Decentralized payments for environmental services: The cases of Pimampiro and PROFAFOR in Ecuador
Wunder, S. & Albán, M. 2008, "Decentralized payments for environmental services: The cases of Pimampiro and PROFAFOR in Ecuador", Ecological Economics, vol. 65, no. 4, pp. 685-698.
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CIFOR, Convênio Embrapa-CIFOR, Trav. Enéas Pinheiro s/n, CEP 66.095-100, Belém, Brazil
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PROFAFOR has used mostly exotic eucalyptus and pines, but in 1993 began to experiment with native species.
This article describes two payment for environmental services (PES) programs in Ecuador which, unlike the programs run in other countries by national authority, are run by decentralized organizations: Pimampiro municipal watershed-protection scheme and PROFAFOR carbon-sequestration programme.
The authors have collected information from interviews, community workshops, and socioeconomic data to evaluate the programs for additionality (adding to conservation), welfare or poverty alleviation, and the control of leakage.
In 2000, the municipality of Pimampiro established the PES program, designed by the NGO Cederena, to protect native vegetation, improve water quality, and halt the expansion of agriculture upstream of the urban area.
By 2005, there were 19 operational contaracts with a total area of 550 ha under contract, in which payments of $6-12 per hectare were paid per year for forest and paramo protection and regeneration.
In 1993, the PROFAFOR carbon sequestration programme was started by the Forests Absorbing Carbon-dioxide Emissions (FACE) consortium and financed by dutch electricity companies to offsett carbon emissions by fixing carbon in the trees.
Initially, exotic pines and eucalyptus were used, but since 1999 the project has experimented with native species.
By 2005, there were 162 operational contracts with a total area of 22,287 ha under contract, in which payments consisted of $100-200 per hectare in fees, 70-100% value of the harvested wood, and 100% value of non-wood and sub-products.
Both projects have benefited participants through additional income, have contributed to additionality of forest, and have had relatively low leakage.
However, the authors assert that the added income, though beneficial, cannot be considered "poverty alleviation" and there are many factors contributing to these "successes" beyond the project design.
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