Modeling spatial diversity: A forest-site selection tool for the Costa Rican program of Payments for Environmental Services (PES)
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This presentation describes research to address problems with the current setup of Costa Rica’s PES program. The budget is too small to cover all the priority areas; the subsequent use of random selection reduces the delivered benefits because it does not consider the relative value of specific sites or probability of forest loss. Fixed payment amounts also do not account for variable opportunity costs, and thus decrease cost-efficiency.
Research was undertaken to develop a site-selection tool that accounts for delivery of environmental services, opportunity costs, and probability of deforestation in order to acquire more environmental benefits with the same limited budget. GIS is used as a data facilitating framework, in conjunction with a maximization function.
Challenges include administrative logistics, scientific questions, and political issues. Scientific challenges include determining values for environmental services, relating values of 4 different environmental services (biodiversity, water, carbon, and scenic beauty), assessing the risk of deforestation, and determining the level of payment.