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

Federico Andreotti*, Erika N. Speelman, Karel Van den Meersche, Clementine Allinne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1383-1399
Number of pages17
JournalSustainability Science
Volume15
Issue number5
Early online date16 Jun 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020

Keywords

  • Agroecology
  • Forecasting
  • Future studies
  • Role-playing game
  • Sustainability transition
  • Transformative change

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Combining participatory games and backcasting to support collective scenario evaluation: an action research approach for sustainable agroforestry landscape management'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this