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Note: This article is from Conservation Magazine, the precursor to Anthropocene Magazine. The full 14-year Conservation Magazine archive is now available here.

An Anti-Monopoly Take on Land Development

March 14, 2014

More than 1 billion people have played the game Monopoly ruthlessly—acquiring land, building on it, and driving opponents into bankruptcy. Herry Purnomo, a scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research in Indonesia, wants to redirect that competitive drive. So he created the Landscape Game. Players must figure out how to manage different land types in order to balance landscape productivity with sustainability. For example, outside the forest core, develop acacia or oil palm plantations, invest in community-based agroforestry, or accumulate carbon credits through afforestation and reforestation; within the forest, invest in ecotourism, logging, or carbon for avoiding deforestation through REDD; and pay a charge for landing on the “fire” square. The banker still deals in cold, hard cash, but the government can also reward players for environmentally sustainable practices. Both factor into the score at the end of the game.

An app for iOS and Android phones is in the works. For more information, visit

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