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Assessing the effectiveness of payment for environmental services (PES) scheme: The case of Rupa Lake in Nepal

Sharma, Keshav (2011) Assessing the effectiveness of payment for environmental services (PES) scheme: The case of Rupa Lake in Nepal.

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Abstract:The concept of payment for environmental services (PES) has been introduced as a new approach for conservation practices where buyers and sellers are linked through environmental services. In this case study, the buyer is a cooperative, the sellers are Community Forest Users Groups and the environmental service is water in a lake. This study focuses on assessing the effectiveness of a PES scheme in Rupa Lake, Nepal and its watershed area. In particular, the effectiveness of the scheme is considered as the degree to which certain assessment criteria have been achieved. The assessment criteria used are elements of PES, resource manager’s behaviour, land cover changes, socio economic conditions and current livelihood, opportunity cost and institutional settings. Nowadays, remote sensing is used to understand human activities in space. For this study, land cover maps were prepared and areas participating with a PES scheme and non-participating area were compared. The aim is to assess the forest cover and water cover changes. The findings show that there are positive changes in forest cover and water cover after the implementation of the scheme. In addition, a comparison study was undertaken among households between participating and non-participating area in PES scheme for assessing socio-economic condition and current livelihood. However, the results of the socio-economic survey do not reveal the significant positive impacts of the scheme in participating area. There are visible changes in infrastructural development and awareness-raising activities. Nonetheless, while the elements of PES are observed to be weak; the interesting part of the study is a downstream-upstream relationship which differs from the other PES arrangements where upstream sellers are paid for the environmental services they provided. In this case, the annual percentage based payment system from the income generated by fisheries management in the lake and membership in the cooperative set up a linkage to the upstream communities. Thus the scheme provides new insights in PES arrangement in local settings. Apart from these, the creation of conflict on benefits sharing between participating and non-participating areas due to the existing laws is a governance challenge. Keywords: Payment for environmental services, effectiveness, remote sensing, governance challenge
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ITC: Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation
Programme:Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation MSc (75014)
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