Combining participatory games and backcasting to support collective scenario evaluation: an action research approach for sustainable agroforestry landscape management

Andreotti Federico, Speelman Erika N., Van Den Meersche Karel, Allinne Clémentine. 2020. Combining participatory games and backcasting to support collective scenario evaluation: an action research approach for sustainable agroforestry landscape management. Sustainability Science, 15 (5), n.spéc. Agroforestry for Sustainable Landscape Management : pp. 1383-1399.

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Abstract : The combined and interacting effects of land-use change, resource extraction and climate change threaten the sustainability of millions of mainly smallholder farms in tropical agroforested landscapes. In many of these landscapes, coordinated action among stakeholders at landscape level would help to address challenges such as pests and diseases, price crises and climate change. However, methods to facilitate the co-production of sustainable landscape management in such complex multi-stakeholder systems are currently largely lacking. In this paper, we present a novel approach to explore pathways for the sustainability transition of agroforestry systems. By combining participatory forecasting and backcasting approaches, based on serious games and future vision development, we explore relevant agroforestry management strategies for reaching sustainable future coffee-based agroforestry landscapes. We focused our research on the challenges faced in the main coffee-producing area in Nicaragua. Here, we organized five participatory game sessions to explore farmer decision-making processes, farming strategies and to develop new networks and stimulate social learning among farmers. In the associated backcasting workshop, the most influential game session participants joined technicians, researchers and municipality officials to collectively envision sustainable future landscape management. In all game sessions, farmers developed diversified coffee-based agroforested landscapes characterised by increased density and diversity of shade trees, for the purpose of income diversification as well as forest conservation. During the backcasting workshop, the participants identified policy instruments and community-based solutions for the transition to sustainable landscapes. Our participatory approach facilitated discussion on landscape planning among farmers and other stakeholders and allowed the outline of a pathway towards the collective envisioned future landscape. The combination of participatory forecasting and backcasting proved to be a helpful tool to support multi-stakeholder processes towards sustainable landscape management in this and other complex landscapes.

Mots-clés Agrovoc : Agroforesterie, Aménagement du paysage, recherche participative, Technique de prévision, Durabilité

Mots-clés complémentaires : Gestion forestière durable, Jeu de role, Système agroforestier

Mots-clés libres : Sustainability transition, Transformative change, Forecasting, Role-playing game, Agroecology, Future studies

Classification Agris : F08 - Cropping patterns and systems
U30 - Research methods

Champ stratégique Cirad : CTS 5 (2019-) - Territoires

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Andreotti Federico, CIRAD-ES-UPR GREEN (FRA) - auteur correspondant
  • Speelman Erika N., Wageningen University (NLD)
  • Van Den Meersche Karel, CIRAD-PERSYST-UMR Eco&Sols (FRA) ORCID: 0000-0002-0866-7657
  • Allinne Clémentine, CIRAD-PERSYST-UMR SYSTEM (CRI)

Source : Cirad-Agritrop (

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