Game simulation for scenarios in peatland management

Game simulation for scenarios in peatland management

Indonesia - 21 June, 2022

Author: Lisa Tanika

Demand for economic welfare has led to the development of plantations and agricultural areas in peatland area, which triggered the development of massive canals. This situation has led to the speed up of peatland degradation, where worse drought takes place during the dry season and more prone to fires. In the end, it affects the economic situation of the local communities and induces social conflicts. To address this problem, hydrological restoration is needed to regain the hydrological function.

In order to be successful, hydrological restoration strategies require the four knowledge-to-action chains: understanding, commitment and actions, operationalization, and innovation. However, stakeholders tend to have a different point of views and understanding to the restoration due to different interests. This situation makes the stakeholders’ commitment is difficult to build and the restoration activities cannot be integrated.

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Thus, the first thing to do is to synchronize the understanding and the spatial scope, which in this case is by looking at Peatland Hydrological Unit (PHU) as an inseparable integrated ecosystem, that they work at the same peatland ecosystem area, and that the activities done by one or more stakeholders in certain area of the KHG will give impact to the whole peatland ecosystem and influence other stakeholders. In this step, they need to understand the environment and economic problem faced by every stakeholder in relation to peatland management. A commitment to find solutions can be built afterwards, followed by collaborative actions by all stakeholders.

As part of the efforts done by Tropenbos Indonesia to facilitate the process to build the same understanding and commitment between stakeholders, a PhD candidate Lisa Tanika from the Wageningen University & Research has been interning with Tropenbos Indonesia and currently developing a tool to guide the process. In her study, a simple simulation is built by replicating peatland ecosystem, including its social ecology condition. This simple simulation will allow local stakeholders to exercise on various scenarios in managing their peatland area, and understand every impact or consequence that they should bear due to the decisions made. By having this tool, it is expected that the stakeholders will have a clear depiction of sustainable peatland management, have a clear conscience to protect their peatland area, and are able to implement the best scenarios in real peatland management of their area.

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Prior to the game simulation that will be organized with local stakeholders in the worksite of Tropenbos Indonesia in Sungai Putri, Ketapang, Lisa will conduct the simulation with some university students of collaborated university. Afterwards, another simulation will be conducted with the Ketapang District Multi-Stakeholders Working Group (MSWG) and inter villages forum Format Lingkar, before finally held with the groups of local communities, both who are involved and uninvolved with the programmes intervened by Tropenbos Indonesia.

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