The equity and efficiency of incentives to manage ecosystem services for natural resource conservation and rural development Case studies from Lombok, Indonesia and Alta Floresta, Mato Grosso, Brazil

Garrett, Lucy (2014) The equity and efficiency of incentives to manage ecosystem services for natural resource conservation and rural development Case studies from Lombok, Indonesia and Alta Floresta, Mato Grosso, Brazil. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Incentives to manage ecosystem services have been heralded as important mechanisms to increase efficiency in biodiversity conservation and to facilitate greater equity in the distribution of natural resources. These interventions aim to control the use of natural resources by altering resource users’ land-use decisions and environmental behaviours. There is relatively little evidence, however, about the perceived benefits and societal values of incentives, and the institutional effectiveness of incentives to alter land-use behaviours to increase compliance. It is also unclear how incentive-based management institutions align with the local biophysical, social, economic, and political dimensions of the social-ecological systems (SES) in which they are implemented. The thesis examines the ways in which incentives are used to manage ecosystem services and their institutional effectiveness to alter landowner environmental behaviours in the complex reality of the world
It is important to understand the drivers of land-use decisions and environmental behaviours to implement institutions that can address natural resource issues within specific contexts. This thesis contributes to the discourse surrounding the use of incentive-based management that aim to provide motivation for compliant land-use decisions. The research highlights the need to understand the contextual nature of societal values and institutional processes that drive behaviours and determine the ‘fit’ of natural resource governance mechanisms. The recognition of these values and processes enables sufficient ‘incentive effects’ to be provided that can motivate pro-environmental behaviours. The thesis also illustrates the reality of how incentive-based institutions can function on the ground makes it difficult to clearly attribute outcomes to theoretical assumptions on which incentive-based institutions are designed.
Case studies from Lombok, Indonesia and Alta Floresta, Mato Grosso, Brazil were used to illustrate the significance of local participation in decision-making, incentive design, and landowner perception of the benefits of behaviours on compliance outcomes, equity in benefit distribution, and efficient conservation management. A mixed methods approach was used to compare different incentives, which included legal sanctions, religious beliefs, social norms, and economic rewards. The thesis examines institutional function, ‘fit’, and landowner perceptions that can influence compliant pro-environmental behaviours. Spatial analysis, semi-structured questionnaires, key informant interviews, and focus groups were conducted to determine the impact of religious, economic, and customary law incentives on land-use decisions in communities on Lombok. Spatial analysis was used to examine the impact of sanctions in the legal reforms of the Forest Code, Brazil’s forest conservation legislation, on farmer land-use decisions in Alta Floresta.
This thesis finds that ‘incentive effects’ are strongly determined by landowner perceptions of the social and economic cost-effectiveness of compliant behaviour, and the ‘fit’ of incentive-based management to SES’s contexts and dynamics. Institutional ‘fit’ was greater when procedural justice was perceived to be higher. That was driven by stakeholder participation in decision-making, closer links to existing institutions and social norms, and higher community autonomy over incentives. Positive incentives, like religious values and customary laws, were used to generate collective action for pro-environmental behaviours at local levels on Lombok, Indonesia. This generated greater community cooperation when collective action was built on existing social norms, socio-cultural institutions, and ecological dimensions. Incentives for collective action had less impact when they were imposed by external organisations, did not align to the local SES dimensions, and were only focused on increasing efficiency to control natural resource use.
When negative incentives, such as legal sanctions and economic fines, were used to increase compliance with pro-environmental behaviours to protect riparian forests in Alta Floresta, they were found to, in fact, reduce overall compliance. The cost of sanctions and the option to offset illegal deforestation were perceived to be lower than the benefit of non-compliant behaviours like continued deforestation. The ‘incentive effects’ of these sanctions had limited impact to alter environmental behaviours of landowners.
The findings of this study have implications for policies that use incentives as mechanisms to alter land-use behaviour. These findings also have clear relevance for PES and incentive-based design. They move PES beyond its theoretical application to meet the realities of the ‘messy’ world in which they are applied. The application of incentives is highly context specific to the SES in which incentives aim to function. This approach includes a need for the understanding of local perceptions of equity and cost-efficiency, and the impact of SES subsystem dynamics. A more integrated SES approach to understand the required incentives of land-use behaviours can enable a greater ‘fit’ of incentive-based institutions to local contexts, which may address environmental issues that can lead to a more sustainable use and equitable distribution of natural resources.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of International Development
Depositing User: Users 2259 not found.
Date Deposited: 01 Jul 2015 09:15
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2015 09:15

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