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Can payments for watershed services help save biodiversity? A spatial analysis of highland Guatemala

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  • Pagiola, Stefano
  • Zhang, Wei
  • Colom, Ale

Abstract

Payments for environmental services (PES) are a promising mechanism for conservation. PES could either provide additional funding for protected areas, pay land users to conserve biodiversity outside protected areas, or both. For PES to work, it requires a secure long-term source of financing. Obtaining payments directly for biodiversity conservation is difficult, however. In most cases, water users are the most likely such source, either directly or indirectly. Thus the potential for PES to help conserve biodiversity depends, in a large measure, on the degree to which areas of interest for conservation of water services overlap with areas of interest for conservation of biodiversity. This paper examines the extent of such overlap in the case of highland Guatemala. The results show that this potential varies substantially within the country, with some biodiversity conservation priority areas having very good potential for receiving payments, and others little or none. Overall, about a quarter of all biodiversity conservation priority areas have potential for receiving payments. Thus PES is far from being a silver bullet for biodiversity conservation, but it can make a meaningful contribution to this objective.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 13728.

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Date of creation: 28 Jan 2009
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:13728

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Keywords: payments for environmental services; pes; watershed; biodiversity;

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  1. World Bank, 2004. "Poverty in Guatemala," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15066, October.
  2. Pagiola, Stefano & Colom, Ale & Zhang, Wei, 2007. "Mapping environmental services in Guatemala," MPRA Paper 18748, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Edward Barbier & Bruce Aylward, 1996. "Capturing the pharmaceutical value of biodiversity in a developing country," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 8(2), pages 157-181, September.
  4. Turpie, J.K. & Marais, C. & Blignaut, J.N., 2008. "The working for water programme: Evolution of a payments for ecosystem services mechanism that addresses both poverty and ecosystem service delivery in South Africa," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(4), pages 788-798, May.
  5. Asquith, Nigel M. & Vargas, Maria Teresa & Wunder, Sven, 2008. "Selling two environmental services: In-kind payments for bird habitat and watershed protection in Los Negros, Bolivia," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(4), pages 675-684, May.
  6. Bennett, Michael T., 2008. "China's sloping land conversion program: Institutional innovation or business as usual?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(4), pages 699-711, May.
  7. repec:wbk:wboper:13405 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Engel, Stefanie & Pagiola, Stefano & Wunder, Sven, 2008. "Designing payments for environmental services in theory and practice: An overview of the issues," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(4), pages 663-674, May.
  9. Simpson, R David & Sedjo, Roger A & Reid, John W, 1996. "Valuing Biodiversity for Use in Pharmaceutical Research," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(1), pages 163-85, February.
  10. Pagiola, Stefano, 2008. "Payments for environmental services in Costa Rica," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(4), pages 712-724, May.
  11. Muñoz-Piña, Carlos & Guevara, Alejandro & Torres, Juan Manuel & Braña, Josefina, 2008. "Paying for the hydrological services of Mexico's forests: Analysis, negotiations and results," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(4), pages 725-736, May.
  12. Wunder, Sven & Albán, Montserrat, 2008. "Decentralized payments for environmental services: The cases of Pimampiro and PROFAFOR in Ecuador," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(4), pages 685-698, May.
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