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09-06: Role of Property Rights in Realizing Environmental Services
Land-use change and forestry programmes: Evidence on the effects on greenhouse gas emissions and food security
3ie Impact, United States of America
Governing payments for ecosystem services: What can be learned from comparing Chinese and American experiences of restoring degraded cropland?
Michigan State University, United States of America
Payments for ecosystem services (PES) have attracted broad attention as an incentive-based approach to ecosystem service provision. However, there have been inadequate efforts tackling their design and implementation at the program level. By comparing and contrasting the experiences of restoring degraded cropland in China and the U.S., this paper aims to derive some valuable and timely policy insights that can be used by China and other countries in improving the performances of their PES programs in terms of effectiveness, efficiency, and equity. Building on a well-defined concept of environmental governance and the framework for studying social-ecological systems, our analysis will unfold through addressing several specific questions. They include: What are the socioeconomic and environmental backgrounds for one country to launch a large PES program? How was it designed initially and has evolved over time? How has its performance been evaluated and what are the main outcomes? What are the primary challenges to its long-term success? Finally, this study calls for a more practical approach to PES design, implementation, and evaluation that will lead to improved outcomes of ecosystem restoration and biodiversity conservation.
A Comparison of Land Use and Socioeconomic Outcomes from Payment for Watershed Services Programs in Mexico
Colorado State University, United States of America
Payments for watershed services programs (PWS) provide direct financial incentives to landowners with the aim of increasing hydrological benefits. Evidence of the impacts of PWS on conservation and livelihood outcomes remains limited, and even less is known about how specific program design features or contexts influence outcomes. We surveyed over 290 smallholders in three versions of Mexico’s PWS program to test the impacts on conservation and livelihood outcomes. The three programs included: the national PWS program, a local “matching” version of the PWS program, and the latter PWS program combined with integrated water resources management (IWRM). We used matching statistics to control for observable household characteristics and bias-adjusted regression to estimate treatment effects. Households in PWS programs had higher environmental knowledge, received more information, and implemented more conservation actions than households not enrolled. There were small increases in assets owned by households in PWS compared to those not enrolled. Comparing the three PWS programs we found few differences in conservation or livelihood outcomes but significant differences in perceptions of equity in benefit distribution. Overall, our results suggest that PWS is leading to positive to neutral outcomes and that there are important differences in how the programs are perceived by smallholders.
Avoided Deforestation Linked to Environmental Registration in the Brazilian Amazon
1University of Wisconsin, Madison, United States of America; 2Middlebury College, Vermont, United States of America
We quantified the avoided deforestation impacts of environmental land registration in the Brazils Amazonian states of Mato Grosso and Par´a between 2005 and 2014. We find that the program reduced deforestation on registered lands by 62.5%, which generated a total avoided deforestation of 10% across the two states. The impacts of registration varied over time, likely due to multiple policies that use registered boundaries for deforestation monitoring. Our results also reveal that more agriculturally productive lands were more likely to register. We conclude that environmental registration is an important first step to implement avoided deforestation policies targeted towards individual land use decisions.
Conserving the Amazon by Titling Indigenous Communities: Evidence from Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, and Ecuador
1Resources for the Future, United States of America; 2World Resources Institute,United States of America
Over the past two decades, indigenous communities (ICs) have emerged as important players in efforts to reduce forest carbon emissions, in part because recent research has shown that their forests contain considerable carbon and are cleared at rates far lower than forests managed by the state or private sector. Yet ICs tend to be located in remote areas where rates of forest cover change would be quite low regardless of the management regime. Therefore, to determine whether IC management actually contributes to additional avoided carbon emissions, it is important to control for such confounding factors. We analyze the effects on deforestation and forest carbon emissions between 2001 and 2012 of legally recognized IC management in the Amazon regions of Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, and Colombia. We use fine-scale data derived from satellite images to measure deforestation and forest carbon along with propensity score matching and regression to control for pre-existing land characteristics. We find that even controlling for confounding factors, IC management is correlated with substantially lower rates of deforestation and forest carbon emissions in three of our four study countries: Bolivia, Brazil and Colombia. These findings suggest that IC management can, in fact, help combat climate change.