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Money growing on trees: A classroom game about payments for ecosystem services and tropical deforestation

Sahan Dissanayake () and Sarah Jacobson ()

The Journal of Economic Education, 2021, vol. 52, issue 3, 192-217

Abstract: Payments for ecosystem services (PES) programs use an incentive-based approach to pursue environmental goals. While they are common policy tools, key concepts determining their efficacy are nuanced and hard to grasp. This article presents a new interactive game that explores the functioning and implications of PES programs. Participants play the role of rural households in a developing country, deciding individually or as groups whether to enter into contracts to refrain from reducing local forests in exchange for payment from a forest-based PES initiative. The game explores topics that include PES programs, climate change, tropical deforestation, cost-effectiveness, additionality, illegal harvest and enforcement, and community resource management. Customizable materials, a detailed reading list, and discussion prompts are provided.

Date: 2021
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Related works:
Working Paper: Money Growing on Trees: A Classroom Game about Payments for Ecosystem Services and Tropical Deforestation (2020) Downloads
Working Paper: Money Growing on Trees: A Classroom Game about Payments for Ecosystem Services and Tropical Deforestation (2019) Downloads
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DOI: 10.1080/00220485.2021.1925183

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