Effects of payments for ecosystem services on wildlife habitat recovery
Mao-Ning Tuanmu,Andrés Viña,Wu Yang,Xiaodong ChenAshton M. Shortridge and Jianguo Liu
Conservation Biology, Volume 30, Issue 4, pages 827–835, August 2016
Serous debates on policies that might simultaneously promote sustainable management of protected areas and improve the living conditions of local people have been going on round the world. This has been engendered by conflicts between local people's livelihoods and conservation that has stymied many well intended conservation measures. The authors of this paper say, few empirical assessments of the effectiveness of government-sponsored payments-for-ecosystem-services (PES) schemes have been conducted, and even fewer assessments have directly measured their effects on ecosystem services. Here the researchers conducted an empirical and spatially explicit assessment of the conservation effectiveness of one of the world's largest PES programs through the use of a long-term empirical data set, a satellite-based habitat model, and spatial autoregressive analyses on direct measures of change in an ecosystem service (i.e., the provision of wildlife species habitat). Giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) habitat improved in Wolong Nature Reserve of China after the implementation of the Natural Forest Conservation Program. The improvement was more pronounced in areas monitored by local residents than those monitored by the local government, but only when a higher payment was provided. The results suggest that the effectiveness of a PES program depends on who receives the payment and on whether the payment provides sufficient incentives. As engagement of local residents has not been incorporated in many conservation strategies elsewhere in China or around the world, the results also suggest that using an incentive-based strategy as a complement to command-and-control, community- and norm-based strategies may help achieve greater conservation effectiveness and provide a potential solution for the park versus people conflict.