How socioeconomic and institutional conditions at the household level shape the environmental effectiveness of governmental PES: China’s Sloping Land Conversion Program
Hannes König and
No jzvqh, SocArXiv from Center for Open Science
As the world's largest Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) program, China’s Sloping Land Conversion Program (SLCP) is designed to combat soil erosion and ongoing land degradation by converting crop land on steep slopes into forests. Operating through an incentive-based approach, the SLCP involved 32 million rural households as the core agents for program implementation. In this paper, we aim to fill a research gap regarding the condition for environmental effectiveness at the household level. In particular, we analyzed how institutional and socio-economic conditions influence rural households to reach the primary environmental goals. Based on a broad literature review, we analyzed relevant conditions based on 59 interviews with SLCP participants at the household level to combine these data with field-observed evaluation of the environmental effects on enrolled plots. Using fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA), our results show that the pathway to environmental success or failure at the household level has been shaped by local institutional and socio-economic conditions in a combinatory manner. As the key components of successful pathways, the combination of household involvement and effective monitoring plays a fundamental role. However, in the absence of certain conditions, the environmental effectiveness of SLCP may be in danger. Based on our result, we discuss the potentials and shortcomings of using short-term governmental PES to realize long-term environmental effects.
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