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Paying for watershed services in Latin America: A review of current initiatives

Southgate, D. & Wunder, S. (in press).
Journal of Sustainable Forestry (accepted).


In this paper, Latin American experience with payments for watershed environmental services is examined, with particular attention on the Andes, Brazil, and national programs in Costa Rica and Mexico. Interest in the approach is substantial widespread in the region, certainly more than in other parts of the developing world. However, existing conservation payments frequently lack key features, such as conditionality. Impediments to the approach are analyzed, including factors that drive up its costs or interfere with internalization of its benefits. Accompanying this article are three case studies, one describing full implementation of payments for environmental services in Pimampiro (a small community in northern Ecuador), a second about partial implementation in Quito, Ecuador, and a third about Mexico’s national program.

Keywords: payments for environmental services, watershed conservation, Latin America.

Note: For further information about this publications, please contact the corresponding author, Dr. Sven Wunder (