Motivation for conservation: Assessing integrated conservation and development projects and payments for environmental services in La Sepultura Biosphere Reserve, Chiapas, Mexico
In order to achieve conservation and development, direct strategies, such as Payments for Environmental Services (PES), have been claimed to be potentially more effective than indirect strategies, like Integrated Conservation and Development Projects (ICDPs). However, PES have raised some concerns on the commodification of nature and the potential replacement of non-chrematistic forms of valuing ecosystems. This article evaluates PES and ICDPs in La Sepultura Biosphere Reserve, Mexico, by analyzing the programs' fund allocation, examining conservation perceptions based on 731 structured interviews and presenting a detailed assessment of ICDP/PES preferences in a community with the longest participation in both schemes. People receiving PES tend to make the future of conservation contingent on monetary and utilitarian reasons, this preference increasing with the number of years receiving PES. These are preferred for their directness and short-term results, although raising concerns about the little social capital they generate. ICDPs are appreciated for arising environmental awareness, being linked with long term conservation, productive capacity and social capital building. Negative perceptions of ICDPs are related to past economic failures. Our results suggest that the real issue is not PES vs. ICDPs but how to combine them to find the proper sequence while reinforcing intrinsic value-based attitudes.
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