This past summer, UAS Assistant Professor of Political Science Glenn Wright spent three months in Uganda, preparing the groundwork for a study on forest conservation in developing countries. There, he worked with a group of ecologists, mathematicians and social scientists to test an experiment which will be used to study why some groups of people can effectively conserve forested lands while others seem unable.
The experiment takes the form of a game where players attempt to manage a “forest” made up of wooden blocks. Next year, Glenn will return to Uganda with his colleagues to carry out the experiment in four rural sites, and a second team will go to Bolivia to carry out the same experiment. Results should help us understand how to encourage conservation in settings like Uganda and Bolivia, where deforestation is a serious problem.