Drawing, role-playing and 3D maps improve land use planning

Drawings of landscapes are often used to discuss climate change impacts with forest communities. Agni Klintuni Boedhihartono

Drawings of landscapes are often used to discuss climate change impacts with forest communities. Agni Klintuni Boedhihartono

Jean-Christophe Castella often asks Laotian villagers to play the role of developers, conservationists, investors or farmers as they huddle around a table-top virtual village elegantly crafted from plaster bandage strips and cardboard.

Villagers move bits of string back and forth, negotiating where to clear forests to expand farmland, or where a proposed road would best traverse the landscape. Sometimes a foreign investor, played by Castella steps in and makes a generous offer for a land concession – which is not easy to refuse, the villagers admit.

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