Meet the SimPachamama team

SimPachamama TeamAll this month, INESAD has published posts related to climate change, gaming, and deforestation to support the launch of the didactic game SimPachamama where the player becomes the mayor of an Amazonian town and has to balance policy priority to reduce deforestation while increasing community wellbeing.

Today, we’d like you to meet the team behind SimPachamama. The project took over three years to complete and the success of the final game, released at the start of this month, is the result of the hard work and dedication of the international and interdisciplinary SimPachamama team. In addition to the principal researchers listed below, many other people also made significant contributions to SimPachamama during its development and our eternal gratitude goes out to them.

e SimPachamama team validating and calibrating the SimPachamama simulation model with the help from local farmers, cattle ranchers, loggers, teachers and municipal leaders at the SimPachamama workshop near Rurrenabaque, Bolivia, in April 2012.
The SimPachamama team validating and calibrating the SimPachamama simulation model with the help from local farmers, cattle ranchers, loggers, teachers and municipal leaders at the SimPachamama workshop near Rurrenabaque, Bolivia, in April 2012.

LykkeAndersenDr. Lykke E. Andersen is the Director of the Center for Environmental-Economic Modeling and Analysis (CEEMA) at the Institute for Advanced Development Studies (INESAD), Bolivia. With extensive experience in environmental, economic, and social research in Latin America, and a passion for helping to reduce poverty and inequality in Bolivia, Lykke was the perfect person to coordinate and drive forward the SimPachamama project whilst also contributing her technical expertise to the effort. Read Lykke’s article on how SimPachamama incorporated the Happy Planet Index HERE.

Dr Ugur BilgeDr. Ugur Bilge is a Senior Research Associate in the Complexity Group at the London School of Economics (LSE) in the United Kingdom (U.K.). He has a PhD in Computer Science and specializes in Agent Based Simulations, a class of simulations to which the SimPachamama game belongs (see this previous post to find out “What is Agent Based Modeling?”). Ugur works to develop computational tools that can help to solve real world problems; SimPachamama was therefore a perfect outlet for his expertise.

Ben GroomDr. Ben Groom was formerly a Senior Lecturer in Economics at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), U.K., and since 2012 has been a Lecturer in Environmental and Development Economics at LSE. As well as his lecture topic, he also specializes in biodiversity valuation and environmental policy. Read Ben’s article on the challenge of deforestation and how games like SimPachamama can help HERE.

David Gutierrez studied and taught mathematics at the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés (UMSA), Bolivia, prior to becoming INESAD’s in-house expert on Agent Based Modeling in NetLogo and writing much of the computer code for SimPachamama.

Evan KillickDr. Evan Killick is a Senior Lecturer in Anthropology and International Development in the Anthropology Department of Sussex University, U.K. His interests are focused on the Amazonian region and the study of its peoples, cultures, and development. His growing interest in REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) mechanisms and the role of the Amazon in climate change mitigation fits in neatly with the SimPachamama project.

JuanCarlosLedezmaJuan Carlos Ledezma works for Conservation International (CI), an organization that works with communities and countries to protect precious natural resources such as tropical forests in order to improve the lives of people over the world. Juan Carlos was in charge of data collection and information gathering for SimPachamama. He was also instrumental in developing the OSIRIS (Open Source Impacts of REDD+ Incentives Spreadsheet) and CISS-Bolivia (Conservation Incentives SpreadSheet) simulation tools that complement SimPachamama.  These are freely available tools for estimating and mapping the climate, forest, and economic benefits of different incentive schemes, enabling decision makers to invest resources efficiently.

Esther Lopez is a PhD student in Anthropology at Sussex University. Her research focuses on indigenous groups in Bolivia and conflicts over land.

Charles PalmerDr. Charles Palmer is a Lecturer in Environment and Development at LSE. He specializes in environmental and development economics and has worked for several international organizations including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in Indonesia. He is a co-editor of the 2009 book “Avoided Deforestation: Prospects for Mitigating Climate Change” which explores policies for implementing REDD strategies.

Diana WeinholdDr. Diana Weinhold is an Associate Professor of Development Economics in the Department of International Development at LSE. She works on a diverse range of projects including the study of land use and soybean production in the Brazilian Amazon, and deforestation-growth cycles in the Amazon as well as contributing to the SimPachamama project. Read Diana’s article on how games can help in understanding land use and deforestation HERE.

The project was financed by the British program “Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation” (ESPA).

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