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Policy lessons from spatiotemporal enrollment patterns of payment for ecosystem service programs in Argentina

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... Thus, the age structure of the fishing population should be investigated before policy implementation. Second, land or parcels size have obvious influence on respondents' enrollment in PES projects in several works (Núñez-Regueiro et al. 2020). We found fishpond area has a significantly negative impact, which is confirmed in the survey from different towns. ...
... Our analysis also shows obvious spatial heterogeneity in respondents' choice preference, similar to the studies of Glenk et al. (2020), Núñez-Regueiro et al. (2020 and Khan et al. (2018). In our study, the location of the fishponds in the core, buffer and experimental zones of the NLNR influences fishermen's choice preference. ...
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Lake regions face a tradeoff between water environmental conservation and social development. Although lake conservation projects along with eco-compensation policies are considered the solutions to this problem, it is often controversial and unsustainable. Therefore, it is essential to understand the key stakeholders’ willingness to participate in lake conservation projects under the different compensation schemes. In this work, we conducted a choice experiment to estimate fishermen’s willingness and preference for the returning fishponds to lake (RFTL) project in the Nansi Lake Nature Reserve (NLNR). Socioeconomic, perception and spatial factors are employed to analyze the preference heterogeneity of fishermen. We employed conditional logit, mixed logit and latent class models to estimates the parameters of factor variables considering the heterogeneous preferences and choice randomness across respondents. The results indicate that on average, fishermen are unwilling to change the status quo and are most concerned about the subsidy amount and contract duration in compensation contracts. However, there is obvious spatial heterogeneity in fishermen’s choice preference, mainly manifested in their habitation distance to a town and fishpond location in different zones of the NLNR. Specifically, perceptions of supply and demand for water yield and water quality services significantly influence fishermen’s choice, but they have opposite effects. Moreover, we estimated marginal willingness to accept (MWTA) of attributes in compensation contract and measured compensating surplus (CS) to compare different eco-compensation policy scenarios. Our results contribute to designing targeted payment policies, and promote the effective implementation of lake conservation projects and regional sustainable development.
... Adverse selection has undermined the effectiveness of Argentina's PES program, with lands with high conservation value being enrolled for short durations while lands with low conservation value are enrolled for longer periods of time (Núñez-Regueiro et al., 2019). Existing research suggests that absentee landowners are less likely to enroll in PES, only small parcels are enrolled in areas with high agricultural potential, and that landowners are more likely to enroll land for an extended period of time if they are permitted to engage in land use activities that generate income (Núñez-Regueiro et al., 2020). ...
... Respondents' recognition of how zone restricted their available land use options was also reflected in their choice of PES programs or whether to enroll in PES. Consistent with prior findings, respondents preferred higher payments, shorter contract lengths, and PES programs that permitted silvopasture (Christensen et al., 2011;Balderas Torres et al., 2013;Drechsler et al., 2017;Kreye et al., 2017b;Núñez-Regueiro et al., 2020). Respondents were least likely to enroll in a PES program that required them to engage in sustainable timber harvesting. ...
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To effectively conserve forests and the ecosystem services they provide, mechanisms are needed to promote conservation on private lands that reduce forest fragmentation, secure lands with high conservation value, and enhance landscape connectivity. Incentive-based programs like payments for ecosystem services (PES) are important policy tools for attaining conservation on private lands. In 2019, we conducted 81 in-person surveys with private forestland owners, whose properties are located on the border of protected areas and in corridors connecting protected areas in Argentina's Chaco forest. We examined landowners' preferences for alternative conservation incentives, how Argentina's current PES program could be altered to increase landowner enrollment, and the amount of compensation landowners require to enroll in PES. We found that knowledge of Argentina's PES program, motivations for forest ownership, attitudes toward forest conservation policy, and property characteristics influenced landowners' preferences for conservation program design. Although indigenous communities preferred conservation easements, other private landowners were more likely to choose a PES program. Research participants preferred PES programs with shorter contract lengths or that permitted them to engage in silvopasture. The payments research participants required to engage in land uses currently authorized under Argentina's PES program exceed current PES funding. Relying solely on PES to engage landowners in conservation may result in lost opportunities to conserve forest on private lands.
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Strong trade-offs between agriculture and the environment occur in deforestation frontiers, particularly in the world’s rapidly disappearing tropical and subtropical dry forests. Pathways to mitigate these trade-offs are often unclear, as well as how deforestation or different policies alter the option space of available pathways. Using a spatial optimization framework based on linear programming, we developed a landscape-scale possibility frontier describing trade-offs between agricultural profit, biodiversity, and carbon stock for the Argentinean Dry Chaco, a global deforestation hotspot. We use this framework to assess how current land-use zoning, as well as past and future land-use-trajectories, alter the option space to minimize trade-offs between biodiversity, carbon, and agriculture. Our analyses yield four major insights. First, we found substantial co-benefits between biodiversity and carbon, yet strong trade-offs of both with agriculture. Second, development according to the current zoning could lead to highly suboptimal socio-ecological outcomes, and our analysis pinpoints how this zoning could be improved. Third, high landscape-scale multifunctionality can be achieved using different land-use strategies, but maintaining >40% of forest is essential in all of them, and silvopastoral systems appear to be central for achieving high overall multifunctionality. Finally, our results suggest the window of opportunity is closing rapidly: recent land-use changes since 2000 have rapidly moved the Chaco within the options space, with forest extent declining towards critical thresholds for maintaining balanced, multifunctional landscapes. Our results emphasize that the time for sustainability planning in the Chaco is now. More broadly, we show how multi-criteria optimization can describe dynamic trade-offs between agriculture and the environment at landscape and regional scales. This can help to identify land-system tipping points that, once crossed, would inhibit more sustainable futures, and policies to avoid such potential traps.
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Past success Payments for Environmental Services (PES) schemes offer an economic instrument to support the transition towards a green economy. They are based on the legal and monetary recognition of the environmental services that forests offer — such as carbon sequestration, watershed protection or biodiversity conservation — and typically involve 'service users', such as governments, nongovernmental organisations or the private sector, paying forest owners, or 'service providers', to manage their forests sustainably. These payments not only help protect environmental services but also help to increase the financial viability of sustainable forest activities, making them more competitive against other land uses. There is increasing recognition of the trade-offs involved in market-based mechanisms for environmental and poverty reduction objectives. In Costa Rica, the national PES programme (PSA in Spanish) is not explicitly focused on poverty reduction but it does have a legal obligation to support small-and medium-scale forest owners, and for several years has tried several policies to improve its social impacts. Costa Rica has shown how a small developing country can grab the bull of environmental degradation by the horns, and reverse one of the highest deforestation rates in Latin America to become the poster child of environment success. Key to its achievement has been the country's payments for environmental services (PES) programme, which began in 1997 and which many countries are now looking to learn from, especially as water markets and schemes to reward forest conservation and reduced deforestation (REDD+) grow. Within Costa Rica too, there is a need to first reflect on how the contexts for, and challenges facing, PES have changed; and continue building a robust programme that can ensure the coming decade is as successful as the past one.
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Payments for environmental services (PES) are popular despite little empirical evidence of their effectiveness. We estimate the impact of PES on forest cover in a region known for exemplary implementation of one of the best-known and longest-lived PES programs. Our evaluation design combines sampling that incorporates prematching, data from remote sensing and household surveys, and empirical methods that include partial identification with weak assumptions, difference-in-differences matching estimators, and tests of sensitivity to unobservable heterogeneity. PES in our study site increased participating farm forest cover by about 11% to 17% of the mean area under PES contract over eight years.
Article
Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) programs are increasingly emphasized to address challenges of conserving forests. However, concerns remain regarding the ability of PES programs to ensure long-term conservation of threatened lands. Evaluation of large-scale PES programs, including the spatial and temporal patterns of enrollment, is scarce, especially for programs that aim to protect forest from severe threats such as expansion of industrial agriculture. Using information on PES enrollment across 252,319 km2 in the Argentine Chaco, we examined both the duration for which lands are enrolled in PES and their suitability for agriculture. Specifically, we examined whether the PES program has resulted in adverse selection not only in space but also in time. We built spatially explicit generalized linear models using information on participants' length of contract and the potential of their land for agricultural use. We found the PES program enrolled land in areas with high agricultural potential, but enrollment of these lands occurred for shorter time periods than lands with lower levels of threat from deforestation. Consequently, adverse selection occurred over time but not in space. Our work demonstrates the importance of evaluating both temporal and spatial dimensions of adverse selection in PES for informing policy.
Article
Land use zoning has been proposed as an instrument to steer sustainable land use and reduce deforestation. Its effectiveness is a growing concern among researchers and decision makers. Nowadays, the dry forests of the Argentine Chaco are a global hotspot of deforestation, where a zoning policy has been established through the enactment of a National Forest Law. The law imposed on the provinces the obligation to define land use zones in their native forests. Ten years after the enforcement of the National Forest Law, we assessed the effectiveness of the zoning policy of Santiago del Estero, one of Argentina’s provinces with higher deforestation rates. For this, we combined the provincial forest zoning with the extent of forest cover and a plot level land transformation geodatabase. The deforested area halved during the five-year period after the enactment of the law, decreasing from 910 103 ha in 2003-2008 (i.e. before the law) to 450 103 ha in 2009-2014. Most of this forest cover loss (257 103 ha) occurred in areas classified under categories where deforestation was forbidden. After the enactment of the Law, annual deforestation rates decreased mostly in areas that allowed deforestation, slightly decreased in areas where deforestation was forbidden and increased in areas where a certain level of deforestation was allowed, although above that level. Despite the reductions in deforestation rates, our results suggest that the zoning policy in Santiago del Estero was not effective enough, since deforestation occurred in forbidden areas and generally surpassed the level of deforestation permitted. Alternative coercive mechanisms (e.g. more severe penalties for offenders) and greater efforts to detect illegal clearings are needed to enhance the effectiveness of the Forest Law.
Article
The Chaco Salteño in Argentina is part of the Dry Chaco ecoregion, the largest neotropical dry forest in the world, and represents an important hotspot for deforestation and natural habitat loss due to agricultural expansion. The purpose of this article is: i) to assess systematically the role of agricultural expansion, intensification and demographics on the loss of natural habitat and ii) to understand how institutional factors contribute to direct the impact of agricultural intensification towards land sparing or Jevons paradox. We use multivariate statistical methods to assess the effect of important institutional changes, including the promulgation of the Forest Law in the Province of Salta and the titling of communal lands to Indigenous Peoples (IPs), on the loss of natural forests, shrublands and grasslands in the Chaco Salteño. Our results show that the approval of the Forest Law in Salta has been ineffective at slowing down the loss of natural habitat and is associated with the emergence of Jevons paradox via the increase in agricultural productivity. Moreover, this new institutional context appears to have increased the pressures on IPs land and encouraged preventive clearing on these lands. Finally, we detect the decreasing importance of livestock heads as drivers of natural habitat loss.
Article
We evaluated a program of payments for ecosystem services in Uganda that offered forest-owning households annual payments of 70,000 Ugandan shillings per hectare if they conserved their forest. The program was implemented as a randomized controlled trial in 121 villages, 60 of which received the program for 2 years. The primary outcome was the change in land area covered by trees, measured by classifying high-resolution satellite imagery. We found that tree cover declined by 4.2% during the study period in treatment villages, compared to 9.1% in control villages. We found no evidence that enrollees shifted their deforestation to nearby land. We valued the delayed carbon dioxide emissions and found that this program benefit is 2.4 times as large as the program costs.
Article
Theories of frontier expansion in the last four decades have been mostly shaped by studies of state-driven smallholder colonization. Modern-day agricultural frontiers, however, are increasingly driven by capitalized corporate agriculture operating with little direct government intervention. The expansion of contemporary frontiers has been explained by the existence of spatially heterogeneous “abnormal” rents, which can be caused by cheap land and labor, technological innovation, lack of regulations, and a variety of other incentives. Here, we argue that understanding the dynamics of these frontiers requires considering the differential ability of actors to capture such rents, which depends on their access to production factors and their information, preferences, and agency. We propose a new conceptual framework drawing on neo-classical economics and political economy, which we apply to the South American Gran Chaco, a hotspot of deforestation for soy and cattle production. We divide the region into a set of distinct frontiers based on satellite data, field interviews, and expert knowledge, to review the drivers and actors of agricultural expansion in these frontiers. We show that frontier expansion in the Chaco responded to the rents created by new agricultural technologies, infrastructure, and rising producer prices, but that the frontier dynamics were strongly influenced by actors’ ability to capture or influence these rents. Our findings thus highlight that understanding contemporary commodity frontiers requires analyzing the novel ways by which the agency of particular groups of actors shapes land-use outcomes.
Article
South America’s tropical dry forests and savannas are under increasing pressure from agricultural expansion. Cattle ranching and soybean production both drive these forest losses, but their relative importance remains unclear. Also unclear is how soybean expansion elsewhere affects deforestation via pushing cattle ranching to deforestation frontiers. To assess these questions, we focused on the Chaco, a 110 million ha ecoregion extending into Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay, with about 8 million ha of deforestation in 2000–2012. We used panelregressions at the district level to quantify the role of soybean expansion in driving these forest losses using awide range of environmental and socio-economic control variables. Our models suggest that soybean production was a direct driver of deforestation in the Argentine Chaco only (0.08 ha new soybean area per ha forest lost), whereas cattle ranching was significantly associated with deforestation in all three countries (0.02 additional cattle per hectare forest loss). However, our models also suggested Argentine soybean cultivation may indirectly be linked to deforestation in the Bolivian and Paraguayan Chaco. We furthermore found substantial time-delayed effects in the relationship of soybean expansion in Argentina and Paraguay (i.e., soybean expansion in one year resulted in deforestation several years later) and deforestation in the Chaco, further suggesting that possible displacement effects within and between Chaco countries may at least partly drive forest loss. Altogether, our study showed that deforestation in the Chaco appears to be mainly driven by the globally surging demand for soybean, although regionally other proximate drivers are sometimes important. Steering agricultural production in the Chaco and other tropical dry forests onto sustainable pathways will thus require policies that consider these scale effects and that account for the regional variation in deforestation drivers within and across countries.
Article
We adopt a theory-based approach to synthesize research on the effectiveness of payments for environmental services in achieving environmental objectives and socio-economic co-benefits in varying contexts. Our theory of change builds on established conceptual models of impact pathways and highlights the role of (1) contextual dimensions (e.g., political, institutional, and socio-economic conditions, spatial heterogeneity in environmental service values and provision costs, and interactions with pre-existing policies), and (2) scheme design (e.g., payment type and level, contract length, targeting, and differentiation of payments) in determining environmental and socio-economic outcomes. To shed light on the overall effectiveness of payment schemes, and its determinants, we review counterfactual-based empirical evaluations, comparative analyses of case-studies, and meta-analyses. Our review suggests that program effectiveness often lags behind the expectations of early theorists. However, we also find that theory has advanced sufficiently to identify common reasons for why payment schemes fail or succeed. Moreover, payment schemes are often rolled out along with other policy instruments in so-called policy mixes. Advances in theory and evaluation research are needed to improve our understanding of how such policy mixes interact with the targeted social-ecological systems.
Article
Payments for environmental services (PES) have become a popular approach to address environmental degradation. However, evidence on its effectiveness is scarce and rather mixed. PES is not a panacea, but there are many cases where PES can be a promising tool. Yet, poor PES design translates into poor performance of the instrument. PES design is a complex task; the devil is in the detail of a number of PES design features. The purpose of this paper is to provide guidance in dealing with this complexity through a comprehensive review of PES design that is accessible to both academics and practitioners. Practitioner guidelines on deciding whether PES is the best approach and for selecting among alternative design features are presented. PES design has to start from a careful understanding of the specific ecological and socio-economic context. We now know a lot about which design features are best suited to which context. It is time to put these insights into practice.
Article
Payments to compensate land owners for land use measures which are beneficial to biodiversity conservation but costly to them have become a prominent policy instrument. A key question in the design of such payment schemes is for how long the land owners shall commit themselves to carry out biodiversity-enhancing land use measures, i.e. the length of contracts. From an ecological perspective, longer contracts seem better as they ensure that an area stays a suitable habitat for a longer time. However, with longer contracts land owners are likely to demand a higher annual compensation payment if they give up for a longer time their right to manage their land in a way they prefer. We analyse with a conceptual ecological-economic model how the cost-effectiveness of short versus long contract lengths depends on different ecological and economic parameters. We demonstrate the practical relevance of the model by applying it to the case of butterfly conservation in a region in Germany. Our results suggest that for the case study a 5-year contract is more cost-effective than a 10-year contract. Overall, we find that when deciding about the contract length economic parameters (for example the budget size where high budgets favour long contract lengths) and ecological parameters (for example species colonisation rates where high rates favour short contract lengths) need to be considered.
Article
In semiarid regions, livestock is concentrated around water sources generating a piosphere pattern (gradients of woody vegetation degradation with increasing proximity to water). Close to the water source, livestock may affect the composition, structure and regeneration strategies of woody vegetation. We used the proximity from a water source as a proxy of grazing pressure. Our objectives were (1) to compare woody vegetation attributes (richness, diversity, species composition, density and basal area) and ground cover between sites at two distances to a water source: near (higher grazing pressure) and far from the water source (lower grazing pressure), and (2) to quantify and compare cases of spatial association among the columnar cacti Stetsonia coryne (Salm-Dyck) Britton and Rose (Cactaceae), and the dominant tree Bulnesia sarmientoi Lorentz ex Griseb. (Zygophyllaceae). We used a paired design with eight pairs of rectangular plots distributed along a large and representative natural water source. We found lower total species richness, plant density and soil cover near than far from water source, and more cases of spatial associations between the two species studied. Our results show evidence of increased livestock impacts around water sources. However, we found no difference in terms of species composition or basal area at near versus far sites. We conclude that grazing pressure might be changing some attributes of the woody plant community, and that the association of young trees with thorny plants (grazing refuge) could be a regeneration mechanism in this semiarid forest with high grazing pressure.
Code
Tools for performing model selection and model averaging. Automated model selection through subsetting the maximum model, with optional constraints for model inclusion. Model parameter and prediction averaging based on model weights derived from information criteria (AICc and alike) or custom model weighting schemes. [Please do not request the full text - it is an R package. The up-to-date manual is available from CRAN].
Article
This paper draws on research conducted with Aboriginal land managers across Northern Australia to show how and why payments for ecosystem service (PES) schemes should be framed around Indigenous rights to and relationships with their traditional estates. PES schemes offer opportunities to recognize and support Aboriginal communities' land and sea management knowledge and practices, and there is strong evidence that Indigenous communities are seeking to engage with such schemes. We focus on Aboriginal savanna landscape management, particularly traditional burning practices, to extend the ecosystem services framework to recognize Indigenous values and interactions with their lands as a critical service for Indigenous well-being. Drawing on case-study analysis of PES projects negotiated to support Aboriginal fire management programs across Northern Australia, we show how cultural ecosystem services can be applied to represent the active, dynamic and often interdependent relationships inherent in Indigenous human-environment relationships.
Article
As forestlands provide a variety of environmental services, the management of forest resources is a matter of public concern. In the present case of state-owned commercial forests in Finland, legislation requires specific management practices to enhance recreational benefits free of charge to the public. This choice experiment considers Finnish people's valuation of the recreation-oriented management of state-owned commercial forests to evaluate whether the recreational benefits produced justify the related loss of profits from timber sales. We focus on three management attributes: scenic buffer zones along lakes and rivers, habitats for game birds, and the quality of scenery as reflected by the frequency of clear-cut areas along hiking trails. Marginal willingness-to-pay (WTP) effects for the attributes are estimated with random parameters logit models specified in the WTP space, while preference-space models are used to estimate in physical terms the attribute levels that maximize the benefits to the public. Despite regional differences in preferences, people in all parts of Finland valued the current recreation-oriented management of state-owned commercial forests considerably. Nationwide, the aggregate benefits of recreation-enhancing management clearly exceeded the estimated opportunity costs. The most preferred levels of management attributes were slightly above the current levels, suggesting an increase in the provision of recreational services when not considering the associated costs.
Article
Argentina cuenta con varias experiencias de ordenamiento territorial (OT) pero hasta el momento no ha sancionado una ley integral. Uno de los principales antecedentes es el ordenamiento territorial de los bosques nativos (OTBN) a través de la ley 26331, sancionada en 2007. El objetivo de este trabajo fue evaluar las experiencias de zonificación en el marco de esta ley de las provincias de Santiago del Estero, Chaco, Formosa y Salta. Se analizó la aplicación de los 10 criterios de sustentabilidad ambiental contemplados por la ley y se compararon cuantitativamente los mapas de zonificación resultantes del proceso de OTBN en las áreas limítrofes. La interpretación de los criterios de sustentabilidad ambiental ha sido dispar entre provincias debido, en parte, a que la información de base utilizada no tiene el mismo nivel de detalle. Salta y Chaco consideraron mayor detalle en estos criterios mientras que Santiago del Estero y Formosa utilizaron información con un nivel de detalle menor. La comparación de la categorización de bosques entre provincias colindantes muestra que la mayor concordancia en las categorías asignadas se observa en los límites de Santiago del Estero y Chaco (58.3%). El grado de concordancia entre los restantes pares de provincias colindantes resultó considerablemente menor: 24.76% entre Chaco y Salta; 20.65% entre Formosa y Salta; 10.54% entre Chaco y Formosa y 1.28% entre Salta y Santiago del Estero. Los resultados sugieren que las zonificaciones no han resultado consistentes debido al bajo nivel de concordancia en la categorización de sus bosques.
Article
Payments for ecosystem services (PES) received a lot of academic attention in the past years. However, the concept remains loose and many different conservation approaches are published under the ‘PES label’. We reviewed 457 articles obtained in a structured literature search in order to present an overview of the PES literature. This paper (1) illustrates the different analytical perspectives on PES concepts and types, (2) shows the geographic focus of PES research and (3) identifies the major foci of the overall PES research. The paper finally (4) identifies differences and similarities in conservation programs and main research topics between developing and industrialized countries to (5) disclose potentials for research synergies, should research experiences in the two types of countries be exchanged more deliberately. We demonstrate that only few publications describe Coasean PES approaches. The majority of research refers to national governmental payment programs. The overall design of national PES programs in Latin America resembles the design of those in the US and EU considerably. Programs in the US and EU have been in place longer than most of the frequently published Latin American schemes. However the former are hardly considered in the international PES literature as research is usually published under different terminologies.
Article
Soybean expansion, driven by growing global meat demand, has accompanied neotropical deforestation in past decades. A recent decoupling between soybean production and deforestation in Brazil is taken as evidence of efficient deforestation regulation. Here, we assessed the relationships between soybean economy, livestock production and deforestation from 1972 to 2011 in Northern Argentina Dry Chaco. We used Panel Analysis to evaluate the relationship between soybean cultivated and deforested area in different periods and we used high resolution time series analysis of a deforestation hotspot, to explore links between soybean economy, cattle ranching and deforestation. In northern Argentina, 2.7 millions ha were deforested from 1972 to 2011, 56% of which occurred after 2002. The results of the Panel analysis indicate a strong link between soybean expansion and deforestation but with variation among periods mediated by the links between soybean and livestock productions. Deforestation was strongly coupled with soybean expansion during the 1972–1997 and 2002–2011 periods; but was largely decoupled between 1997 and 2002, when strong increments in production were accompanied by low deforestation. The high resolution analysis also indicated contrasting levels of association after and before 1997. The soybean deforestation decoupled periods in Brazil and Argentina shared similarly weak economic incentives for soybean production, rapid technological innovation and preceding high deforestation periods. In the Argentine case, when economic incentives turned positive after a 5-years decoupled period, new government measures were unable to regulate deforestation. Our study suggests that macroeconomic factors can be a much stronger deforestation force compared with domestic legal frameworks. Effectiveness of neotropical deforestation regulation should be carefully monitored and interpreted with caution paying special attention to global economic context for soybean expansion.
Article
Acquisition of land rights has become a primary tool used to protect terrestrial biodiversity. Fixed length contracts are often used when trying to secure conservation benefits on private land in agri-environment schemes and payment for environmental services schemes, but the duration of the conservation contracts used in different programmes varies. To date, very little research has been undertaken to determine the situations in which contracts of differing lengths are optimal or when conservation agencies or groups should use a portfolio of different contract lengths rather than relying on a single type. Using stochastic dynamic programming and related heuristic methods, we investigate how the choice between short or long conservation contracts is affected by uncertainty regarding the future availability of sites and their ecological condition. We also examine the benefits offered by using a portfolio of different contract lengths. Conservation agencies must pay private landowners a premium to secure longer agreements and because of this, shorter contracts are advantageous if sites are likely to remain available for conservation in the future. Long contracts are preferred when future site availability becomes more unlikely. In contrast to uncertainty over site availability, uncertainty over future ecological conditions has little effect on contract selection and only markedly influences the choice between short and long contracts when there is heterogeneity across sites in expected conservation outcomes and future availability of sites is also uncertain. Finally, when future site availability is unlikely, the use of a portfolio of short and long contracts would offer greater conservation gains than using either type in isolation, even though this option is not yet one that is commonly found in conservation practice.
Article
In the 1980s and early 1990s Ecuador witnessed the rise of a powerful indigenous movement, peasants blocked highways and took over government offices. Their demands were focused mostly on land but also on the improvement of rural infrastructure and the recognition of Indian cultural rights. Briefly discusses the ethnic aspects of the indigenous peasant movement in Ecuador. Presents an analysis of the political implications of capitalist agricultural modernization in Chimborazo, the province with the highest proportion of Quichua-speaking population. Argues that land reform and, subsequently, integrated rural development projects unleashed a series of rural conflicts. These conflicts, ranging from the centuries-old struggle for land to a relatively new quest for the control of rural infrastructure, facilitated the development of an indigenous community movement that represented a community alternative to the postreform capitalist order based on a combination of private landownership and state control of the infrastructure.
Article
Economies of size refer to the ability of a farm to lower costs of production by increasing production. Agriculture production displays an L-shaped average cost curve where costs are lower initially but reach a point where no further gains are achieved. Spreading fixed costs, bulk purchases, and marketing power are cited as reasons for economies of size. Labor-reducing technologies may be the primary reason. Most studies do not include the external costs from prophylactic antibiotic use, impact on rural communities, and environmental damage associated with large-scale production. These can contribute to the economies of size.
Article
In Latin America indigenous politics has been branded as “ethnic politics.” Its activism is interpreted as a quest to make cultural rights prevail. Yet, what if “culture” is insufficient, even an inadequate notion, to think the challenge that indigenous politics represents? Drawing inspiration from recent political events in Peru—and to a lesser extent in Ecuador and Bolivia—where the indigenous–popular movement has conjured sentient entities (mountains, water, and soil—what we call “nature”) into the public political arena, the argument in this essay is threefold. First, indigeneity, as a historical formation, exceeds the notion of politics as usual, that is, an arena populated by rational human beings disputing the power to represent others vis-à-vis the state. Second, indigeneity's current political emergence—in oppositional antimining movements in Peru and Ecuador, but also in celebratory events in Bolivia—challenges the separation of nature and culture that underpins the prevalent notion of politics and its according social contract. Third, beyond “ethnic politics” current indigenous movements, propose a different political practice, plural not because of its enactment by bodies marked by gender, race, ethnicity or sexuality (as multiculturalism would have it), but because they conjure nonhumans as actors in the political arena.
Article
Payments for environmental services (PES) are an innovative approach to conservation that has been applied increasingly often in both developed and developing countries. To date, however, few efforts have been made to systematically compare PES experiences. Drawing on the wealth of case studies in this Special Issue, we synthesize the information presented, according to case characteristics with respect to design, costs, environmental effectiveness, and other outcomes. PES programs often differ substantially one from the other. Some of the differences reflect adaptation of the basic concept to very different ecological, socioeconomic, or institutional conditions; others reflect poor design, due either to mistakes or to the need to accommodate political pressures. We find significant differences between user-financed PES programs, in which funding comes from the users of the ES being provided, and government-financed programs, in which funding comes from a third party. The user-financed programs in our sample were better targeted, more closely tailored to local conditions and needs, had better monitoring and a greater willingness to enforce conditionality, and had far fewer confounding side objectives than government-financed programs. We finish by outlining some perspectives on how both user- and government-financed PES programs could be made more effective and cost-efficient. This is the draft of the paper published in Ecological Economics 65(4):834-852. Please cite the Ecological Economics version.