Project Completed
May 21, 2020
Dirk Hilbers

Ecosim, the educational nature management game

Potential Users

Bachelor/Master students Ecology, environmental science and forestry, biology curriculum HAVO and VWO

Produced by

Foundation Crossbill Guides (specifically Dirk Hilbers, Aram Korevaar and Jaap Kamp Kreij).

Project partners and advisory

Wageningen University (WUR)


Environmental Education Saxion

NIBI (Dutch Institute for Biology)

Different high schools

Start date: 01-08-2010

Finished: 01-01-2013


Dirk Hilbers, tel 026-3892317, email:

Project Description

Ecosim is an educational game for ecology, environmental, forest and nature education for the levels of HAVO, VWO, MBO, HBO and WO. The game was created by the applicants, in consultation with a HAVO / VWO school, college VHL, Saxion University of Applied Sciences (HBO environmental science), Wageningen University and the Ministry of Agriculture. Ecosim is a simulator of the Dutch landscape surrounding the characteristic ecosystems and man-made landscape elements such as buildings, roads and agricultural fields. In this landscape users can simalate nature management via commands, such as countering the decline of rare plants and animals, restore or release species, such as the bald eagle, or the creation of a diverse and species-rich ecosystems. The programmed Ecosim ecosystems in the landscape are the result of a number of biotic (eg succession, vegetation structure, the presence of dead wood) and abiotic parameters (eg, groundwater, soil, trofiegraad, acidity). This information takes the game to the officially recognized vegetation typology of the SynBioSys program. SynBioSys developed by Wageningen UR / Alterra and the Ministry of Agriculture and is the authority in the Dutch vegetation and its relationship to the environment and soil. Ecosim being built in collaboration with the makers of SynBioSys and will (among others) also are offered on this program website. The Ecosimlandscape consists of thousands of small tiles that each have their own vegetation, which is the result of the aforementioned biotic and abiotic parameters. The tiles communicate with each other. By making a change in the landscape (such as digging a ditch, sodding heather or create a walking path) can change the parameters and eventually the vegetation. Applying the correct procedures, the user will succeed. When the wrong choices are made, it will not work. To discover what action at what location in the landscape could be successful, the user can obtain information about the occurrence of species, hydrology, water, nutrient, etc; In other words, those parameters which are relevant for nature and conservation.

Demo OS-image for virtual machine

Ubuntu demo OS-image can be used to try ecosim on your own system using virtualbox or some other virtualisation tool.