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Analyzing Farmers’ Perceptions of Ecosystem Services and PES Schemes within Agricultural Landscapes in Mengyin County, China: Transforming Trade-Offs into Synergies

Yajuan Chen (), Qian Zhang (), Wenping Liu () and Zhenrong Yu ()
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Yajuan Chen: College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China
Qian Zhang: College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China
Wenping Liu: College of Horticulture and Forestry Sciences, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, China
Zhenrong Yu: College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China

Sustainability, 2017, vol. 9, issue 8, 1-18

Abstract: Researchers aspire to strike a balance between the production and consumption of ecosystem services (ES) in agriculture for long-term farm sustainability. One approach is to provide payments for ecosystem services (PES) through government programs. Therefore, it is necessary to evaluate ecosystem services and use the evaluated information to determine what policy designs could effectively induce more services in agricultural landscapes. This research uses a theoretical and analytical framework. In this framework, farmers’ perceptions of the obtained ES, importance of ES, design rules of PES programs and management practices of PES programs are identified in Mengyin County by using surveys. The results show: (1) farmers could possibly recognize the limitations of the obtained ES and reduce their demand appropriately; (2) regulating services (e.g., pollination and biological pest control) provision is central to transforming trade-offs into synergies among ecosystem services; (3) farmers should not only attach great importance to the maintenance of soil fertility and health but also to the maintenance of semi-natural habitat, and the adoption of such an attitude could positively affect their behavior to maximize synergies among ES; and (4) farmers are program implementers; if they have a better understanding of the perceptions of ES and PES programs, the theoretical and analytical framework could help farmers, policy-makers and relevant institutions design effective schemes.

Keywords: trade-offs; synergies; regulating services; policy decision; agricultural management practices (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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