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Direct conservation payments in the Brazilian Amazon: Scope and equity implications

  • Börner, Jan
  • Wunder, Sven
  • Wertz-Kanounnikoff, Sheila
  • Tito, Marcos Rügnitz
  • Pereira, Ligia
  • Nascimento, Nathalia
Registered author(s):

    This article looks into the scope and equity implications of applying payments for environmental services (PES) as a REDD implementation mechanism in the Brazilian Amazon. We establish a set of economic and institutional preconditions for PES to become a feasible and cost-effective conservation mechanism. We proceed with a macro-scale spatial analysis and overlay of opportunity costs, deforestation patterns, carbon services, and land tenure, in order to assess where these conditions hold. We then screen how the benefits of potential PES schemes might be distributed across different socioeconomic groups of service providers in different land tenure categories. Our economic-quantitative analysis, though sensitive to documented assumptions, suggests that under current carbon prices the economic preconditions are in place to pay for avoided deforestation in over half of threatened forests over the next decade. Unfortunately, the same optimism does not apply to institutional preconditions. Land grabbing, insecure tenure, overlapping claims, and lacking information on private tenure constitute real medium-term impediments to PES. If payments were to accrue to current landholders regardless of current tenure insecurities, large landowners who account for about 80% of all deforestation would reap the highest benefits, though per-capita benefits other tenure categories are also high. Schemes that closely align payments with opportunity costs are preferable for cost-effectiveness, and not necessarily more inequitable in outcomes. Essentially, PES systems cannot substitute command-and-control measures: the former depend on the latter for basic governance systems to secure effective rights of exclusion, which land stewards essentially need in order to become reliable service providers.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6VDY-4XVPFRJ-2/2/0fcb3724e7eb28f4ed55d9db2967dc97
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

    Volume (Year): 69 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 6 (April)
    Pages: 1272-1282

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:69:y:2010:i:6:p:1272-1282
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

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    1. Pagiola, Stefano, 2006. "Payments for Environmental Services in Costa Rica," MPRA Paper 2010, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Dutschke, Michael & Schlamadinger, Bernhard, 2003. "Practical Issues Concerning Temporary Carbon Credits in the CDM," HWWA Discussion Papers 227, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWA).
    3. Vosti, Stephen A. & Witcover, Julie & Carpentier, Chantal Line, 2002. "Agricultural intensification by smallholders in the Western Brazilian Amazon: from deforestation to sustainable land use," Research reports 130, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. Vatn, Arild, 2010. "An institutional analysis of payments for environmental services," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(6), pages 1245-1252, April.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Ferraro, Paul J., 2008. "Asymmetric information and contract design for payments for environmental services," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(4), pages 810-821, May.
    8. Wunder, Sven & Engel, Stefanie & Pagiola, Stefano, 2008. "Taking stock: A comparative analysis of payments for environmental services programs in developed and developing countries," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(4), pages 834-852, May.
    9. Borner, Jan & Mendoza, Arisbe & Vosti, Stephen A., 2007. "Ecosystem services, agriculture, and rural poverty in the Eastern Brazilian Amazon: Interrelationships and policy prescriptions," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 356-373, December.
    10. Sergio Margulis, 2004. "Causes of Deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15060.
    11. Pascual, Unai & Muradian, Roldan & Rodríguez, Luis C. & Duraiappah, Anantha, 2010. "Exploring the links between equity and efficiency in payments for environmental services: A conceptual approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(6), pages 1237-1244, April.
    12. Norgaard, Richard B., 2010. "Ecosystem services: From eye-opening metaphor to complexity blinder," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(6), pages 1219-1227, April.
    13. Muradian, Roldan & Corbera, Esteve & Pascual, Unai & Kosoy, Nicolás & May, Peter H., 2010. "Reconciling theory and practice: An alternative conceptual framework for understanding payments for environmental services," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(6), pages 1202-1208, April.
    14. 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.
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