Payments for agrobiodiversity conservation services for sustained on-farm utilization of plant and animal genetic resources
This paper discusses the potential application of Payment for Ecosystem Services-like schemes to tackle market failures associated with the public good characteristics of agrobiodiversity conservation services. So called payments for agrobiodiversity conservation services (PACS) would increase the private benefits from utilizing local plant and animal genetic resources on-farm through voluntary reward mechanisms, so as to sustain their on-farm conservation. Theoretical and applied insights about PACS are discussed and attention drawn to some of the challenges to be overcome in implementing PACS. In particular, these relate to the identification of potential buyers, the complex institutional setting in which PACS might operate and the articulation of a meaningful conservation goal based on a safe minimum standard approach. The latter is urgently needed, so as to ensure that additional agrobiodiversity services are generated. Relative to a fixed pricing approach, PACS schemes that seek to overcome information asymmetries through the use of conservation auctions may be associated with significant efficiency gains. However, potential trade-offs between ecological effectiveness, economic efficiency, and social equity considerations need to be carefully evaluated.
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