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Understanding the impacts of Costa Rica's PES: Are we asking the right questions?

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  • Daniels, Amy E.
  • Bagstad, Kenneth
  • Esposito, Valerie
  • Moulaert, Azur
  • Rodriguez, Carlos Manuel

Abstract

PES is an increasingly mainstream tool for influencing land-use decisions on private land and Costa Rica's experience provides critical insight. We review findings of PES impacts on forest cover, a proxy for forest-based ecosystem services. National studies conclude that PES has not lowered deforestation rates. Yet in northern Costa Rica, there is evidence of additionality for PES-related avoided deforestation. Moreover, sub-national studies of bi-directional forest cover change, along with farm-level interview data and an understanding of ground-based operations, demonstrate that avoided deforestation is an incomplete measure of PES impact. Sub-national case studies suggest PES is associated with agricultural abandonment and net gains in forest cover via forest regeneration and plantation establishment. Explanations include that forest regeneration has always been an accepted PES modality for some regions. Also, early PES cohorts have an implicit spatial correlation with pre-PES incentives focusing exclusively on reforestation. Without understanding de facto PES implementation, it is impossible to appropriately evaluate PES impacts or discern whether PES outcomes--positive or negative--are due to PES design or its implementation. This distinction is critical in refining our understanding of both the utility and limitations of PES and has some practical implications for PES-style REDD initiatives.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniels, Amy E. & Bagstad, Kenneth & Esposito, Valerie & Moulaert, Azur & Rodriguez, Carlos Manuel, 2010. "Understanding the impacts of Costa Rica's PES: Are we asking the right questions?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(11), pages 2116-2126, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:69:y:2010:i:11:p:2116-2126
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sierra, Rodrigo & Russman, Eric, 2006. "On the efficiency of environmental service payments: A forest conservation assessment in the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 131-141, August.
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    3. Locatelli, Bruno & Rojas, Varinia & Salinas, Zenia, 2008. "Impacts of payments for environmental services on local development in northern Costa Rica: A fuzzy multi-criteria analysis," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(5), pages 275-285, April.
    4. 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.
    5. Zbinden, Simon & Lee, David R., 2005. "Paying for Environmental Services: An Analysis of Participation in Costa Rica's PSA Program," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 255-272, February.
    6. Olli Haltia & Kari Keipi, 1997. "Financing Forest Investments in Latin America: The Issue of Incentives," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 25518, Inter-American Development Bank.
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    3. repec:eee:ecoser:v:6:y:2013:i:c:p:16-30 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Farley, Joshua & Schmitt, Abdon & Burke, Matthew & Farr, Marigo, 2015. "Extending market allocation to ecosystem services: Moral and practical implications on a full and unequal planet," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 244-252.
    5. Legrand, Thomas & Froger, Géraldine & Le Coq, Jean-François, 2013. "Institutional performance of Payments for Environmental Services: An analysis of the Costa Rican Program," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 115-123.
    6. repec:eee:ecoser:v:6:y:2013:i:c:p:104-116 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Nordén, Anna, 2014. "Payment Types and Participation in Payment for Ecosystem Services Programs: Stated Preferences of Landowners," Working Papers in Economics 591, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
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    11. Trevisan, A.C.D. & Schmitt-Filho, A.L. & Farley, J. & Fantini, A.C. & Longo, C., 2016. "Farmer perceptions, policy and reforestation in Santa Catarina, Brazil," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 53-63.
    12. Martin Persson, U. & Alpízar, Francisco, 2013. "Conditional Cash Transfers and Payments for Environmental Services—A Conceptual Framework for Explaining and Judging Differences in Outcomes," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 124-137.
    13. Hrabanski, Marie & Bidaud, Cécile & Le Coq, Jean-François & Méral, Philippe, 2013. "Environmental NGOs, policy entrepreneurs of market-based instruments for ecosystem services? A comparison of Costa Rica, Madagascar and France," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 124-132.
    14. Julia Martin-Ortega & Elena Ojea & Camille Roux, 2012. "Payments for Water Ecosystem Services in Latin America: Evidence from Reported Experience," Working Papers 2012-14, BC3.
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    16. repec:eee:ecoser:v:14:y:2015:i:c:p:27-36 is not listed on IDEAS

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