Livelihoods in the REDD?
Edited by Luca Tacconi, Sango Mahanty and Helen Suich
Chapter 9: Poor Household Participation in Payments for Environmental Services in Nicaragua and Colombia
Ana R. Rios and Stefano Pagiola INTRODUCTION The Regional Integrated Silvopastoral Ecosystem Management Project, implemented at sites in Colombia, Nicaragua and Costa Rica from 2003 to 2008, offers an excellent opportunity to examine the ability of poor households to participate in Payments for Environmental Services (PES). The Silvopastoral Project used PES to stimulate the adoption of silvopastoral practices in degraded pastures by paying participating households for the biodiversity conservation and carbon sequestration services that were generated, with financing from the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Unlike many other PES schemes, the Silvopastoral Project offered a wide range of participation options, ranging from simple and inexpensive land-use changes to substantial and complex changes (with correspondingly higher payments). That some of the choices offered by the project are complex and onerous provides a particularly strong test of poorer households’ ability to participate. In this chapter, we evaluate the extent to which poor households were able to participate in the Silvopastoral Project’s PES scheme, using data from two of its sites. As the same payment scheme was offered in both areas, we are able to compare poor household’s participation in PES under different agronomic and socioeconomic conditions. In particular, one site is characterized by high levels of poverty, with most households falling below the poverty line, and many below the extreme poverty line, while the other site exhibits a very wide range of income levels, including both extremely poor and very wealthy farm households. Because of the nature of the practices being promoted, the...