscapes in Central Africa over the next decades. MineSet places players in the roles of CEOs of logging and mining companies, interacting with markets, the government and NGOs, planning their activities and developing strategies to cope with the environmental, economic and social impacts of their decisions. The game and the discussion that follows enables stakeholders to share and confront their perceptions of the system, better grasp its complexities, explore alternative futures in a low-risk environment, and negotiate new forms of collective action. This example serves as proof of concept of the use of facilitation and games to address complex negotiations for forest management under conditions of high uncertainty and divergent interests.

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