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The Conditions for Functional Mechanisms of Compensation and Reward for Environmental Services

Brent M. Swallow, University of Alberta
Beria Leimona, World Agroforestry Centre
Thomas Yatich, World Agroforestry Centre
Sandra J. Velarde, World Agroforestry Centre

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Mechanisms of compensation and reward for environmental services (CRES) are becoming increasingly contemplated as means for managing human–environment interactions. Most of the functional mechanisms in the tropics have been developed within the last 15 years; many developing countries still have had little experience with functional mechanisms. We consider the conditions that foster the origin and implementation of functional mechanisms. Deductive and inductive approaches are combined. Eight hypotheses are derived from theories of institution and policy change. Five case studies, from Latin America, Africa, and Asia, are then reviewed according to a common framework. The results suggest the following to be important conditions for functional CRES mechanisms: (1) localized scarcity for particular environmental services, (2) influence from international environmental agreements and international organizations, (3) government policies and public attitudes favoring a mixture of regulatory and market-based instruments, and (4) security of individual and group property rights.

Key words

carbon sequestration; ecosystem services; ecotourism; environmental services; institutional change; payments for environmental services; watershed services
Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087