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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Meta-Analysis of Successful Community-Based Payment for Ecosystem Services Programs
by Pritzlaff, Richard G., Ph.D., Prescott College, 2018, 464; 10822273
Abstract (Summary)

Ecosystem services (ES), payments for ecosystem services (PES), and the development of markets for PES are transformational concepts and practices that emerged from environmental and ecological economics. Although the establishment of regulatory markets tends to be “top down,” there is evidence that more locally acceptable and successful markets tend to come from the community, from the “bottom up.” This meta-analysis analyzes 20 recent articles that examined approximately 454 PES cases from around the world, most organized from the bottom up. Cross-case analysis reveals possible best practices. Involving communities in design, decision-making, governance, and operation of local PES programs is found in many cases to contribute to improvements in both ecosystems and community livelihoods. Devolving project administration and ES provision monitoring to the local level is found to lower costs, increase project legitimacy, community equity, and leaves efficiency and fairness tradeoff decision-making in the hands of local communities. This in turn adds to feelings of competence, autonomy, and control. The experience of cooperative learning, skill acquisition, and enhanced individual and community capacities that results from participation in PES program design is found to positively influence social, cultural, economic, and multilevel political dynamics, allowing local sustainable resource use and management to emerge. In several cases, there are indications that this leads to a changed local and regional political economy due to successful value capture of enhanced ES resulting from restored ecosystems, as well as indications of other transformative changes in communities. These findings are used to provide recommendations to a watershed restoration initiative in the borderlands of Southern Arizona.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Thomas, Loren
Commitee: Barnard, Geoff, Norman, Laura, Pulliam, Ron
School: Prescott College
Department: Sustainability Education
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-B 79/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Conservation biology, Environmental economics, Natural Resource Management
Keywords: Community organizing, Conservation, Ecological economics, Ecosystem services, Resource management
Publication Number: 10822273
ISBN: 978-0-438-01011-6
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