New landscapes game launched at Global Landscapes Forum


By Bruno Vander Velde, originally published at Forests News

Say you have a plot of forested land in Amazonia to invest in.

Do you log it for quick cash, or preserve it for carbon credits? Do you clear it for oil palm or dig in for the long haul and build a tourist eco-lodge? Poultry farm or coffee agro-forest?

These are actual decisions being made daily throughout the tropical world—and they have global ramifications for the climate, for biodiversity and for economies. And now you can get in on the action.

Virtually, at least.

In 2007, Herry Purnomo, a scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and professor at Bogor Agriculture University in Indonesia, invented “Landscape Game,” a board game designed for players to maximize revenue while balancing the economic and ecological trade-offs of the “landscape approach” to sustainable development.

“The purpose of the game is a learning tool, to understand that in the landscape, there are many actors with legitimate interests,” Purnomo said. “It’s for academia, community members, policy makers—anyone who is interested in balancing conservation and development, including climate change.”

Games created explicitly for educational purposes don’t always get the same following as your typical board game. Purnomo’s board game, however, sold 1,000 copies.

A few years later, he thought of creating an online version. “I wanted to do [the digital version] because the technology was possible, and to reach a wider audience,” Purnomo said.

For the past year, he has been working with a team of developers and testers to bring Landscape Game to (digital) life.

The beta version is finally ready.

Play online now

  • The beta version of the Landscape Game can be played at cifor.org/landscapegameWatch the video (above) for how to play. Suggestions and feedback about the game are welcome in the Comments section of the Forests News blog