Over the past decades, impacts of market changes and legislation promoting nature conservation greatly increased in small-scale farming communities. The ability of these communities to deal with the effects of these changes is essential for the continuation of life in rural areas throughout the world.
It is therefore important to look at how farming communities dealt with such a rapidly changing environment in the past and to develop tools to help strengthen the adaptive capacity of farming communities. This thesis dealt with both of the above-mentioned issues.
Gaming and simulation tools
Comprehensive fieldwork in the case study area of a small farming community in a Biosphere Reserve in Chiapas, Mexico, showed that communities can strengthen their resilience to the sometimes strong negative effects of changes in legislation and markets. Improved local organization, diversification of land use and cooperation among farmers proved essential in this process. The four gaming and simulation tools that have been developed and applied with various stakeholders within this project, showed that these tools improved the understanding of difficult concepts and processes and provided an opportunity for the sharing of ideas between participants.