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Negotiation analysis for mechanisms to deliver ecosystem services
The case of soil conservation in Costa Rica
The nature and structure of institutional mechanisms is fundamental for commons management, and yet has received relatively little attention for ecosystem service provision. In this paper, we develop and employ a value-focused structured decision process for a negotiation analysis about mechanisms to maintain and enhance ecosystem service (ES) provision at the watershed scale. We use a case study in the Birris watershed of Costa Rica where upstream farmers and downstream hydropower might jointly benefit from the design of a mechanism to foster the provision of soil regulation services (SRS). We identify and use parties' fundamental objectives, and views on means to achieve these objectives, to structure a negotiation template representing the important components that a soil conservation program should include. A voting-based elicitation process was employed to identify sub-alternatives acceptable both parties, which in turn identifies the zone of bargaining, or negotiation space in which future negotiations should focus. We conclude with discussion of the potential for application of this approach to other ES contexts, and the importance of the overall policy framework to provide resources and incentives to achieve enhance ES provision.