Tool development to understand rural resource users’ land use and impacts on land type changes in Madagascar


  • Lena M. Reibelt Madagascar Wildlife Conservation, Lot 17420 bis Avaradrova Sud, 503 Ambatondrazaka, Madagascar
  • Gabrielle Moser ETH Zurich, Ecosystems Management, Forest Management and Development Group, Universitätsstraße 16, 8092 Zurich
  • Anne Dray ETH Zurich, Ecosystems Management, Forest Management and Development Group, Universitätsstraße 16, 8092 Zurich
  • Ihoby H. Randriamalala Madagascar Wildlife Conservation, Lot 17420 bis Avaradrova Sud, 503 Ambatondrazaka
  • Juliette Chamagne ETH Zurich, Ecosystems Management, Forest Management and Development Group, Universitätsstraße 16, 8092 Zurich
  • Bruno Ramamonjisoa ESSA Forêts, BP 175, Ankatso, Antananarivo 101
  • Luis Garcia Barrios ECOSUR, El Colegio de la Frontera Sur Unidad San CristÛbal. Carretera Panamericana y Perifèrico Sur s/n , Barrio Marìa Auxiliadora, CP 29290 San Cristûbal de Las Casas, Chiapas
  • Claude Garcia ETH Zurich, Ecosystems Management, Forest Management and Development Group, Universitätsstraße 16, 8092 Zurich UR Forêts et Société (F&S), Département Environnements et Sociétés du CIRAD, Campus International de Baillarguet, 34398 Montpellier Cedex 5, France.
  • Patrick O. Waeber ETH Zurich, Ecosystems Management, Forest Management and Development Group, Universitätsstraße 16, 8092 Zurich Madagascar Wildlife Conservation, Lot 17420 bis Avaradrova Sud, 503 Ambatondrazaka, Madagascar


role-playing game, RPG, socio-ecological systems, land use, land use change, natural resource management, stakeholders


A majority of Madagascar’s rural people depend on the primary sector. The countrie’s agricultural hub, the Alaotra-Mangoro region, is mainly tied to fisheries and rice production. Increasing human population and decreasing output from fisheries and agriculture are pushing the rural resource users further into the protected marshlands. Understanding rural farmers’ decisions can help developing improved management plans to support long-term functioning of (socio-) ecological systems. We present here an example of inter- and transdisciplinary research which uses a participatory modelling approach to develop a shared vision of the Alaotra socio-ecological system. The purpose of this study is to introduce the used gaming approach in detail by documenting the process of co-construction of the Alaotra wetlands’ conceptual model. We then describe how the model is transcribed into a table-top role-playing game that will help researchers and stakeholders alike explore and understand decisions and management strategies. We finally report on first outcomes of the game including land use decisions, reaction to market fluctuation and landscape change.



La majorité des populations rurales de Madagascar dépendent du secteur primaire. Le centre agricole du pays, la région d'Alaotra-Mangoro, est principalement lié à la pêche et à la production de riz. L'accroissement de la population humaine et la diminution de la production de la pêche et de l'agriculture poussent les utilisateurs des ressources rurales vers les marais protégés. Comprendre les décisions des agriculteurs peut aider à développer de meilleurs plans de gestion pour soutenir le fonctionnement à long terme des systèmes (socio-) écologiques. Nous présentons ici un exemple de recherche interdisciplinaire et transdisciplinaire qui utilise une approche de modélisation participative pour développer une vision partagée du système socio-écologique d'Alaotra. Le but de cette étude est de présenter en détail l'approche des jeux utilisée ici, en documentant le processus de co-construction du modèle conceptuel pour les zones humides d'Alaotra. Nous décrivons ensuite comment le modèle est transcrit dans un jeu de rôle sur plateau qui aidera les chercheurs et les parties prenantes à explorer et à comprendre les décisions et les stratégies de gestion. Nous présentons enfin les premiers résultats du jeu, y compris les décisions d'utilisation des terres, la réponse aux fluctuations du marché et aux changements de paysages.


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ago, USA.

*Please contact the authors for a pdf of the unpublished report.

The geographic boundaries of the Alaotra socio-ecological system considered for the role-playing game approach study.







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