Effects of payments for ecosystem services on wildlife habitat recovery

Author(s):

Mao-Ning Tuanmu,  Andrés Viña, Wu YangXiaodong Chen, Ashton M. Shortridge, and Jianguo Liu

Journal or Book Title: Conservation Biology

Keywords: : forest monitoring, giant panda, habitat recovery, Natural Forest Conservation Program, park–people conflict, spatiotemporal dynamics, Wolong Nature Reserve

Volume/Issue: Early online

Year Published: 2016

Abstract:

Conflicts between local people’s livelihoods and conservation have led to many unsuccessful conservation efforts and have stimulated debates on policies that might simultaneously promote sustainable management of protected areas and improve the living conditions of local people. Many government-sponsored payments-for-ecosystem-services (PES) schemes have been implemented around the world. However, few empirical assessments of their effectiveness have been conducted, and even fewer assessments have directly measured their effects on ecosystem services. We 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. Our 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, our results also suggest that using an incentivebased 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.

DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12669

Type of Publication: Journal Article

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