Payments for Environmental Services in Watersheds: Insights From a Comparative Study of three Cases in Central America
We have compared three cases of payments for water-related environmental services (PES) in Central America, in terms of socioeconomic background, opportunity costs of forest conservation and stakeholders’ perceptions on the conditions of water resources and other issues. We found that, in general, the foregone benefits from land uses alternative to forest cover are larger than the amount paid, which apparently contradicts the economic foundation of PES schemes. A number of possible explanations are explored. The results also suggest that trade-offs between different environmental and social goals are likely to emerge in PES schemes, posing some doubts on their ability to be multipurpose instruments for environmental improvement and rural development. We also found that PES schemes may work as a conflictresolution instrument, facilitating downstream -upstream problem solving, though at the same time they might introduce changes in social perceptions of property rights.
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- Johnson, Nancy L. & Baltodano, Maria Eugenia, 2004. "The economics of community watershed management: some evidence from Nicaragua," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 57-71, May.
- Kerr, John, 2002. "Watershed Development, Environmental Services, and Poverty Alleviation in India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(8), pages 1387-1400, August.
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- Leopoldo Dimas & Susan Kandel & Deborah Barry & Herman Rosa, 2004. "Compensation for Environmental Services and Rural Communities: Lessons from the Americas," Working Papers wp96, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
- Paul Seabright, 1993. "Managing Local Commons: Theoretical Issues in Incentive Design," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 113-134, Fall.
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