SimPhy: a simulation game to lessen the impact of phytosanitaries on health and the environment--the case of Merja Zerga in Morocco.Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2014 Apr; 21(7):4950-63.ES
Diffuse phytosanitary pollution is a complex phenomenon to manage. Reducing this type of pollution is one of today's key socio-economic and environmental challenges. At the regional level, few approaches enable the actors concerned to implement agricultural management strategies to reduce the use and impact of phytosanitary products. Our research problem focused on the consequences of intensive agriculture and, in particular, how to evaluate the impact of phytosanitary products on human health and the environment. In this article, we present the SimPhy simulation game which places the actors from a given region directly into a situation in which they manage farms whilst under pressure to reduce phytosanitaries (quantity and toxicity). The application focused on the Merja Zerga catchment area in Morocco. The region is dominated by intensive agriculture which is located upstream from a Ramsar-classified wetland area. The SimPhy simulation game is based on a decision support system-type tool. It allows us to anticipate the impact of regulations on farming systems. It also enables us to analyse the consequences of the actors' strategies on farm economies, human health and the quality of ecosystems. Initial results from the SimPhy simulation game enabled the technicians from Agricultural Development Center (CDA) themselves to learn about managing agricultural production systems in a dynamic and interactive fashion. With the simulation game, it was possible to learn about the farmer's ability to adapt to new regulatory constraints, and the involved consequences for toxicity risks for human health and the environment.