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Permanence of PES and the role of social context in the Regional Integrated Silvo-pastoral Ecosystem Management Project in Costa Rica

Sebastian Rasch, Tobias Wünscher, Francisco Casasola, Muhammad Ibrahim and Hugo Storm

Ecological Economics, 2021, vol. 185, issue C

Abstract: We present rare, empirical evidence on the permanence of land use changes induced by a payments for ecosystem services (PES) program. A follow-up study was conducted a decade after the end of the Regional Integrated Silvo-pastoral Ecosystem Management Project (RISEMP) in Costa Rica. Econometric analysis found that silvo-pastoral practices persisted in the long term and are not reverted. On average there is also no meaningful intensification of practices after payments ceased. However, there is some heterogeneity on the individual level. We find that farms that increase adoption after the end of the project are farms with slower adoption during the project while some farms that decrease adoption are intense adopters. This indicates a pattern of convergence in the long run. Additionally, we challenge the assumption that payments are mono-causally inducing land use change by investigating non-monetary factors associated practice adoption. We find that not only PES explains adoption of silvo-pastoral practices. While it is challenging to establish clear casual linkages, we find that adoption is associated with the number of social ties to other farmers as well as negatively correlated to the exposure to traditional production paradigms measured as membership, as well as peer membership, in producer organisations.

Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2021.107027

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