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The choices farmers make: Board game helps scientists understand land use decisions

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The Sierra Springs board game helps players understand the dynamics at work in rural communities.
The Sierra Springs board game helps players understand the dynamics at work in rural communities.

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MONTPELLIER, France — What if you inherited a piece of Central American forest from your elders and were faced with a choice of farming it or leaving the trees standing to store carbon and combat climate change? What if you didn’t have to choose between these options but could choose both at the same time?

Luis García Barrios, a senior researcher at Mexico’s Colegio de la Frontera Sur, invented the Sierra Springs board game to simulate the behavior of farmers gaining access to a new plot of tropical forest.

He uses it to help players understand the dynamics at work in rural communities, but also to study decision-making on land use.

Read more about this game, and watch a video about it, at ForestsClimateChange.org.

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