The Effectiveness of Payments for Environmental Services in Mexican Community Forests

Abstract : During recent years, Payments for Environmental Services (PES) have become a popular forest conservation instrument and numerous new schemes have emerged around the world, particularly in developing countries. Nevertheless, despite a growing body of academic literature on the topic, little remains known of the effectiveness of PES schemes in reducing deforestation. This dissertation contributes to the literature with a specific focus on the impact of a federal Mexican PES scheme : the PSA-H. We begin with a general introduction retracing the emergence of PES and the current academic debates surrounding the mechanism. Chapter 2 introduces the particularity of the land tenure system in Mexico, the country's environmental policies and the PSA-H scheme and presents the data used in our empirical analysis. Chapter 3 looks at impact evaluation methodologies and how they have been used in the context of forest conservation instruments. We show that PES schemes are very complex treatment and that evaluating their impact using classic impact evaluation techniques requires many adjustments. After discussing these challenges, we propose three empirical essays based on primary and secondary data. Chapter 4 presents a new methodology allowing us to estimate the additionality and leakages of the PSA-H in our study area. Our results provide evidence that leakages can undermine PES effectiveness. Chapter 5 studies how land use can influence the allocation of PES payments within the beneficiary community. Using original survey data, our results show that, despite the attempts of the Mexican authorities to design the PES scheme as compensation for avoiding deforestation, payments have been redistributed as a reward for existing conservation. The deforesting agents receive less remuneration than other recipients, which shows that the polluter-paid principle at the origin of the Coasean notion of PES has not been appropriated. Chapter 6 studies the interactions between the PSA-H and Mexico's Community forest enterprises (CFEs) which are run by the communities and implement sustainable extraction activities in community forests. In a search for a relevant policy mix, it seems crucial to know how they interact with the PSA-H. The results of our empirical analysis show that the PSA-H can help these enterprises to develop and stabilize over time. Finally, in the conclusion, we discuss the implications of the empirical essays for the design of PES schemes and future research.
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Gwenolé Le Velly. The Effectiveness of Payments for Environmental Services in Mexican Community Forests. Economies and finances. Université d'Auvergne - Clermont-Ferrand I, 2015. English. ⟨NNT : 2015CLF10473⟩. ⟨tel-01266824⟩



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