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Simulation game to help farmer adapt to climate change

An interactive web-based computer game is to help farmers adapt to climate change.

Researchers have developed the interactive web-based Maladaptation Game, which can be used to better understand how Nordic farmers make decisions regarding environmental changes and how they negotiate the negative impacts of potentially damaging decisions, reports Science Daily.

4 agricultural challenges

In the game you have to deal with 4 challenges: Precicipation, Temperature Increase/Drought, Longer growing season, and Increased risk of pests and weeds. You pick a challenge, and are the presented with different ways to face them. For Precipitation for instance, you can choose Improving your drainage, Invest in drying equipment, Apply structural liming, Practice no tillage, or Plow sub-soil.

Potential negative outcomes based on decisions

However, each method comes at a cost, which you can either accept or decline. If you accept, you pay a certain amount of coins (20 coins are put in your wallet when you start the game). The idea is to finish the game with as many coins left in your wallet as possible. At the end, the player receives a summary of the potential negative outcomes based on his decisions.

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In the game you have to deal with 4 challenges: Precicipation, Temperature Increase/Drought, Longer growing season, and Increased risk of pests and weeds. - Image: Screenshot
In the game you have to deal with 4 challenges: Precicipation, Temperature Increase/Drought, Longer growing season, and Increased risk of pests and weeds. - Image: Screenshot

The game – which itself is very simple – is developed by researchers from Sweden and Finland. Their research is presented in the article "Benefits and challenges of serious gaming -- the case of "The Maladaptation Game" published in De Gruyter’s journal Open Agriculture, by author Therese Asplund and colleagues from Linköping University in Sweden and the University of Helsinki in Finland.

“While we observed that the conceptual thinking of the game sometimes clashes with the players’ everyday experiences and practice, we believe gaming may function as an eye-opener to new ways of thinking,” explains Asplund.

Serious games should be designed

Based on recent literature on serious gaming and climate communication, the authors suggest that serious games should be designed to include elements of thinking and sharing, which will stimulate reflection and discussion among stakeholders.

“Serious games have great potential of how to address complex environmental issues. Used as a communication strategy, they illustrate, visualise and communicate research findings,” says Asplund.

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