This exercise introduces students to the complexities of conservation in rural tropical landscapes. It introduces the concepts of payments for environmental services (PES), trade-offs and synergies between agricultural land-uses and society’s needs, and introduces students to tropical land-uses and common rural stakeholders in the tropics. The module has two main parts. In Part 1, students learn about a new reforestation program in the fictional country of Nueva Puerta and must debate how to direct the reforestation program: towards poverty alleviation, export production, water protection, or habitat connectivity. In Part 2, students break into small groups to negotiate the placement of PES in a tropical land-use simulation game. The land-use simulation is designed to show students some of the realities and limits of tropical conservation. In the final phase of the exercise, students reflect on their experiences through discussion questions. Optionally, they can write a reflective essay and/or vote which real-world reforestation project they are interested in supporting as a class.
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