Sustainability, Vol. 11, Pages 310: Conciliate Agriculture with Landscape and Biodiversity Conservation: A Role-Playing Game to Explore Trade-Offs among Ecosystem Services through Social Learning (Sustainability)
A key challenge in the management of ecosystem services involves weighing up the trade-offs between these ecosystem services and who benefits from them. In mountainous zones, new trade-offs between ecosystem services emerge due to shifts in farming practices and their consequences on the landscapes (land abandonment and intensification), which is a source of debate and controversy between local stakeholders. To help stakeholders tackle the challenge of decision-making around trade-offs, this study tested the use of a role-playing game based on the concept of ecosystem services to facilitate the process through social learning. The game SECOLOZ was designed in cooperation with local stakeholders to explore the impacts of three farming practices (rock removal, ploughing of meadow, and pasturing) on trade-offs among ecosystem services. The game was played with various local stakeholders in the Mont Lozère, France. We found that this experience increased awareness of interdependencies, encouraged mutual understanding, improved the ability to deal with uncertainties, and fostered the exploration of innovative methods of governance. The outcomes confirm that the ecosystem service concept can be successfully used in a role-playing game process and that it significantly contributes to social learning.