Board game depicts sustainable Amazon nut production practices

Imagine you are in a Brazil nuts collector in the Amazon rainforest. Your goal is to ensure that your community gets autonomy and, at the same time, ensures biodiversity conservation. Your tasks include opening forest trails, cleaning streams, building storage sheds, and transporting nuts. All of this has to be done in line with good environmental and social practices.

These challenges, part of the daily life of traditional communities in the Amazon, have been simulated in a board game, which will help to teach locals to adopt sustainable practices for the production of Brazil nuts while keeping the forest standing. The game (called Castanhal – Good Practices in Practice) is being developed by the Semear Castanha collective to be distributed to associations and schools in Amazon nut producing communities. 

The Semear Castanha collective arose from a continuing education program known as Formar Castanha, developed by the Brazilian Education Institute (IEB) in partnership with the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) and the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio), under the Partnership for the Conservation of Amazon Biodiversity (PCAB). It is supported by a number of non-governmental organizations and extractive cooperatives. 

Formar Castanha was created with the objective of training social actors involved in the Brazil nuts value chain on how to understand and see themselves in different roles. It relies on collaborative training methods, and on the provision of tools, techniques, methods and information to these groups. In addition, it jointly builds the knowledge required for decision-making with the aim of enhancing the protection of these communities' rights.

The Castanhal game is based on the Good Practices in Practice poster. Players follow a trail, along which they engage in extracting, transporting, pre-processing, and selling Brazil nuts. During their journey, they will face several challenges – such as deforestation and snake bites – and will get points according to the use of good practices and favorable resources, such as cleaning trails, obtaining certification for their nuts, reaping fungi-free crops, or dealing with pollinating bees. The winner is the player who has the most points at the end of the trail.

In addition to the board game, Semear Castanha also launched other tools created by its members containing information and techniques for the production, commercialization, marketing and cooperation with a view to generating more income. 

The package includes a mobile application, tutorial videos on how to use the app (watch here), a poster on good practices and a video (watch here). In addition, local communities received a  Brazil nut facilitator guide and a field notebook to use during the harvest.