Collaborative payments for ecological services A promising policy tool to reduce deforestation?

Aerial view of the Amazon River near Manus, the capital of the Amazon region in Brazil. CIAT / Neil Palmer

PES payments are often used as a tool to reduce deforestation and deforestation in tropical countries.

Such programs provide cash or in-kind payments to individual landlords or forest users who voluntarily reduce deforestation or increase their forest conservation activities.

According to a CIP study conducted by REDD + on Global Comparison Research, PES programs have a positive, to some extent, impact on forest conservation and rural livelihoods.

The central question arising from this finding is how to design and implement PES programs to achieve maximum results for both forest conservation and rural livelihoods.

One option is to design programs in a way that provides cash or in-kind compensation to a group of forest users, not to users.

When a PES payment is made to a group, not to an individual, it is called a “common PES”. Participants may choose to use this co-payment for local projects or choose to distribute the proceeds to each other.

Common PES has many benefits. You can reduce the cost of implementation because the same PES agreement involves many different forest users, allowing them to register large areas for conservation.

Joint PES is promising when it comes to sponsoring conservation activities such as watershed conservation or biodiversity corridors.

If land is shared by, for example, indigenous communities, a common PES may be necessary.

The problem of free rotation in common PES

However, the main disadvantage of the PES group is that it creates “free driving” problems among the participants in the program. Free movement occurs because the benefits that individuals receive are only partially related to their personal protective functions.

Consider this example. Under the joint PES program, a group of six forest users will be paid $ 24 per hectare. If this fee is evenly distributed, each member will receive only $ 4. However, if one hectare of land was converted to grazing land, everyone could earn $ 10. The deforestation earns $ 6 ($ 10 – $ 4), but each group loses $ 14 ($ 24- $ 10).

Therefore, individuals who want to increase their income make more profit by riding around freely and clearing forests, for example, in this example, it causes other members of the group to lose income from protected areas.

This is the main reason why the tension between group and individual interests is expected to be less effective than joint PES contracts than individual PES contracts.

Increasing the effectiveness, efficiency and equity of common PES

So how can the problem of free riding of common PES programs be reduced and what does their effectiveness, efficiency and fairness mean?

In our most recent article in the magazine, Global Environment, We examine this question. The study explores three different strategies that policymakers can use to reduce freelance. During the experiment, we provided a hypothetical forest management situation for forest users using the same numbers described above.

We then asked the 720 forest users in 24 communities in Para, Brazil, Central Kalimantan (Indonesia) and Ukaali (Peru) to respond to how much they want to conserve or deforest.

The first strategy we tried was to introduce individual monitoring. Individual monitoring, each individual participating in PES is allowed to monitor each other’s deforestation choices. The second strategy was to introduce government sanctions.

Participants were sanctioned if they were monitored by the government (one-third chance of this happening) and were involved in deforestation.

The third and final strategy was to introduce community sanctions. In this case, participants can impose financial sanctions on other members of the group at their own expense without any government intervention.

The main conclusions and lessons from our study are as follows.

  • Effectiveness (reduced deforestation?) Penalties for reducing deforestation were better than promoting individual monitoring. Individual level monitoring did not reduce deforestation at the Brazilian site, which means that PES participants in Brazil have no common interest in land ownership and joint decision-making, compared to Peru and Indonesia. Forest Administration.
  • Eligibility (Has the net income of participants increased?) Individual monitoring and government sanctions increased participants’ incomes because deforestation was reduced and thus group benefits increased. Community sanctions, on the other hand, did not increase participants’ income because they had to pay to punish their peers; The increased group income from protection does not offset the costs of blocking other participants in the agreement.
  • Fairness (Improved income distribution?)In general, income disparities among PES participants were reduced during individual monitoring, but not in the presence of community or government sanctions. The main reason for the lack of positive distribution of sanctions is that sanctions have always targeted more deforested participants. However, PES participants realized that government sanctions were more equitable than community sanctions.

Overall, our study shows that although there are no silver bullets, they can increase the effectiveness, efficiency and fairness of common PES at the same time, but it also highlights the need for good community and local governance to achieve this desired triple.

Deforestation must be adequately targeted in order for the effects of forest conservation, equity and rural poverty reduction to be maximized, and for the PES community to achieve its goals.

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