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Title Understanding PES from the ground up: a combined choice experiment and interview approach to understanding PES in Costa Rica
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Abstract

Payments for environmental services (PES) are part of a suite of market-based conservation mechanisms that have gained international attention for their potential to produce ecosystem services across private landholdings. The Costa Rican government, a PES pioneer, provides landowners with remuneration for conserving forest cover on their properties. The efficiency and effectiveness of PES programs have been critiqued, because little is understood about the ability of payments to alter landowner behavior. Unique to the existent literature, we combine data from semi-structured interviews with an economic nonmarket valuation technique, the stated choice experiment, to explore preferences for PES and the impact of PES on decision making in the mixed-use Bellbird Biological Corridor of Costa Rica. The choice experiment reveals farmer preferences for PES, while interviews provide context for the choice experiment results and illuminate the implications for policy. Results show that farmer objections to PES design and program implementation influence willingness to accept payments for conservation efforts. Results further indicate that a significant share of farmers in the study area are resistant to the PES program irrespective of competitive payments offered. We suggest that this overall resistance to the program is a key driver of program inefficiency. We further suggest that potential program improvements require better engagement with multifaceted landowner values, and that PES may not constitute an effective mechanism for engaging small-scale farmers in conservation.

Contributors Karn F. Allen and Gregory Colson
Citation

Allen, K.E. & Colson, G., (2019) Understanding PES from the ground up: a combined choice experiment and interview approach to understanding PES in Costa Rica Sustain Sci 14: 391. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11625-018-00653-w

Key Words Costa Rica, Mixed methods, Nonmarket valuation, Payments for environmental services, Stated choice experiment
File Date 2019
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