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The efficiency of the Costa Rican payment for environmental services program under discussion

Legrand T., Froger G., Le Coq J.F.. 2011. Montpellier : CIRAD, 26 p.. numero_rapport: Document de travail n°2011-09.

Based on a review of the literature and on interviews of different local stakeholders, this paper assesses the efficiency of the Costa Rican Payment for Environmental Services Program (PESP) as a conservation tool focusing on its main modality: the forest protection one. The PESP has had a low direct impact on the forest cover of the country but may have had an important indirect impact as it served as compensation for the prohibition of forested land uses change. Furthermore, the PESP appears to have a better impact at a lower cost than the protected area network, the main alternative as a conservation tool. The PESP appeared also quite competitive from the point of view of its costs before the institutional transformation that occurs in 2008. A significant potential for improvement of the PESP efficiency exists on the short term but may affect its legitimacy and impact the social norms and values dealing with conservation in a way that could jeopardize the program effects on the long term.

Mots-clés : conservation des ressources; politique de l'environnement; protection de la forêt; forêt tropicale; costa rica; service environnemental

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