Payments for environmental services in Costa Rica :conservation and production decisions within the San Juan-La Selva Biological Corridor


Morse, Wayde Cameron.. (2007). Payments for environmental services in Costa Rica :conservation and production decisions within the San Juan-La Selva Biological Corridor. Theses and Dissertations Collection, University of Idaho Library Digital Collections.

Payments for environmental services in Costa Rica :conservation and production decisions within the San Juan-La Selva Biological Corridor
Morse, Wayde Cameron.
Conservation of natural resources--Economic aspects--Costa Rica Incentives in conservation of natural resources--Costa Rica
Natural Resources
Understanding the dynamic nature of human-environment interactions is critical for mitigating the impacts of human induced environmental change. Current research on environmental change has focused on the deterioration of environmental services that ecosystems provide and the subsequent impact on human well-being. The linkages between the influences of land use change and the provision of environmental services is not thoroughly developed. This dissertation develops a model linking social and ecological theories to explain this interaction. This model is applied to Costa Rica's program of payments for environmental service (PES) as a case example. The model has potential for application to land use change studies in general and evaluation of PES programs specifically.;Several issues critical to understanding the efficiency of PES include additionality, baseline conditions, leakage, and equity. These topics have been relatively unexplored with empirical data. Participants and non-participants (N=207) in Costa Rica's PES program within the San Juan-La Selva portion of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor were compared to assess these critical issues. Results indicate that PES for forest protection contributed to a reduction in the deforestation rate and incentives for reforestation have been effective at increasing forest cover. Positive development impacts are due to hiring local labor for PES projects. Recommendations are offered on how to adjust the program to increase ecological and economic efficiency.;In addition to the above research, I was part of an interdisciplinary team of researchers that examined Costa Rica's PES to determine its influence on landowner decisions, carbon services, and forest connectivity in a biological corridor. Landsat images were used to compare landcover changes before and after 1996, and these data were linked to landowner surveys investigating land use decisions. Carbon services provided by secondary forests were examined both above- and belowground. Forest change observations were explained by landowner survey data, indicating that PES positively influenced forest retention and recruitment. Secondary forest carbon storage approached values found in primary forest after 25-30 years of succession, though few landowners retained natural forest regeneration. The Costa Rican experience provides evidence that PES have been effective at providing environmental services within this particular socioeconomic context.
Thesis (Ph. D., Natural Resources)--University of Idaho and Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza, April 2007.
Major Professor:
Steven Hollenhorst, Dietmar Stoian.
Defense Date:
April 2007.
Format Original:
xiii, 245 leaves :ill., maps ;29 cm.

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