Are Payments for Ecosystems Services (PES) alone effective in halting conversion of forests into agricultural land?

Presented by
Ter Yang Goh
University Of East Anglia

Ter Yang Goh, Douglas Yu, Alberto Yanosky, Nicole Gross Camp

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image src=”” _builder_version=”3.12.2″ /][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.12.2″]

Introduction: What conservation problem or question does your study address?

While PES have been championed as being more effective than earlier people-oriented strategies in balancing both conservation and human development needs, its current practice has been criticised for lacking empirical studies to evaluate its effectiveness. This study evaluates PES implementation in a village in Paraguay by using a statistical model to examine the effects of various factors, in addition to PES, on the land area used for agriculture.

Methods: What were the main research methods you used?

To ascertain agricultural land use change since the implementation of PES, the agricultural land area per household will be determined by analysing Landsat images at two points in time: 1) just prior to PES implementation in 2009 and 2) 5th year of PES implementation in 2014. Agriculture land area change per household will then be used as the response variable in the construction of a linear model, which will test the following factors for any possible effects on agricultural land area change: amount of PES received, type of technical assistance received, no. of people per household, mean age per household and aspiration indicator. The aspiration indicator reflects household desire to improve material standard of living and will be generated by a questionnaire with a Likert response format. Information regarding the other factors will be obtained either from records kept by PES managers and/or interviews with households.

Results: What are your most important results?

This study is still ongoing and is expected to finish in July this year. The linear model will show whether PES amount significantly affects agricultural land area change and also whether other factors have any significant effects too.

Discussion: What are your important discussion points and what is the relevance of your results to conservation (if any)?

This study will contribute empirical data to the debate on whether PES alone is sufficient to modify human behaviour to achieve conservation outcomes. It will suggest whether current PES implementation in the village should be retained, supplemented or replaced with other intervention measures in order to halt forest clearance for agriculture.