Tackling issues of coexistence between protected areas and communal lands: from a role playing game to an agent based model

Perrotton Arthur, De Garine-Wichatitsky Michel, Le Page Christophe. 2015. Tackling issues of coexistence between protected areas and communal lands: from a role playing game to an agent based model. In : Proceedings of the 27th International Congress for Conservation Biology and 4th European Congress for Conservation Biology " Mission biodiversity: choosing new paths for conservation". Visconti P. (ed.), Game E. (ed.), Mathevet R. (ed.), Wilkerson M. (ed.). Washington DC : Society for conservation biology, Résumé, p. 527. International Congress for Conservation Biology. 27, Montpellier, France, 2 August 2015/6 August 2015.

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Additional Information : A l'occasion de ce congrès, s'est également déroulé le 4th European Congress for Conservation Biology, du 2 au 6 août 2015, Montpellier, France

Abstract : Coexistence between actors living in a common environment is a recurrent issue throughout the world. In southern Africa, issues at the interface between agriculture and conservation are inescapable. Livestock herding for instance is a particularly relevant phenomenon to consider if one wants to study coexistence between protected areas and farming households leaving on their edges. Role playing games and agent based model can be used both to elicit local knowledge and strategies, and also to simulate the possible evolution of a given system. In this presentation we propose to describe a work conducted with farmers and livestock herders living in what we define as the Hwange National Park-Sikumi Forest SES (HNP-SF-SES), Zimbabwe. In our study area, cattle are driven within one of the protected areas (SF) throughout the year, resulting in (i) cattle predation by wild predators, and (ii) concerns about the capacity of the SF to effectively conserve wild herbivores. In order to better understand herders' strategies, we co-designed a role playing game with 10 members of this community. Such game is a tool that allows us to elicit herding practices, and to test different scenarios (e.g. climatic variations, alternative governance rules). We assume that a co-designed game will better represent players' reality, thus enhancing appropriation and finally allowing us to collect relevant data. The design process is already a direct first step towards an agent Based model as we co-formalized the local environment with the design team. Results of the playing sessions will be presented, so will the process of translating them into an autonomous agent based model used to simulate possible trajectories of our studied system.

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