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Title: Payments, ecosystems and development : Payments for Environmental Services (PES) in the Mexican Lacandona rainforest
Author: Izquierdo-Tort, Santiago
ISNI:       0000 0004 7653 2337
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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Payments for Environmental Services (PES) emerged as a popular forest conservation policy across the Global South since the 1990s, first in Latin America and then elsewhere. PES aim to reduce deforestation and degradation by providing payments to participants conditional on forest protection. PES attracted much attention among policy-makers as a potentially cost-effective and efficient conservation alternative, and for their poverty-alleviation prospects when operating among 'poor' forest-dwellers. This rising agenda has been accompanied by significant scholarly efforts to understand PES and their socioenvironmental effects. However, such understandings have overlooked local stakeholder perspectives, and evaluations have mostly examined short-term effects. Thus, less is known about PES' long-term effects, their determinants, and how local stakeholders perceive them. Using a multidisciplinary, multi-level, and dynamic livelihood approach combining geospatial and socioeconomic data collected from 2013-2017, this thesis helps to fill this gap by examining PES' role in the broader livelihood strategies of six communities in the Mexican Lacandona Rainforest. The thesis makes three main contributions to PES literature. Methodologically, it presents a novel lens to understand PES effects, one that brings to the fore the voice of local stakeholders, while paying attention to evolving context and design aspects. Empirically, it shows that participants think about their livelihoods at broader temporal and spatial scales than short-term policies, which allows them to exert some control on the various policies they encounter. This longer-term thinking is reflected in the three analytical chapters in this thesis that examine how people engage with PES among other land uses, how communities devise payment distribution mechanisms, and how people combine multiple policies to pursue various goals. Conceptually, it shows that unless aspects of 'context', 'design', and 'decision-making' are examined simultaneously, PES' manifold, multi-level, and evolving effects will not be sufficiently understood. Overall, the thesis shows that there are real implications for conceptualising rural development policy as an integrated 'policy matrix', instead of individual and self-contained policies.
Supervisor: Rival, Laura ; Sánchez-Ancochea, Diego Sponsor: Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (Conacyt) ; Centro del Cambio Global y la Sustentabilidad en el Sureste ; Oxford Department of International Development
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Payments for Environmental Services (PES) ; Rural development ; Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) ; Ecological economics ; Environmental policy ; Forest conservation policy