Games as Tools to Address Conservation Conflicts

Steve M. Redpath*, Aidan Keane, Henrik Andrén, Zachary Baynham-Herd, Nils Bunnefeld, A. Bradley Duthie, Jens Frank, Claude A. Garcia, Johan Månsson, Lovisa Nilsson, Chris R.J. Pollard, O. Sarobidy Rakotonarivo, Carl F. Salk, Henry Travers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


Conservation conflicts represent complex multilayered problems that are challenging to study. We explore the utility of theoretical, experimental, and constructivist approaches to games to help to understand and manage these challenges. We show how these approaches can help to develop theory, understand patterns in conflict, and highlight potentially effective management solutions. The choice of approach should be guided by the research question and by whether the focus is on testing hypotheses, predicting behaviour, or engaging stakeholders. Games provide an exciting opportunity to help to unravel the complexity in conflicts, while researchers need an awareness of the limitations and ethical constraints involved. Given the opportunities, this field will benefit from greater investment and development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-426
Number of pages11
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number6
Early online date17 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding text: S.R. is grateful for the King Carl XVI Gustaf guest professorship that funded the workshop and allowed him to write this paper. We thank the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency for supporting J.F., L.N., and J.M. Z.B.H. was supported by a studentship from the Natural Environment Research Council E3 Doctoral training partnership (grant number NERC NE/L002558/1).


  • conflicts
  • conservation
  • constructivist games
  • experimental games
  • game theory
  • role-playing


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