TRUE GRASP: Actors visualize and explore hidden limitations of an apparent win-win land management strategy in a MAB reserve
Marco Braasch, Luis García Barrios, Elisabeth Huber-Sannwald, Neptalí Ramírez Marcial y Sergio Cortina
Win-win solutions might be short-lived. Government permission for smallholder farmers to extract and sell resin from a pine savanna biosphere-reserve in Mexico has settled a long dispute among different stakeholders in the short-term, however forest production and conservation beyond 20 years are compromised due to low pine recruitment caused by competition with exotic grasses. Grass control practiced by farmers through grazing and fire has previously been discouraged by conservation authorities, which inadvertently limits long-term pine conservation and use. We describe the participatory design, rationale and simulation attributes of an educational, interactive, agent-based model “TRUE GRASP”, that explores suites of management options and their economic and ecological outputs. We present and analyze some of the outcomes of four simulation workshops, where farmers and external-actors better grasped the complex ecological interactions involved in conserving and using pines in grazed pine savanna with exotic grasses. Finally, we give some examples how our findings were discussed with a long-term vision and tradeoff analysis.