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27 sep


VTB Seminar: A game changer for Tropical Forests

A game changer for Tropical Forests – VTB Seminar Crash course ‘Companion Modelling Approach’

Date & time: 27 September 2018, 8.30-18.00
Location: Prinses Margrietstraat 126-128, 3554 GJ Utrecht
Costs: Student member €19,50 Regular member: €29,50 non-member: €70,-.


The VTB is proud to offer to its members and a wider interested audience the unique opportunity to deep-dive in a one day crash course in the serious game method called Companion Modelling Approach’ (ComMod). ComMod is a compelling and highly innovative method that can assist scientists, policy makers, students, conservationists, local communities, activists and business representatives alike to tackle complex natural resource management (NRM) problems. Are you ready to deep-dive with us in an intensive one-day course and learn to use this serious game?

ComMod is a participatory approach using role-playing games and computer simulation models to tackle complex issues in the fields of renewable resources and environmental management. It is developed and tested over many years by an international research team and applied in various NRM contexts throughout the world to solve real-life NRM problems. ComMod is a scientific method, and is taught as a 1 week PhD course in various universities. VTB is therefore delighted to be able to offer this one-day ComMod introduction and crash course as a tool to its members.

ComMod is not only fun to do, it is also particularly suitable to bring people with varying backgrounds and sometimes conflicting interests together to jointly address complex shared problems. ComMod promotes dialogue, shared learning and collective decision-making, strengthening the adaptive management capacity of communities facing wicked environmental problems. In the ComMod approach stakeholders and researchers work together to develop a collective understanding of the socio-ecological system and explore the issues at hand.

Currently, tropical forests stand at a cross-roads. The combined and interacting effects of land-use change, resource extraction, defaunation and climate change are pushing these ecosystems towards critical points where transitions to altered states will happen. The future of these forests depends on our capacity to understand and anticipate these transitions. The strength of the ComMod approach in this context is that this method facilitates a collective process allowing possible transitions and alternative scenarios to be jointly explored.

ComMod is a type of serious game. Serious games are games applied with a primary purpose other than entertainment. Through a skills training and by sharing experiences from practice, participants will get a good first understanding of this useful, fun and innovative approach. The training will be led by Dr. Claude Garcia (CIRAD/ETH, Zurich, Switserland) and Dr. Erika Speelman (Wageningen University).

What to expect? After an introduction, theory and some practical examples of ComMod applications in practice, a ComMod game, called ‘ReHab’ is played in several groups. ReHab takes place in a landscape where ‘harvesters’ collect biomass and ‘rangers’ aim to protect a protected bird species. Are all groups able to reach a desirable outcome? And do all groups reach the same outcome? Under the leadership of the experienced facilitators outcomes and wider applicability of the ComMod method are discussed.

After this day participants will have gained knowledge of serious gaming and the ComMod approach, will have applied ComMod by playing a game and have gathered insight in options and contexts for application of ComMod.

(Preliminary) Programme

8.30 Coffee and registration
9.00 Introduction to ComMod
9.30 Practical examples of ComMod in action
10.00 Coffee break
10.15 Parallel game sessions
12.30 Lunch
13.30 Continue parallel game sessions
15.00 ‘De-briefing and exchange of experiences of the various sessions
16.15 ComMod and other Serious Games in relation to NRM and sustainable forest management
16.30 Discussion & closing remarks
17.00-18.00 Cocktail

Information and questions

For further information and questions please contact

Prinses Margrietstraat 126-128, 3554 GJ Utrecht
Bekijk de volledige agenda