ConFooBio is funded by an EU H2020 ERC Starting Grant to Nils Bunnefeld (2016-2022) (Link to official EU project website)
We have produced an online game that is free to play (please play this game, we are still collecting data from this!) https://www.scienceathome.org/games/crops_vs_creatures/
Please download and contribute to our Generalised Management Strategy Evaluation package in R, freely accessible code here https://github.com/ConFooBio
The ConFooBio game data can be accessed here https://reshare.ukdataservice.ac.uk/854068/
Conflicts between food security and biodiversity conservation are increasing in scale and intensity and have been shown to be damaging for both biodiversity and human livelihoods. Uncertainty, for example from climate change, decreases food security, puts further pressure on biodiversity and exacerbates conflicts.
ConFooBio proposes to develop management strategies for conflicts between biodiversity conservation and food security under uncertainty. ConFooBio will integrate game theory and social-ecological modelling to develop new theory to mitigate conservation conflicts. ConFooBio will implement a three-tiered approach 1) characterise and analyse 7 real-world conservation conflicts impacted by uncertainty; 2) develop new game theory that explicitly incorporates uncertainty; and 3) produce and test a flexible social-ecological model, applicable to real-world conflicts where stakeholders operate under conditions of extreme uncertainty. ConFooBio focuses on the following 7 case studies:
The project has importance for society at large because ecosystems and their services are central to human wellbeing. Managing a specific natural resource often results in conflict between those stakeholders focussing on improving food security and those focussed on biodiversity conversation. ConFooBio will illuminate new strategies to such conflicts by showing how to achieve synergies that protect biodiversity and secure livelihoods. This project will develop a practical, transparent and flexible model for the sustainable future of natural resources that is also robust to uncertainty (e.g., climate change). The project aims to be relevant for environmental negotiations among stakeholders with competing objectives from local to global (e.g. the negotiations to implement the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals).
For updates and publications follow the link to official EU project website.
2) We have developed and implemented 216 game workshops with 864 stakeholders across three countries (Scotland, Gabon and Madagascar) to evaluate the impacts of different conflict interventions (subsidies, compensation payments) on stakeholders’ decision making (scaring, killing, habitat conservation). These games take into account the uncertainty of where and when wildlife occurs and on which land parcels. Along with the games we have administered questionnaire surveys with the same 864 participants across the same countries (Scotland, Gabon and Madagascar) to identify key determinants of individual and group behaviour (values, attitudes, local perceptions of equity and trust, socio-demographics). We are currently in the process of analysing the data and preparing a manuscrips.
3) We have developed a novel modelling framework to predict wildlife management outcomes in the presence of stakeholder disagreement and conflict. Our new software for social-ecological modelling called Generalised Management Strategy Evaluation (GMSE) and underlying code is freely available as a package in the statistical software R and on GitHub and has been downloaded over 8 thousand times. The description of the package and its capabilities was published in the peer-reviewed journal Methods in Ecology and Evolution in 2018. The next steps will be to show the broad and realistic applicability of the GMSE model and to apply it to real world case studies.
We have also developed a novel game-based approach using tablet computers, where people make decisions about wildlife populations that damage their agricultural crops. Decisions range from scaring to killing to setting aside habitat for conservation under treatments of compensation payments and subsidies. These games are accessible to illiterate and innumerate participants and capturing spatial and temporal dynamics of wildlife and decisions made to help people voice their needs and stimulate discussion on their motives and decision processes in conflicts between conservation of biodiversity and food production and security.