Temporary Payments for Ecosystem Services Can ‘Crowd In’ Lab-in-the-field Forest Conservation
Maria Alejandra Velez
Associate Professor, at Universidad de los Andes
Payments for ecosystem services (PES) programs are proliferating globally and sometimes have significant impacts. Unlike protected areas, PES compensate land users, which raises local acceptance of conservation. Yet some worry that if payments are temporary – as is often the case – local acceptance of conservation can be reduced or ‘crowded out’ to be lower after PES than before. We conducted lab-in-the-field experiments with payments to 656 farmers in Colombia who are potential PES participants. We vary payments design (individual versus collective) and removal (partial versus total). We consistently find that conservation is not lower after PES than before, implying ‘crowding in’ relative to controls.
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