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Taking stock: A comparative analysis of payments for environmental services programs in developed and developing countries

  • Wunder, Sven
  • Engel, Stefanie
  • Pagiola, Stefano

Payments for environmental services (PES) are an innovative approach to conservation that has been applied increasingly often in both developed and developing countries. To date, however, few efforts have been made to systematically compare PES experiences. Drawing on the wealth of case studies in this Special Issue, we synthesize the information presented, according to case characteristics with respect to design, costs, environmental effectiveness, and other outcomes. PES programs often differ substantially one from the other. Some of the differences reflect adaptation of the basic concept to very different ecological, socioeconomic, or institutional conditions; others reflect poor design, due either to mistakes or to the need to accommodate political pressures. We find significant differences between user-financed PES programs, in which funding comes from the users of the ES being provided, and government-financed programs, in which funding comes from a third party. The user-financed programs in our sample were better targeted, more closely tailored to local conditions and needs, had better monitoring and a greater willingness to enforce conditionality, and had far fewer confounding side objectives than government-financed programs. We finish by outlining some perspectives on how both user- and government-financed PES programs could be made more effective and cost-efficient.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

Volume (Year): 65 (2008)
Issue (Month): 4 (May)
Pages: 834-852

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:65:y:2008:i:4:p:834-852
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

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  1. 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.
  2. Holden, Stein & Barrett, Christopher B. & Hagos, Fitsum, 2006. "Food-for-work for poverty reduction and the promotion of sustainable land use: can it work?," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(01), pages 15-38, February.
  3. Frost, Peter G.H. & Bond, Ivan, 2008. "The CAMPFIRE programme in Zimbabwe: Payments for wildlife services," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(4), pages 776-787, May.
  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.
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  6. Baylis, Kathy & Peplow, Stephen & Rausser, Gordon & Simon, Leo, 2008. "Agri-environmental policies in the EU and United States: A comparison," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(4), pages 753-764, May.
  7. Paul J. Ferraro & R. David Simpson, 2002. "The Cost-Effectiveness of Conservation Payments," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 78(3), pages 339-353.
  8. Pagiola, Stefano & Ramirez, Elias & Gobbi, Jose & de Haan, Cees & Ibrahim, Muhammad & Murgueitio, Enrique & Ruiz, Juan Pablo, 2007. "Paying for the environmental services of silvopastoral practices in Nicaragua," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 374-385, December.
  9. Ferraro, Paul J., 2008. "Asymmetric information and contract design for payments for environmental services," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(4), pages 810-821, May.
  10. Pagiola, Stefano & Zhang, Wei & Colom, Ale, 2008. "Assessing the Potential for Payments for Watershed Services to Reduce Poverty in Guatemala," 2008 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2008, Orlando, Florida 42932, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  11. Grieg-Gran, Maryanne & Porras, Ina & Wunder, Sven, 2005. "How can market mechanisms for forest environmental services help the poor? Preliminary lessons from Latin America," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(9), pages 1511-1527, September.
  12. Cacho, Oscar J. & Marshall, Graham R. & Milne, Mary, 2005. "Transaction and abatement costs of carbon-sink projects in developing countries," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(05), pages 597-614, October.
  13. Wunder, Sven, 2008. "Payments for environmental services and the poor: concepts and preliminary evidence," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(03), pages 279-297, June.
  14. Pagiola, Stefano & Arcenas, Agustin & Platais, Gunars, 2005. "Can Payments for Environmental Services Help Reduce Poverty? An Exploration of the Issues and the Evidence to Date from Latin America," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 237-253, February.
  15. Claassen, Roger & Cattaneo, Andrea & Johansson, Robert, 2008. "Cost-effective design of agri-environmental payment programs: U.S. experience in theory and practice," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(4), pages 737-752, May.
  16. Chomitz, Kenneth M & Kumari, Kanta, 1998. "The Domestic Benefits of Tropical Forests: A Critical Review," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 13(1), pages 13-35, February.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. Kosoy, Nicolas & Martinez-Tuna, Miguel & Muradian, Roldan & Martinez-Alier, Joan, 2007. "Payments for environmental services in watersheds: Insights from a comparative study of three cases in Central America," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2-3), pages 446-455, March.
  20. Engel, Stefanie & Palmer, Charles, 2008. "Payments for environmental services as an alternative to logging under weak property rights: The case of Indonesia," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(4), pages 799-809, May.
  21. Wünscher, Tobias & Engel, Stefanie & Wunder, Sven, 2008. "Spatial targeting of payments for environmental services: A tool for boosting conservation benefits," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(4), pages 822-833, May.
  22. JunJie Wu, 2000. "Slippage Effects of the Conservation Reserve Program," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 82(4), pages 979-992.
  23. 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.
  24. Kerr, John, 2002. "Watershed Development, Environmental Services, and Poverty Alleviation in India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(8), pages 1387-1400, August.
  25. Dobbs, Thomas L. & Pretty, Jules, 2008. "Case study of agri-environmental payments: The United Kingdom," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(4), pages 765-775, May.
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