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Payments for Environmental Services in Watersheds: Insights From a Comparative Study of three Cases in Central America

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Author Info

  • Nicolas Kosoy

    (Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

  • Miguel Martinez-Tuna

    (Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

  • Roldan Muradian

    (Development Research Institute, Tilburg University)

  • Joan Martinez-Alier

    (Departament d'Economia i d'Història Econòmica, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

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    Abstract

    We have compared three cases of payments for water-related environmental services (PES) in Central America, in terms of socioeconomic background, opportunity costs of forest conservation and stakeholders’ perceptions on the conditions of water resources and other issues. We found that, in general, the foregone benefits from land uses alternative to forest cover are larger than the amount paid, which apparently contradicts the economic foundation of PES schemes. A number of possible explanations are explored. The results also suggest that trade-offs between different environmental and social goals are likely to emerge in PES schemes, posing some doubts on their ability to be multipurpose instruments for environmental improvement and rural development. We also found that PES schemes may work as a conflictresolution instrument, facilitating downstream -upstream problem solving, though at the same time they might introduce changes in social perceptions of property rights.

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    File URL: http://www.h-economica.uab.es/wps/2006_01.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Departament d'Economia i Història Econòmica, Unitat d'Història Econòmica in its series UHE Working papers with number 2006_01.

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    Length: 29 pages
    Date of creation:
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    Handle: RePEc:aub:uhewps:2006_01

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    Related research

    Keywords: environmental services; watershed management; rural development; property rights; Honduras; Costa Rica; Nicaragua.;

    References

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    1. Leopoldo Dimas & Susan Kandel & Deborah Barry & Herman Rosa, 2004. "Compensation for Environmental Services and Rural Communities: Lessons from the Americas," Working Papers wp96, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    2. Stefano Pagiola & Paola Agostini & José Gobbi & Cees de Haan & Muhammad Ibrahim, 2004. "Paying for Biodiversity Conservation Services in Agricultural Landscapes," Others 0405005, EconWPA.
    3. Johnson, Nancy L. & Baltodano, Maria Eugenia, 2004. "The economics of community watershed management: some evidence from Nicaragua," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 57-71, May.
    4. Kerr, John, 2002. "Watershed Development, Environmental Services, and Poverty Alleviation in India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(8), pages 1387-1400, August.
    5. Paul Seabright, 1993. "Managing Local Commons: Theoretical Issues in Incentive Design," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 113-134, Fall.
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