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Assessing the role of learning devices and geovisualisation tools for collectiveaction in natural resource management
Experiences from Vietnam
In northern Vietnam uplands the successive policy reforms that accompanied agricultural decollectivisation triggered very rapid changes in land use in the 1990s. From a centralized system of natural resource management, a multitude of individual strategies emerged which contributed to new production interactions among farming households, changes in landscape structures, and conflicting strategies among local stakeholders. Within this context of agrarian transition, learning devices can help local communities to collectively design their own course of action towards sustainable natural resource management. This paper presents a collaborative approach combining a number of participatory methods and geovisualisation tools (e.g., spatially explicit multi-agent models and role-playing games) with the shared goal to analyse and represent the interactions between: (i) decision-making processes by individual farmers based on the resource profiles of their farms; (ii) the institutions which regulate resource access and usage; and (iii) the biophysical and socioeconomic environment. This methodological pathway is illustrated by a case study in Bac Kan Province where it successfully led to a communication platform on natural resource management. In a context of rapid socioeconomic changes, learning devices and geovisualisation tools helped embed the participatory approach within a process of community development. The combination of different tools, each with its own advantages and constraints, proved highly relevant for supporting collective natural resource management.