The Mangal Play: A serious game to experience multi-stakeholder decision-making in complex mangrove social-ecological systems

Farid Dahdouh-Guebas, Thanne WGF Mafaziya Nijamdeen, J.J.A. Hugé, Yasmine Dahdouh-Guebas, Diana Di Nitto, Amina Juma Hamza, Sunanda Kodikara Arachchilage, Nico Koedam, Maria Mancila Garcia, Mohamed O.S. Mohamed, Laurence Mostert, Cosmas Munga, Meenakshi Poti, Behara Satyanarayana, Iris Stiers, Karolien Van Puyvelde, Maarten P. M. Vanhove, Katherine Vande Velde, Hajaniaina A. Ratsimbazafy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In order to achieve collaborative action in nature conservation and natural resources management, stakeholders have to understand and acknowledge other stakeholders’ interests, values, world visions and objectives and they have to overcome the problem of irrational decision-making through innate opposition discourses. In this paper we developed the Mangal Play, an experiential learning method to have participants adopt the role of a particular stakeholder in an imaginary mangrove forest social-ecological system (SES). The Mangal Play is a serious game, more specifically a role-play, aimed at promoting oral dialogues between 20 stakeholders involved in governance, fisheries, aquaculture, agriculture, forestry, tourism, transport, conservation and communication sectors. By providing tools to lecturers and scientists to execute it in a public or classroom setting, the Mangal Play stimulates a decision-making process while accepting compromise and distinguishing bottom-line issues from negotiable positions, and instructs about the behaviour of complex real-world systems in a safe learning environment. We exemplify how social network analysis can serve to visualise the outcome and further develop the Mangal Play. In this way we hope to help stakeholders take into account diverse positions in a rational decision-making process.
Original languageEnglish
Article number909793
Number of pages18
JournalFrontiers in Marine Science
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2022


  • coastal management
  • education
  • mangroves
  • ocean literacy
  • serious game
  • adaptive management
  • game-based learning
  • mangrove management
  • stakeholder
  • role-play
  • gamification
  • social network analysis
  • policy-making


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