WEBINAR: Is forest regeneration good for biodiversity ? Discourse analysis and role-playing games to explore the social dimensions of an apparently ecological debate

On Monday, the 23th of May 2022, the PECS working group on collaborative governance and management hosted another webinar: Michael Schoon invited Cécile Barnaud on discourse analysis and role-playing games:

Whether or not forest regeneration in European mountains is a desirable change for biodiversity is disputed. To explore the social dimensions of this apparently ecological debate, Cécile first presents a comparative discourse analysis across four cases of protected areas in France, Spain, and Scotland. This analysis draws on a conceptual framework highlighting both the ecological and social factors underpinning the construction of environmental discourses, and emphasizing notably the role of interests, ideas and institutions, as well as power dynamics and discourse-coalitions. In this study, the researchers show how diverging discourses emerged, gained ground, coalesced and competed differently in different contexts, explaining the adoption of seemingly opposite discourses by protected area authorities. These findings thus reaffirm the need to conceive environmental governance as an on-going deliberative process in order to achieve environmental justice. This leads to the second part of the talk, in which Cécile presents a research-action project that aimed at supporting such a deliberative process in the context of a conflict between livestock farmers and national park agents in the Cévennes mountains, in the South of France. Following a companion modelling approach, the researchers designed a Role-Playing Game to foster social learning and negotiations among these actors so as to conciliate agriculture with patrimonial landscape and biodiversity conservation.  Cécile then discusses both the added-value and the limits of this tool to foster collaborative management of SES.

Cécile is a human geographer working on collaboration and negotiation mechanisms for the governance of natural resources. She is interested in how the interface between agriculture, environment and society is being socially constructed and negotiated through social interactions among stakeholders with different interests and values, embedded in often asymmetric power relationships. She uses both qualitative analytical methods (semi-directed interviews, inductive analysis) and participatory action research methods (role-playing games in particular).

You can listen to the recording of the webinar here.

All other past webinars hosted on behalf of the PECS Collaborative Working Group are available here.

Text by Michael Schoon/ Upload by Johanna Hofmann