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Supporting ecosystem services provision by agricultural system: potential and limits of policy instruments in Costa Rica and France

Bonin M., Le Coq J.F., Aznar O.. 2014. In : 7th Annual ESP Conference 2014: Local action for the common good: session ES in agricultural ecosystems to enhance ecosystem services : specificities in concepts, measurement methods and promotion tools & Managing biodiversity and ES in agricultural h. s.l. : s.n., n.p.. Annual ESP Conference. 7, 2014-09-08/2014-09-12, San José (Costa Rica).

Ecosystem Services based mechanisms, such as Payment for Environmental Services (PES), have been largely analyzed in relation to forest conservation or management. However, PES schemes to promote ES derived from agricultural activities are still limited; existing agricultural policy instruments have been poorly analyzed in relation to the provision of ES. In this communication, we identify the opportunities and limitations to support ES provision of two agriculture oriented policy instruments: agri-environmental measures (AEM) in France and the program of recognition for environmental benefits (REB) in Costa Rica. Based on interviews with the institutional actors in charge of the implementation of the policies and with the beneficiaries at national and local level, we draw insights of their application using an analysis framework based on PES literature. Several criteria of analysis are selected (Engel et al, 2008, Muradian et al., 2013): effectiveness and efficiency, additionnality, legitimacy, distributional implications, crowding-out effect of monetary incentives on intrinsic motivations, trap of compensation logic. Using these criteria, we identify similarities and differences between these two policy instruments. The issue of additionality and payment for existing practices arise for both instruments. AEM remain in a compensation logic, while REB pay an investment for the provision of ES. AEM tend to reproduce the unequal distribution of agricultural subsidies. Several variables show a democratization of the use of the REB to the most disadvantaged agricultural populations (but the results remain contradictory for some variables). We finally highlight the main debates that are facing the agricultural policy instruments to better promote ES provision by agricultural system. We identify lessons that may be learnt from this analysis to improve the articulation between agricultural and conservation policies.

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