The environmental service (ES) concept and the idea of economic incentives for environmental conservation were combined and applied to Payment for Environmental Services (PES) Programs implemented all over the world. In PES schemes, landowners receive an economic incentive for environmental services provided by their properties. Although there are a great number of ongoing PES programs, there is enormous uncertainty regarding the factors that lead to a greater or lesser effectiveness of this tool for conservation. The objective of this project is to conduct a systematic assessment of the PES mechanism by matching three complementary approaches and scales. At first, on a global scale, we will evaluate the impact of PES programs on the forest cover of tropical areas comparing areas with PES implementation with adjacent areas that did not receive the incentive. We will use remote sensing data available in databases covering the entire globe. In a second moment, in order to better understand the local heterogeneities and their impact on the effectiveness of PES, we will compare engaged and non-engaged properties in three PES programs in the Atlantic Forest region. We will estimate the probability of an observed increase of a forested area occur as a consequence of the engagement of the landowner in a PES program. Finally, we aim to understand the perspective of the landowner and the factors that influence their decisions concerning land use and the PES. For this purpose, we will interview landowners and test the hypothesis that the perceived fairness concerning the payments and the credibility of those implementing the program are the crucial factors influencing the landowner's decision whether to engage or not in the PES program. This project will bring an important contribution to conservation science, as part of the thematic project "Projeto Interface: Relações entre Estrutura da Paisagem, Processos Ecológicos, Biodiversidade e Serviços Ecossistêmicos" (FAPESP processo 2013/23457-6).
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: