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Evaluating Costa Rica’s program for environmental services payments in the Monteverde region

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Title:
Evaluating Costa Rica’s program for environmental services payments in the Monteverde region
Translated Title:
Evaluando el programa Costarricense para los pagos de servicios ambientales en la zona de Monteverde ( )
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Book
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English
Creator:
Meyer, Nathaniel F
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Subjects / Keywords:
Natural areas--Costa Rica--Management   ( lcsh )
Areas naturales--Costa Rica--Manejo
Tropical Ecology 2008
Land conservation--Costa Rica
Environmental services payment program--Costa Rica
Ecología Tropical 2008
Conservación del terreno--Costa Rica
Programa de pagos de servicios ambientales--Costa Rica
Genre:
Reports   ( lcsh )
Reports

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Abstract:
Costa Rica’s environmental services payments or “PSA” (“Pagos por servicios ambientales”) program was created to provide an economic incentive for landowners to conserve forest, thus compensating them for the ecosystem services their conservation activities provide. This study was conducted to evaluate the program’s performance twelve years after its inception. By interviewing 20 private landowners in the Monteverde region, I ask (1) whether certain demographic parameters or property size affect participation, (2) whether the government is effectively informing farmers of the PSA opportunity, (3) what obstacles are preventing potential participants from successfully obtaining contracts, and (4) whether the program is functioning as a viable economic alternative to land uses that degrade ecosystem services. It was found that occupation affected participation, but not education, whether landowners live or work on the property, or property size. Business people did not participate, while conservation organizations tended to, perhaps implying that PSA payments are not a very financially lucrative endeavor for individual landowners. This was supported by the fact that while most interviewees found the program helpful, most would probably be conserving their forest anyway. It was also evident that government agencies are not informing many landowners of the program and that the application requirements, specifically the deed requirement, are a significant barrier to participation. The government agencies involved should reevaluate their application requirements to create an application process easier to navigate for the average small landowner, and should also actively seek out local conservation organizations to facilitate awareness of the program. If these measures are to be worth it, though, the program must also be advertised aggressively as a good carbon offset project in order for it to provide PSA payments large enough to present conservation with PSAs as an economically viable use of private land.
Abstract:
El programa “Pagos por servicios ambientales” (PSA) de Costa Rica fue creado para proveer a los propietarios de un incentivo económico para conservar el bosque, pagándoles por los servicios ambientales que sus actividades conservacionistas proveen. Este estudio fue hecho para evaluar los resultados del programa doce años después de su nacimiento. Al entrevistar a 20 propietarios de tierras privadas en la zona de Monteverde, les pregunte (1) si los parámetros demográficos o el tamaño de la propiedad influyen en la participación, (2) si el gobierno informa eficazmente a los participantes potenciales de la oportunidad de PSA, (3) cuales obstáculos hay que prevengan que los participantes potenciales tengan éxito obteniendo contratos, y (4) si el programa funciona como una alternativa económica que sea viable a los usos de tierra que degradan al medio ambiente.
Language:
Text in English.
General Note:
Born Digital

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usfldc doi - M39-00039
usfldc handle - m39.39
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SFS0001215:00001


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Costa Ricas environmental services payments or PSA (Pagos por servicios ambientales) program was created to provide an economic incentive for landowners to conserve forest, thus compensating them for the ecosystem services their conservation activities provide. This study was conducted to evaluate the programs performance twelve years after its inception. By interviewing 20 private landowners in the Monteverde region, I ask (1) whether certain demographic parameters or property size affect participation, (2) whether the government is effectively informing farmers of the PSA opportunity, (3) what obstacles are preventing potential participants from successfully obtaining contracts, and (4) whether the program is functioning as a viable economic alternative to land uses that degrade ecosystem services. It was found that occupation affected participation, but not education, whether landowners live or work on the property, or property size. Business people did not participate, while conservation organizations tended to, perhaps implying that PSA payments are not a very financially lucrative endeavor for individual landowners. This was supported by the fact that while most interviewees found the program helpful, most would probably be conserving their forest anyway. It was also evident that government agencies are not informing many landowners of the program and that the application requirements, specifically the deed requirement, are a significant barrier to participation. The government agencies involved should reevaluate their application requirements to create an application process easier to navigate for the average small landowner, and should also actively seek out local conservation organizations to facilitate awareness of the program. If these measures are to be worth it, though, the program must also be advertised aggressively as a good carbon offset project in order for it to provide PSA payments large enough to present conservation with PSAs as an economically viable use of private land.
El programa Pagos por servicios ambientales (PSA) de Costa Rica fue creado para proveer a los propietarios de un incentivo econmico para conservar el bosque, pagndoles por los servicios ambientales que sus actividades conservacionistas proveen. Este estudio fue hecho para evaluar los resultados del programa doce aos despus de su nacimiento. Al entrevistar a 20 propietarios de tierras privadas en la zona de Monteverde, les pregunte (1) si los parmetros demogrficos o el tamao de la propiedad influyen en la participacin, (2) si el gobierno informa eficazmente a los participantes potenciales de la oportunidad de PSA, (3) cuales obstculos hay que prevengan que los participantes potenciales tengan xito obteniendo contratos, y (4) si el programa funciona como una alternativa econmica que sea viable a los usos de tierra que degradan al medio ambiente.
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1 Evaluating Costa Rica’s program for environmental services payments in the Monteverde region Nathaniel F. Meyer Environmental Studies and Biology Departments, Ober lin College ABSTRACT Costa Rica’s environmental services payments or “PS A” ( “Pagos por servicios ambientales” ) program was created to provide an economic incentive for landowners to conserve forest, thus compensating them for the eco system services their conservation activities provide. Th is study was conducted to evaluate the program’s pe rformance twelve years after its inception. By interviewing 20 private landowners in the Monteverde region, I a sk (1) whether certain demographic parameters or property size aff ect participation, (2) whether the government is ef fectively informing farmers of the PSA opportunity, (3) what obstacles are preventing potential participants fro m successfully obtaining contracts, and (4) whether the program is functioning as a viable economic alternative to la nd uses that degrade ecosystem services. It was found that occu pation affected participation, but not education, w hether landowners live or work on the property, or propert y size. Business people did not participate, while conservation organizations tended to, perhaps implying that PSA payments are not a very financially lucrative endea vor for individual landowners. This was supported by the f act that while most interviewees found the program helpful, most would probably be conserving their forest anyw ay. It was also evident that government agencies a re not informing many landowners of the program and that t he application requirements, specifically the deed requirement, are a significant barrier to participation. The go vernment agencies involved should reevaluate their application requirements to create an application process easie r to navigate for the average small landowner, and should also actively seek out local conservation organizations to facilitate awareness of the program. If these m easures are to be worth it, though, the program must also be advertis ed aggressively as a good carbon offset project in order for it to provide PSA payments large enough to present conser vation with PSAs as an economically viable use of p rivate land. RESUMEN El programa “Pagos por servicios ambientales” (PSA) de Costa Rica fue creado para proveer a propietari os de incentivo econmico para conservar el bosque, pagan doles por los servicios ambientales que sus activi dades conservacionistas proveen. Este estudio fue hecho para evaluar los resultados del programa doce aos despus de su nacimiento. Con 20 entrevistas a propietarios priv ados, pregunto (1) si parmetros demogrficos o el tamao de la propiedad influyen en la participacin, (2) si el g obierno informa eficazmente a participantes potenci ales de la oportunidad PSA, (3) cules obstculos hay que prev engan que los participantes potenciales tengan xit o obteniendo contratos, y (4) si el programa funciona como alter nativa econmica que sea viable a los usos de tierr a que degradan el medio ambiente. Fue encontrado que la participa cin era afectada por la ocupacin, pero no por la nivel de educacin, por si los propeietaros viven o trabajan en la finca, ni por el tamao de propiedad. Las p ersonas de negocios no participaban, mientras las organizacion es conservacionistas participaban. Esto sugiere qu e los pagos PSA no son muy lucrativos para los propietarios ind ividuales. Esto est apoyado por el hecho que mien tras la mayora de propietarios cree que el programa es ben eficioso, es probable que la mayora conservara su bosque en cualquier caso. Tambin, era evidente que las agen cias gubernamentales no informan a muchos propietar ios del programa y que los requisitos de la solicitud, espe cificamente el requisito del titulo, previenen ms participacin. Las agencias deben reevaluar estos requisitos para crear un proceso de solicitud ms fcil para foment ar ms conocimiento del programa. Sin embargo, para que v ale la pena hacer estos, el gobierno de Costa Rica necesita anunciar agresivamente el programa PSA como un proy ecto bueno de los crditos de carbono. Con este di nero, podran dar los pagos PSA bastante grandes para que la conservacin sea viable economicamente para los propietarios privados. INTRODUCTION

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2 Support for conservation of the biosphere has grow n with increasing awareness of the environmental problems we face in modern times. Ho wever, these problems are also intensifying, as demonstrated by the scientific con sensus regarding anthropogenic climate change (IPCC 2007), rising tropical deforestation r ates and the associated erosion of biodiversity (Brook et al. 2003), altered biogeochemical cycles (Vitousek et al. 1997), and the degradation of ecosystem services (Vitousek et al. 1997), to name a few of the challenges confronting humanity today. The need to develop effective mechanisms th at stimulate forest preservation is thus greater than ever. Rarely has civilian support for conservation, on its own, successfully thwarted development, population growth, or the forces of gl obal free-market capitalism. To rein in the expanding challenges it may therefore be necessary to widen the appeal of conservation activities with incentive-based programs that directly reward landowners. In some parts of the world, including Costa Rica, conservationists and policymakers are attempting to entice landowners with outright payme nts to preserve forests and protect ecosystem services. Ecosystem services are benefit s that natural habitats provide for human society, which include air and water purification, drought and flood mitigation, soil generation and protection, waste recycling and detoxification, crop pollination and dispersal, pest control, maintenance of biodiversity, climate stabilization, aesthetics, and recreation, all together comprising an immense contribution to human welfare (Costanza et al. 1997). The economics involved in preserving these ecosystem services usu ally lead to the classic “tragedy of the commons” (Hardin 1968). This is because the benefi ts provided by forest on one person’s property are shared with others on local, regional, and in some cases global scales, while the costs are borne almost exclusively by the landowner Unless a landowner can meet the costs, conservation may not be economically viable (Steed 2007). This situation may justify intervention, possibly governmental, to provide inc entives for the protection of forest on private lands. Costa Rica’s groundbreaking conservation laws have garnered international attention and prestige, and forest now covers more than a quarter of the country’s land area (Evans 1999). Despite its impressive (although fragmented) reserv e and national park system, established largely in the mid-1970s, Costa Rica maintained one of the highest deforestation rates in the world through the 1980s and 1990s, resulting in ver y little forest cover remaining outside of protected area (Evans 1999; Snchez-Azofeifa 2001). In order to combat deforestation of private land, in the early 1980s the Costa Rican government began to implement programs designed to provide economic incentives for farmers that refore sted their land (Steed 2007). In 1996, Costa Rica built on these programs with Forestry Law No. 7575, setting up the Payments for Environmental Services or PSA (“ Pagos por Servicios Ambientales ”) program through the newly created government agency, the Fondo Nacional de Fi nancimiento Forestal (FONAFIFO) under the Ministerio del Ambiente y Energa (MINAE) (FONA FIFO 2000; Joyce 2006). The push for the new program came from Costa Rica’s then-new com mitment to environmental sustainability made at the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit in 1992 (FO NAFIFO 2000). The program provides incentives for small and medium landowners to maint ain forest cover on private land to protect ecosystem services, defined in Law 7575 as (1) miti gation of greenhouse gases through carbon sequestration, (2) protection of water for rural, u rban, or hydroelectric users, (3) protection of biodiversity, and (4) preservation of scenic beauty particularly for ecotourism (Joyce 2006, FONAFIFO 2007). While the PSA land-use categories, restrictions, and payments have changed over the years, at present forest protection or reg eneration earn landowners $64 USD per hectare per year while active reforestation earns $82 USD ( FONAFIFO 2000, Ortiz and Kellenberg

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3 2002; Pagiola 2006, FONAFIFO 2007, Steed 2007). Th is study focuses on protection, which represents over 90% of PSA contracts (Pagiola 2006) In order to obtain a contract, which lasts for five years, a landowner must complete a comprehensive application process that consists of submitting a substantial pre-application, resolving legal concerns identified by FONAFIFO, an d submitting a final application (see Table 1). A prospective applicant must request a pre-app lication and then bring it completed to one of eight regional FONAFIFO offices, which can be quite far away (FONAFIFO 2007; Rodrguez 2008). Once the pre-application is processed, an a pplicant must resolve any legal conflicts regarding his property claims before proceeding to the general application, which involves finding and hiring a forestry engineer to conduct a technical study and develop a “sustainable forest management plan” (Zbinden and Lee 2005; Rodr guez 2008). Furthermore, the landowner must officially hold title to the land in the natio nal registry (FONAFIFO 2007). This arduous process ideally ensures that the program is not tak en advantage of by potentially deceitful opportunists, although it also probably hinders hon est landowners wanting to participate (Pagiola 2006, Rodrguez 2008). The program is currently funded by recipients of t wo of the four ecosystem services recognized in Law 7575, carbon sequestration and pr otection of water resources (Pagiola 2006). Currently, the majority, about $10 million USD per year, comes from Costa Rica’s 3.5% tax on fossil fuel consumption (Pagiola 2006, Steed 2007). Costa Rica also sells carbon offsets internationally, is a beneficiary of World Bank pro jects and the Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) Ecomarkets Project, and receives voluntary pa yments from Costa Rican hydroelectric producers (Pagiola 2006; Rodrguez 2008). Since it s inception, the PSA program has grown steadily, reaching 6000 contracts for 532,668 hecta res in 2006, making up roughly 10% of Costa Rica’s land area (FONAFIFO, 2006). Despite the program’s apparent success, however, m any landowners with sizeable forest plots are not currently participating (Rodrguez 20 08). They therefore lack an additional incentive, beyond the ecosystem services themselves to conserve their forest. With today’s high wood and food prices and more generally the fluctua ting economic pressures of global capitalism, it may be very difficult for a landowne r to justify forest preservation, given such high ___________________________________________________ _____________________ TABLE 1 Application requirements for FONAFIFO’s PSA program (Pagiola 2006, FONAFIFO 2007, Masters 2007, Rodrguez 2008). 1. Pre-application (brought to regional FONAFIFO of fice—for Monteverde region: Caas, San Carlos, or San Jos): Pre-application form with applicant information she et Public notary certification Certified property map with registration data (ledg er number, blueprint number, location, and contact information) Copy of applicant identification card Photocopy of cadastral property plan (extent, value and ownership) 2. Receipt of Pre-application Confirmation from FON AFIFO Contingent upon resolution of legal matters regardi ng pre-application 3. Application (submitted to regional FONAFIFO offi ce) Certified property map with registration data (ledg er number, blueprint number, location, and contact information) Land title (must match both national registry recor ds and property map) Technical study/comprehensive sustainable forest ma nagement plan (prepared by certified forestry engineer) Forestry engineer certification Contract with forestry engineer for yearly inspecti ons CD with archived photographs of property perimeter

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4 opportunity costs (Pagiola 2006). This study explo res PSA participation in Monteverde in order to identify ways the program could be improved to f acilitate more participation and to determine whether it is effective in increasing forest conser vation. I ask whether certain demographic characteristics, such as occupation, education leve l, living on the actual or potential PSA property, and working on the property affect partic ipation in the PSA program. I also ask how Monteverde residents tend to discover the PSA oppor tunity, and what obstacles prevent them from participating. Finally, to evaluate the overa ll success of the program, I ask whether the payments actually provide sufficient motivation for landowners to conserve forest, and use interviewee input to suggest possible improvements to the program. Given the application requirements (see above) and the culture of Costa Rican land acquisition and possession, which tends to shun leg al formalities (Rodrguez 2008), I predicted that the general arduousness of the application pro cess, and the deed requirement in particular, prevents many landowners from participating. All w ork applying must necessarily be done without any guarantee of receiving payments, and it is likely that many landowners consider this process too costly, too time-consuming, or too conf using to pursue. In addition, I predicted that given limited government resources, FONAFIFO is pro bably not effective at informing landowners about the PSA opportunity and the accomp anying requisites, benefits, and application process. Furthermore, with the program ’s modest payments, I predicted that those having received PSA payments would have larger land holdings, as it is more worth their energy to apply. A study in the Northeastern lowlands sug gests that this is the case (Zbinden and Lee 2005). The Monteverde region is an ideal place to conduct this study. It has long been a hotbed for conservation with numerous conservation organiz ations operating, and there are mechanisms in place facilitating conservation practices and in itiatives more there than perhaps anywhere else in the country. Furthermore, many biologists resid e in the region, and ecotourism makes up the vast majority of the economy. If there is a single place in Costa Rica where the residents are likely to know about and be able to participate in this kind of program, it is Monteverde. Therefore, determining what prevents residents here from applying to receive these payments reveals where improvements to the program are most needed. Protecting Monteverde’s particularly valuable ecological resources is impor tant in maintaining not only ecosystem services but also in maintaining its incredibly ric h biodiversity. So, while identifying ways to facilitate more applications is surely helpful, it is also important to evaluate whether or not the program is actually successful as motivation for co nservation. If it is, then supporting such economic incentive systems would help fortify what is already a robust conservation ethic. If the program is shown to fall short of its objective, th is must be acknowledged and policymakers must revisit and improve the system, as economic in centive schemes show promise as powerful drivers of conservation. MATERIALS AND METHODS I interviewed private landowners and representative s of conservation organizations throughout the Monteverde region, using a 27-questi on survey, prepared in both English and Spanish (see Appendix). Yber Rodrguez, a forestr y engineer and Monteverde Conservation League administrator, provided a preliminary list o f landowners in the area who had participated in or had shown interest in the PSA program. Furth er interviewees were subsequently provided by people on this list. I recorded in-person inter views with a jWIN JX-R16 micro-cassette

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5 recorder. When in-person interviews were not possi ble, a phone interview or an e-mail survey were substituted. The relationship between property size (total and i n PSAs) and participation was analyzed using a Wilcoxon U-test. The effect of oc cupation, education level, living on the property, and working on the property on participat ion was analyzed using a G-Test (X2 likelihood ratio). The sources of initial informat ion on the PSA program and suggestions for program improvements were analyzed using a Chi-squa re test. RESULTS Twenty interviews were conducted with 15 individua l landowners and five people representing organizations, 18 of which were in per son, one by phone, and one via email. The average age and median age were 55. Sixteen interv iewees were Costa Rican-born, while four were from outside the country. Seven were currentl y receiving PSA payments and 13 were not, though of those not participating, six had particip ated in the past. The properties were located in Cabeceras de Tilarn, La Cruz de Abangares, Caitas de Abangares, San Bosco, San Gerardo, Cerro Plano, Monteverde, La Lindora, and San Luis. The three larger private reserves were Monteverde’s Bosque Eterno S.A. and Bosque Eterno d e los Nios and SelvaTica near Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqu. Property Size The average total property size for PSA participants (currently or in the past), 1895.5 1677.1 hectares (ha), was significantly higher than that of non-participants, 61.7 15.9 ha (Wilcoxon Test, Z = -1.9826, p = 0.0474; Fig. 1). However, excluding the property of the largest reserve, Bosque Eterno de los Nios (BEN), the participants’ average total property size was 161.7 81.6 ha, not significantly different from non-participants (Z = -1.82, p = 0.0690; Fig. 1). The average size of plots earning PSA payments, 216.2 85.3 ha including BEN and 124.6 79.1 ha w ithout BEN, was not significantly different than forested plot sizes of non-participants, 43.7 13.3 ha (Wilcoxon Test, Z = -1.70, p = 0.0883; Z = -1.52, p = 0.1280, Fig. 1). nrn nnr nnr rnnr FIGURE 1. Average total property size and average s ize of actual or potential PSA plot for participants including BE N (dark green), participants not including BEN (light green), and n on-participants (orange), with standard error bars.

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6 Responses were mixed when landowners were asked whe ther they would participate in the program if they possessed less land. Most felt that it depended on the situation. One interviewee mentioned that with less land he would participate, but only if the process were easier. Another said he would participate regardle ss of size because any money is “a help.” Two representatives of conservation organizations sugge sted 10 hectares as a reasonable minimum, below which it would not be worth the trouble of ap plying. Finally, others said yes simply because their land was inside a protected area and thus other uses were prohibited. The only clear trend was that participation with less land i s case-specific. Demographic Contingency Participation (now, in the past, or never) was aff ected by profession, but not by education level, whether the landowner lives on the actual or potential PSA property, or whether the landowner works on the property (see Table 2). No business people had participated in the PSA program, while four of five conservation organizati ons were currently participating and the fifth had recently submitted an application. Finding Out about the PSA Program Two landowners first found out about the PSA progra m from MINAE, while 15 landowners first found out from other sources, incl uding the Monteverde Conservation league (n TABLE 2. Effect of (a) Occupation, (b) Education Le vel, (c) whether the landowner lives on the property, and (d) whether the landowner works o n the property, on PSA participation (Now, In the Past, and Never). The significant p-v alue is italicized. PSA Participation Now Past Never G-test (likelihood ratio) a. Occupation Farmer Head of Conservation Org. Business Person Other X2 = 19.74 df = 3 p = 0.0031 3 4 2 4 0 1 0 0 4 0 2 0 b. Education X2 = 8.65 df = 2 p = 0.1943 Did not complete elementary school 2 2 0 Elementary School Completed 1 3 3 More than High School 4 1 4 c. Live on PSA plot? X 2 = 1.37 df = 1 p = 0.5042 Yes 3 1 3 No 4 5 4 d. Work on PSA plot? X 2 = 1.49 df = 1 p = 0.4738 Yes 4 4 6 No 3 2 1

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7 = 9), friends or neighbors (n = 5), or local cooper atives (n = 1), and three did not remember. A significant trend was that residents were not findi ng out about the PSA program from MINAE as much as from other sources (X2 = 17.75, df = 1, p < 0.00005). Suggestions for Improving the Program Landowners mentioned, as their primary suggestion f or improvement, that the application process be made easier (including allowing the subm ission of an alternate document in place of an official land deed), that information be dissemi nated more effectively, and that FONAFIFO adopt better and clearer priorities. Interviewees responded with a primary recommendation of an easier application process significantly more than the other two suggestions (X2 = 9.44, df = 2, p = 0.0089). Some also mentioned that payments are s mall and that an increase would be helpful as stronger motivation. Additional Observations Seventeen of the interviewees responded that they felt the PSA program was useful for conserving forest on private land, although many in dicated that it is necessary for the landowner to already have some conservation ethic. Of the 13 people not currently participating, lack of official deed was the reason for four. Three lacke d interest (all businessmen), three had unsuccessfully pursued a contract renewal, one had recently submitted his first application, one felt others needed the money more, and one no longe r owned the land. Interviewees’ reasons for conserving forest are reported in Table 3, the most common being the protection of biodiversity and preserving water resources and clean air. DISCUSSION The results suggest that in Monteverde, land size does not affect participation. While the average total property of participants was significantly larger than that of non-participants, this was due to the impact of the 22,000-hectare Bosque Eterno de los Nios property, administered by the Monteverde Conservation League. There was no significant difference for total property when BEN was taken out, nor for PSA-plot property size. This is not consistent with a study conducted by Zbinden and Lee (2005) in Northeastern Costa Rica, which found that landowners participating in the PS A program there tended to have larger plots than those not participating. Having more land in the program makes the arduous application TABLE 3. Reasons for conserving forest cited by landowners (n = 19). Reason cited # of landowners % Biodiversity/Flora/Fauna 13 68.4% Air 11 57.9% Water/Avoiding Dryness 11 57.9% Economic Opportunity 3 15.8% Contamination 3 15.8% Global Warming 2 10.5% Beauty 1 5.3% Quality of Life 1 5.3% Intrinsic Value 1 5.3% Education 1 5.3%

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8 process more worthwhile, especially given the per h ectare yearly payment of $64 USD, which is probably not often economically competitive with mo re ‘intensive’ land-uses like wood extraction (Pagiola 2006). It may be that with the strong conservation ethic and history in Monteverde, property size is not as strong a factor as in other places. Nevertheless, several landowners noted that one earns more money with lar ger property, which in turn provides a larger incentive, and thus property size probably p lays some role in the decision-making. Size of forest plot is, however, just one of many f actors possibly influencing participation. For a program that requires the com pletion of a lengthy application, it was reasonable to expect that occupation and education level, as indicators of socioeconomic standing and perhaps of skills necessary to complet e all application steps, would have an impact on whether certain landowners participated. The re sults indicate that only occupation was important. Specifically, representatives of conser vation organizations were very likely to be participating, business people were not participati ng, and farmers showed no clear trends. Conservation organizations need sources of income t o fund operations that protect the forests they administer. Given this, it makes sense that t hese organizations are taking advantage of a government program that pays them for their substan tial forest plots. Farmers, on the other hand, have varying amounts of forest on their properties and may also be less connected to conservation circles. Their participation, then, l ikely depends on the particulars of their farm, who they know in the community, and perhaps where t hey live, all of which are quite variable. To determine what explains farmer participation, fu ture studies should examine these sociological factors explicitly. The fact that no businessperson receives PSA payments suggests that the program is not a particularly lucrative en deavor, assuming that these landowners are more alert to economic opportunities. Other uses s uch as wood extraction, which may be hindered by PSA plot requirements, are more worth t heir time and resources. Several landowners mentioned that $64 USD per hectare per y ear is not very much money, and is more a “help” than a driving factor for their conservation activities. These results appear to be in agreement with other studies that suggest the progr am is not sufficient as economic motivation for conservation (Pagiola 2006). The fact that education level did not significantly impact participation in this study is not consistent with findings by Zbinden and Lee (2005) that PSA participants tended to be better educated. This could be explained by the fact that this study did not include landowners who had not heard of PSA contracts or by differences betwee n Monteverde and the Northeastern lowlands near San Carlos. It could be that in a place like Monteverde, the ease of the application process is more mediated by networking than by skill set or ability to carry out the necessary administrative tasks, something affected by schooli ng. Indeed, many interviewees cited long wait times between application submission and FONAF IFO responses or contracts, and some felt that it was easier to obtain a contract or at least move an application along if one had a contact inside FONAFIFO or had experience dealing with the program. One conservation organization administrator described the PSA program as a “club” that anyone can join, but once one is a ‘member,’ understands the rules, and has contacts, the process becomes much easier. Given this character, education level is probably less importa nt than experience with the process and rapport with officials. To gain further insight into the w orkings of the program, future studies should include interviews with FONAFIFO and MINAE official s. In addition, shadowing the application process from start to finish with sever al different landowners would be invaluable. Whether or not the landowner lives or works on the farm may reflect how connected he or she feels to the property, and may also be a sig n of how important the property is

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9 economically. Living and working on the property c ould mean that its forest is providing daily benefits to the farmer, either by increasing crop o r pasture success or by providing forest products or recreation for his or her family. This farmer may be less motivated to apply for PSAs, seeing as s/he is already receiving direct be nefits, while for someone who lives and works far away, the property might be seen as pointless w ithout it earning PSAs. Indeed, Zbinden and Lee (2005) found that PSA participants tended to be urban dwellers. On the other hand, working and living on the farm also indicates that it is an important part of the landowner’s livelihood, and given that farmers tend to be relatively poor, people in this situation might be more in need of the extra money. The data showed no clear trend s regarding this parameter, probably because living and working on the property are not very cle ar indicators, which makes corresponding patterns difficult to find and interpret. Future s tudies should obtain more specific and more exhaustive data on landowner lifestyle and socioeco nomic status, which would better illuminate patterns. In addition to identifying patterns of participatio n, an important finding of this study was that most landowners did not first find out about t he program from MINAE. The PSA program was created to motivate farmers and other landowner s to conserve forest and thus protect important ecosystem services it provides. Governme nts are typically stretched thin for funding, and it is likely that MINAE does not have many reso urces to devote to outreach activities (Rodrguez 2008), yet providing information to farm ers effectively is crucial for attaining the goals of the program. Examining only landowners aw are of the program, this study found that government outreach regarding PSAs was minimal in M onteverde. The most common source of information was the local Conservation League, and many of the friends from which other Monteverde landowners learned of the programs had t hemselves found out from the League. It is evident that this organization has a strong conn ection with the town; in fact, many of the landowners I interviewed had participated in a Leag ue reforestation program in the 1970s. These findings suggest that MINAE needs to work harder pr oviding PSA information to landowners, but also show that well-connected local conservatio n organizations are quite effective at promoting the PSA program and should perhaps be uti lized formally in the process in the future. If the government lacks resources to provide suffic ient information and it is so difficult for landowners to learn how the system works and succes sfully put together an application, local conservation organizations could be a necessary mid dleman. Granted, not all communities have organizations like the League, but many do and if F ONAFIFO officials were able to delegate tasks like information dissemination and applicatio n preparation help to conservation organizations (perhaps while providing some funds f or support), it could result in a more efficient system. More specifically, many interviewees felt that FONA FIFO should remove the strict property deed requirement if it wants to avoid frus trating potential participants. Landowners often found the complicated application process pro hibitively difficult, and obtaining an official deed was often the biggest problem. Allowing lando wners to submit documents such as testimony from neighboring property owners and hist orical evidence of ownership would remove a substantial barrier that currently prevents many applications from proceeding. However, it is not clear that making the applicatio n process easier or more straightforward would result in better or more fore st conservation. Pagiola (2006) and Steed (2007) suggest that the program is not funded nearl y well enough to provide payments to all qualified applicants. There are lengthy waitlists at most regional FONAFIFO offices, and the PSA coffers are by no means overflowing (Rodrguez 2008). More importantly, Pagiola (2006)

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10 suggests that the majority of PSA recipients are la ndowners for whom participating presents very low or negative opportunity costs and who would hav e protected their forest anyway. Furthermore, Snchez-Azofeifa et al. (2007) found n o significant difference between deforestation rates in areas receiving PSA payments and areas not receiving PSAs. While most interviewees in this study responded that PSA payme nts were useful for conserving forest on private property, further examination of their resp onses revealed that in most cases the trees would not be cut regardless of whether the landowne rs were receiving PSAs, a finding consistent with the studies cited above. In many cases, the fo rests are necessary elements of farms, protecting water resources and providing windbreaks They are also desirable for preserving biodiversity (the reason for conserving most often cited by landowners) in a region where ecotourism is common and relatively lucrative. In some cases, the forests are already protected within the boundaries of a reserve, and the landown er is simply trying to earn some money with land s/he cannot use in any other way. Indeed, it s eemed that in saying PSAs were useful, interviewees were really saying that the payments w ere merely helpful economically, not absolutely vital. Finally, the fact that businessme n are not receiving PSAs while conservation organizations are reliable participants reflects th e likelihood that PSAs are not sufficient on their own to incentivize forest preservation over other u se. It appears that the PSA program, rather than fully achieving its primary goal, instead acts today as (1) a social service helping small farmers survive, (2) a financial bonus for large fa rmers with large forest plots, or (3) a funding mechanism for conservation organizations to better protect the reserves they administer. While its function as a social service to farmers m ay be an added bonus, the program exists to stimulate forest conservation by private landowners. Helping conservation organizations operate fulfills this goal. However, as an economically viable alternative to intensive land use, the program appears to be falli ng short. The best way to fix this would be to offer higher per hectare payments. This is difficu lt, particularly in light of steeply rising gas prices that have recently brought cuts in Costa Ric a’s fossil fuel tax onto the table in legislature discussions (Rodrguez 2008). If implemented, thes e cuts would diminish the PSA program’s main source of funding (Pagiola 2006). Carbon cred it payments were expected to be a large portion of PSA funding, but few substantial offset payments have been made to the program thus far, except for a one-time payment from the governm ent of Norway in 1997 (Snchez-Azofeifa 2007). This is largely because the international c arbon market idea did not take hold as quickly as policymakers may have anticipated. However, off setting travel and other carbon-emitting activities has become more popular in recent years, and the prospect of carbon neutrality is becoming a prominent goal of institutions around th e world, as evidenced by the 546 signatories of the American College and University Presidents C limate Commitment, for example (Presidents Climate Commitment 2008). As the emiss ions market grows, it is reasonable to expect that more people will be interested in being donors for Costa Rica’s PSA program. The Costa Rican government should take advantage of thi s situation by advertising the program aggressively around the world as a good destination for offset money. This would allow FONAFIFO to award larger payments that would actual ly make conservation an economically viable land use. While the results of this study imply that the PSA program has struggled to provide a feasible conservation path for farmers, this does n ot mean the program has failed, nor does this diminish its potential as a mechanism for incentivi zing conservation. Indeed, PSAs in Costa Rica have set an example for other nations by insti tutionalizing payments for environmental services, a crucial first step in the struggle to m ake our society more sustainable, and

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11 furthermore, the program has the support of landown ers. We are now in the phase of reexamination and adjustment with the aim of making this revolutionary program as effective as possible. It has already helped conservation organ izations preserve forests. It should embrace this role and take advantage of such institutions t o better connect with landowners. If FONAFIFO can make the program more accessible throu gh more reasonable application requirements and more effective information dissemi nation while also aggressively advertising itself internationally as the perfect carbon offset project, it will become a sustainable and effective motivator of private forest conservation. Future studies should continue to monitor the PSA a pplication process and how potential and actual participants perceive it, and should do so in more depth. If policymakers remain flexible and receptive to feedback, it is likely th at the program will remain popular. It is also important that future studies examine the developme nt of the international carbon market, as this will become a very prominent source of PSA funds in coming years. Understanding how to situate the program favorably in this system will b e important for future success. It would also be useful to compare similar programs between other countries to determine what strategies are most successful and why. If we want to benefit fro m the ecosystem services provided by intact forest in the future, and there is solid evidence w e should want to (Costanza 1997), then we need to support, examine, and improve economic conservat ion schemes like Costa Rica’s PSA program. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would first like to thank Yber Rodrguez at the Monteverde Conservation League for all his help pro viding information and insight regarding the PSA program a nd for supplying the initial list of interviewees. Many thanks to all the landowners for their time and thoughtful ness. Thanks to Marielos Leitn for contacting a g ood portion of interviewees, most of whom she knew personally, and to Enoc Villalobos and Sebastin and Dinieth Villa lobos Leitn for guiding me to many of the landowners’ pr operties. Thanks to the entire Villalobos Leitn f amily for providing such a welcoming and nourishing home duri ng my research. Finally, thanks to Karen Masters f or her help conceptualizing the project and her tirelessness du ring the analysis and writing of this report, to Pa blo Allen, Taegan McMahon, and Alan Masters for statistics help, to t he staff of the Monteverde Biological Station for p roviding sustenance and a clean home-away-from-home, and to the other Spring 2008 CIEE students and the Center for International Educational Exchange itself for an in credible three months in Costa Rica. LITERATURE CITED Brook, B.W., N.S. Sodhi, and P.K.L. Ng. 2003. Catas trophic extinctions follow deforestation in Singapo re. Nature 424: 420-423. Costanza, R., R. d’Arge, R. de Groot, S. Farber, M. Grasso, B. Hannon, K. Limburg, S. Naeem, R.V. O’Ne ill, J. Paruelo, R.G. Raskin, P. Sutton, and M. van den Bel t. 1997. The value of the world’s ecosystem service s and natural capital. Nature 387: 253-260. Evans, Sterling. 1999. The Green Republic: A Conser vation History of Costa Rica. University of Texas P ress, Austin, TX, pp.7, 39-40. Fondo Nacional de Financimiento Forestal (FONAFIFO) 2000. The Development of the Forestry Environmetn al Services Payment Program in Costa Rica. San Jos, C osta Rica. Fondo Nacional de Financimiento Forestal (FONAFIFO) 2006. Distribution of hectares contracted through the payment for environmental services program, per yea r and per model, for the 1997-2006 period. Retrieve d on 9 April 2008. http://www.fonafifo.com/text_files/servicios_ambien tales/distrib_ha_contratadas.pdf Fondo Nacional de Financimiento Forestal (FONAFIFO) 2007. Environmental Services. Retrieved on 8 Apri l 2008. http://www.fonafifo.com/paginas_english/environment al_services/sa_historia.htm

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12 Hardin, G. 1968. The tragedy of the commons. Scienc e 162: 1243-1247. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 2 007. Climate Change Assessment Report 2007. Joyce, A.T. 2006. Land use change in Costa Rica as influenced by social, economic, political, and envi ronmental factors: 1966-2006. Litografa e Imprenta LIL, S.A. Costa Rica, pp. 157-158. Masters, K. 2007. Pre-application and Application f or Environmental Services Payments. Ortiz, E. and J. Kellenberg. 2002. Program of payme nts for ecological services in Costa Rica. In Proce edings from International Expert Meeting on Forest Landscape Re storation. Heredia, Costa Rica, 27-28 February. Pagiola, S. 2006. Payments for environmental servic es in Costa Rica. Munich Personal RePEc Archive (MP RA) Paper No. 2010. Retrieved 9 April 2008. http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/2010/ Presidents Climate Commitment. 2008. American Colle ge and University Presidents Climate Commitment. Retrieved 14 May 2008. http://www.presidentsclimatecommitment.org/ Rodrguez Santamara, Yber. Personal Interview. 14 April 2008. Cerro Plano, Monteverde, Costa Rica. Snchez-Azofeifa, G.A., A. Pfaff, J.A. Robalino, an d J.P. Boomhower. 2007. Costa Rica’s payment for environmental services program: intention, implemen tation, and impact. Conservation Biology 21: 11651173. Snchez-Azofeifa, G.A., R.C. Harriss, and D. Skole. 2001. Deforestation in Costa Rica: a quantitative analysis using remote sensing imagery. Biotropica 33: 378-384. Steed, B.C. 2007. Government payments for ecosystem services – lessons from Costa Rica. Journal of Lan d Use 23: 177-202. Vitousek, P.M., H.A. Mooney, J.Lubchenco, and J.M. Melillo. 1997. Human domination of earth’s ecosyste ms. Science 277: 494-499. Zbinden, S. and D.R. Lee. 2005. Paying for environm ental services in Costa Rica: An analysis of partic ipation in Costa Rica’s PSA Program. World Development 33: 255 -272. APPENDIX Las Preguntas de la Entrevista (Espaol) 1. Cul es su profesin? 2. Cuntas personas viven en su casa? 3. Vive usted en la finca? 4. Trabaja en la finca? 5. Tiene vehculo de finca, de su empresa, o personal ? 6. Qu tan grande es su finca? Cuntas hectareas tie ne de bosque, y cuntas hectareas tiene de bosque en regeneracin (si existe)? 7. Hace cunto tiene esta finca? Por cunto tiempo h a sido el propietario usted? 8. Cmo se usa el bosque o el area de regeneracin ac tualmente? a. Proteccin absoluta b. Ecoturismo c. Tala de bajo impacto d. Tala intensiva e. Cosechas de bosque (sin tala completa) f. Otro: ______________ 9. Cul ha sido el uso de este terreno? a. Bosque intacto (de impacto mnimo) b. Ecoturismo c. Tala de bajo impacto d. Tala intensiva e. Tala completa para ganado f. Tala completa para cosechas

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13 g. Otro: ______________ 10. Hace cunto se pararon estas actividades? 11. Qu comtempla para el futuro uso? a. Proteccin absoluta b. Ecoturismo c. Tala de bajo impacto d. Tala intensiva e. Tala completa para ganado f. Tala completa para cosechas g. Tala no completa para cosechas (de bosque) h. Otro: ______________ 12. Sabe algo sobre el programa de los Pagos por Servi cios Ambientales? (S o No) 13. Cmo se enterr del programa? 14. Est participando en el programa actualmente? a. No. b. S, tengo contrato y ya he recibido pagos. c. S, he solicitado participar en el programa, pero t odava no tengo contrato 15. (Si no est participando) Porqu no? a. No s cmo solicitar o no tengo suficiente informac in b. No tengo el ttulo u otros documentos requeridos de propiedad (planos) c. No cumplo con los otros requisitos. (Cules? _____ _________ ) d. No vale la pena; es demasiado difcil. e. Cuesta demasiado solicitar y satisfacer los requisi tos f. El programa no paga suficiente dinero g. Quiero poder escoger lo que hago con mi terreno. h. No creo que el programa sea una buena idea. i. Otro: ______________ 16. (Si no est participando) Qu se tendra que cambi ar con el programa para que participara usted? Qu recomendaciones tiene para mejorar los trmites? a. Facilitar los trmites de solicitar atravs de tene r menos requisitos or requisitos ms fcil. b. Tener los formularios disponibles, explicar el proc eso mejor, o hablar del programa en ms lugares. c. Ayuda o apoyo con el proceso de solicitar. d. Bajar o cambiar los requisitos para comprobar que u no es propietario. e. Bajar el costo para los trmites. f. Recibir ms dinero por hectarea. g. Ofrecer un contrato que sea de plazo ms largo. h. Otro: ______________ 17. (Si est participando o ha participado) Qu tena que hacer para obtener un contrato? a. Gast dinero… (en qu? _____________ ) b. Gast tiempo… (haciendo qu? _____________ ) c. Tena que arreglar o encontrar los documentos neces arios de propiedad. d. Tena que solicitar ms que una vez. e. Tena que ponerme en contacto con FONAFIFO despus de solicitar.

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14 f. Tena que ir a una oficina de FONAFIFO y hablar con un encargado despus de enviar la solicitud. g. Otro: ______________ 18. (Si est participando o ha participado) Cunto din ero recibe usted cada ao? 19. (Si est participando o ha participado) Cules otr os beneficios le da a usted el programa? 20. (Si est participando o ha participado) Cules uso s de terreno ya no puede realizar (porque est/estaba participando en el programa)? 21. (Si est participando o ha participado) Tiene suge rencias o recomendaciones para fomentar la participacin de ms personas? a. Facilitar los trmites de solicitar atravs de tene r menos requisitos, tener los formularios disponibles, explicar el proceso mejor, o hablar del programa en ms lugares. b. Ayuda o apoyo con el proceso de solicitar. c. Bajar o cambiar los requisitos para comprobar que u no es propietario. d. Bajar el costo para los trmites. e. Recibir ms dinero por hectarea. f. Ofrecer un contrato que sea de plazo ms largo. g. Otro: ______________ 22. (Si est participando o ha participado) Si tuviera menos propiedad, participara en este programa? 23. En su opinion, porqu es importante o no important e preservar el bosque en su finca? 24. Cree que el programa PSA es til para conservar el bosque en propiedad privada? a. S, porque… b. No, porque… 25. Cuantos aos tiene? a. <25 b. 25-34 c. 35-44 d. 45-54 e. >55 26. Indique su nivel de estudios, por favor. a. Escuela b. Colegio c. Universidad d. Estudios postgraduados 27. Cul proporcin de sus ingresos anuales es/era de los PSA? a. 10% b. 20% c. 30% d. 40% e. 50% f. 60% g. 70% h. 80% i. 90% j. 100%

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15 Interview Questions (English Version) 1. What is your occupation? 2. How many people currently live in your house? 3. Do you live on the property? 4. Do you work on the property? 5. Do you have a personal, farm, or business vehicle? 6. How large is your property (in hectares) and how ma ny hectares of forest do you have? 7. How long have you owned this property? 8. How are you using the forested or regenerating area now? a. Protection b. Ecotourism c. Low-impact wood extraction d. Intensive logging e. Forest crops (without clearcutting) f. Other: ______________ 9. What has it been used for in the past? a. Protection b. Ecotourism c. Low-impact wood extraction d. Intensive logging e. Clearcut for cattle f. Clearcut for crops g. Other: ______________ 10. How many years ago was this use stopped? 11. How do you plan to use the area in the future? a. Protection b. Ecotourism c. Low-impact wood extraction d. Intensive logging e. Forest crops (without clearcutting) f. Clearcut for cattle g. Clearcut for crops h. Other: ______________ 12. Have you heard of the Pagos por Servicios Ambiental es program? ( Y / N ) 13. How did you first find out about the program? 14. Are you currently participating in the PSA program? a. No. b. Yes, I am currently under contract and have receive d payments. c. Yes, I have applied but have not yet been offered a contract. 15. (If you are not participating), why not? a. Don’t know how to apply/not enough information. b. I don’t have the title for my land. c. I don’t meet other requirements (which one(s)? ____ __________ ) d. It’s not worth the trouble/ it’s too hard.

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16 e. It’s too expensive to apply and satisfy the require ments. f. The payments aren’t high enough. g. I want to be free to choose how I use my land. h. I don’t think the PSA program is a good idea. i. Other: ______________ 16. (If you are not participating), what would have to change in order for you to participate? a. Streamline the application process with fewer requi rements or easier requirements. b. Information more available, forms dispensed, or inf ormation disseminated to more places. c. Change the requirements for proving ownership (i.e. deed requirement). d. Lower costs for meeting requirements and/or applyin g. e. Larger payments per hectare. f. Longer contract duration. g. Other: ______________ 17. (If you are participating or have participated), co uld you describe what it took to obtain a contract? What did you have to do to eventually suc ceed in receiving payments? a. Spend money (on what? ______________ ) b. Spend time (doing what? ______________ ). c. Fix or find property documents. d. Apply multiple times. e. Contact the government after your application was s ubmitted. f. Speak in person with a government official after yo ur application was submitted. g. Other: ______________ 18. (If you are participating or have participated), ho w much money do you receive each year? 19. (If you are participating or have participated), wh at other benefits do you feel the program provides you with? 20. (If you are participating or have participated), w hat sacrifices have you had to make? What are you unable to do on the property, now that you are participating in the program? 21. (If you are participating or have participated), ho w would you improve the PSA program to make it easier for more people to preserve more forest or more likely that they will participate? a. Streamline the application process with fewer requi rements or easier requirements. b. Information more available, forms dispensed, or inf ormation disseminated to more places. c. Change the requirements for proving ownership (i.e. deed requirement). d. Lower costs for meeting requirements and/or applyin g. e. Larger payments per hectare. f. Longer contract duration. g. Other: ______________ 22. (If you are participating or have participated), if you had less property, would you still participate in the program? 23. In your opinion, why is it or is it not important t o preserve the forest on your land?

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17 24. Do you think the PSA program is useful for conservi ng forest on private land? Why or why not? a. Yes, because… b. No, because… 25. What is your age? 26. What is your level of education? 27. What proportion of your annual income comes/came fr om the PSA program? a. 10% b. 20% c. 30% d. 40% e. 50% f. 60% g. 70% h. 80% i. 90% j. 100%