Values, Payments and Institutions for Ecosystem Management

Values, Payments and Institutions for Ecosystem Management

A Developing Country Perspective

Edited by Pushpam Kumar and Ibrahim Thiaw

Using a selection of authoritative and original contributions, this timely book explores the uncertainty surrounding the impact of decisions undertaken to manage ecosystem services worldwide. Invariably, the policies designed and implemented to manage forests, wetlands, and marine and coastal environments often involve conflicts of interest between various stakeholders. This has added an additional layer of complexity in the context of developing countries where institutions and governance are weak or absent. Economic valuation and the subsequent design of innovative response tools such as payment for ecosystem services (PES) have the potential to offer far greater transparency. In the case of LDCs, the identification of suitable institutions for executing these tools is also of vital importance.

Chapter 8: Exploring the potential of payments for ecosystem services for in-situ agrobiodiversity conservation

Ulf Narloch, Adam G. Drucker and Unai Pascual

Subjects: development studies, development economics, economics and finance, development economics, environmental economics, environment, ecological economics, environmental economics, management natural resources, valuation

Extract

Despite their crucial role in sustainable agricultural practices by contributing to agro biodiversity conservation services, many traditional plant and animal genetic resources (PAGR) are lost at increasing rates from agricultural landscapes worldwide (Perrings et al. 2006; FAO 2007a; Hajjar et al. 2008). There are many different demand and supply factors leading to a loss of agro biodiversity on farms (Bellon 2004; Kontoleon et al. 2008). Demand for traditional PAGR decreases if inputs become available that facilitate the cultivation of commercial crops. Improved access to safety nets and non-farm incomes lowers the benefit from using traditional PAGR as a natural insurance mechanism. The supply of seeds and breeds of traditional PAGR is negatively affected by increased reliance on commercial farming systems, out-migration and erosion of traditional customs and exchange networks. We hypothesize that, in the main, farmers tend to replace a diverse pool of traditional crop varieties (also known as landraces) and livestock breeds with a few more financially profitable ‘improved’ (commercial) varieties and breeds, owing to the fact that incentives are often biased towards the latter, and that markets tend not to capture the public values of many agro biodiversity conservation services (Gruère et al. 2008).

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