Today, students played a board game in class. Their goal was simple: win the game by making the most profit. Students took turns rolling dice, moving their game pieces around the board, and cutting down trees. On the back of each tree was the earned value of that tree’s lumber. Every 50 years (5 rounds of the game), students paused to regrow the forest. Just like in nature, small patches of cleared forest regrew quickly, while larger patches regrew slower or not at all. Of course, the result of the game was severe deforestation.
But deforestation isn’t a symptom of tree-haters running wild through Earth’s forests. It’s yet another example of the Tragedy of the Commons. When someone cuts down a tree, the benefits (the value of the lumber or the land) go directly to that individual. And the negative effects (less oxygen, more carbon dioxide, less soil fertility, etc.) are spread out to the group. If you’d like to play my homemade deforestation board game with your class, all of the game’s materials can be downloaded below. Just make sure you print them out on recycled paper 😉
May 21 – Logging In the Amazon Lab Day 1 (pg709).docx
May 21 – Logging In the Amazon Rules.docx
May 21 – Logging in the Amazon Game Board.jpg
May 21 – Tree Cut-Outs (front).pptx
May 21 – Tree Cut-Outs (back).pptx