Study Shows that Cash Payments Can Promote Forest Conservation

A study published recently in Nature Sustainability found that Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) could induce forest conservation even after the payments stopped.

To conduct the study, lead author Krister Andersson and his colleagues traveled to 54 villages near tropical forests in Bolivia, Indonesia, Peru, Tanzania, and Uganda and conducted a table top scenario game with the local communities. Forest users were asked to make decisions regarding how many trees they would harvest over several variable stages. The players could potentially earn more than a full day’s pay, based on their decisions.

Andersson recognizes that in other situations, paying to encourage a particular behavior can backfire and crowed out value-based reasons for taking the desired action. However, Andersson believes that because forest dependent people are making decisions from an economic perspective and informed by market logic, the potential for crowding out is diminished.

Read more about the study and its results in CU Boulder Today.

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