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Local views and structural determinants of poverty alleviation through payments for environmental services: Bolivian insights


  • Bétrisey, Florence
  • Mager, Christophe
  • Rist, Stephan


Payments for environmental services (PES) are very often considered emblematic of the neoliberal trend in natural resources and ecosystem management. Even if they have been largely criticized as contributing to the commodification of nature, their worldwide application is obvious. The explanation of their diffusion in poor countries and regions can be partially attributed to the fact that PES are promoted as a “win–win” solution, capable of improving sustainable management of natural resources as well as reducing poverty. Inscribed in a liberal conception of poverty, most of the investigations on PES concentrate on the question of access of the poor to PES schemes—as well as to wider markets—on redistribution of benefits and on poor people’s income increase. Studying a Bolivian PES, we show that broadening the foregoing conceptualization of poverty to a more relational understanding allows better taking into account local views and structural determinants of poverty and therefore allows better reporting of the complexity of poverty alleviation implications of such natural resource management initiatives. It is a first and necessary step in designing PES that could increase both natural resource conservation and social justice in marginalized areas.

Suggested Citation

  • Bétrisey, Florence & Mager, Christophe & Rist, Stephan, 2016. "Local views and structural determinants of poverty alleviation through payments for environmental services: Bolivian insights," World Development Perspectives, Elsevier, vol. 1(C), pages 6-11.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wodepe:v:1:y:2016:i:c:p:6-11
    DOI: 10.1016/j.wdp.2016.05.001

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kosoy, Nicolás & Corbera, Esteve, 2010. "Payments for ecosystem services as commodity fetishism," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(6), pages 1228-1236, April.
    2. 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.
    3. Florence Bétrisey & Christophe Mager, 2015. "Les paiements pour services environnementaux de la Fondation Natura Bolivia entre logiques réciprocitaires, redistributives et marchandes," Revue française de socio-Economie, La découverte, vol. 0(1), pages 39-58.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
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