Contact person: Adriana Chacon 


The main case study area is Hojancha, a town located in the Nicoya Peninsula, in the northwestern are of Costa Rica. the Costa Rican case study, environmental effectiveness and cost efficiency of the PES is assessed in different manners. The analysis also considers the co-existance of this mechanism with Forest Law, certification schemes and protected areas. 

The different analysis performed within the case study offer insights into existing research questions related to opportunity and transaction cost modeling (cost efficiency); path dependency of the development and evolution of the PES program and instrument design (social and political legitimacy); and, ecological effectiveness of the PES program. Our analysis offer important methodological innovations for impact analysis such as: (i) the use of opportunity cost mapping as a management tool; (ii) the evaluation of optimal conservation policymixes using Marxan with Zones; (iii) the introduction of scale in the analysis of PES effectiveness on biodiversity conservation, carbon, and hydrological services; and (iv) the usage of mixed methods impact evaluation for the analysis of PES. 

From the cost opportunity analysis we demonstrated the existence of large differences in opportunity costs of conservation implied by two extreme management hypotheses: full law enforcement and none enforcement of forest law. We discuss the implications of these alternative assumptions for reserve site selection modelling using tools such as Marxan with Zones. We discuss the pros and cons of using such maps to spatially target PES and/or set payment levels. In regards to legitimacy, we conducted an evaluation of socio-economic impact of two of the most extensively used PES contract modalities in Nicoya Peninsula. Results show no socio-economic impact of those PES modalities on socio economic indicators, which goes in line with previous findings. We also analyzed the interaction between protected areas and PES in terms of ecological effectiveness. We concluded that these instruments are perfect substitutes as the sum of their impact when enforced separately is higher than their impact when applied together.

  • Cárdenas et al. 2014. Costa Rica: Effectivity of PES carbon balance in livestock systems in Nicoya peninsula, Costa Rica
  • Chacón-Cascante et al. 2013. Evaluating the policymix path dependency of PES using socio-ecological system characteristics: the case of Hojancha, Nicoya and Nandayure
  • Chacón-Cascante et al. 2014. Social Impact evaluation of forest conservation and reforestation PES contracts in Hojancha
  • Chacón-Cascante, al. (2012). Costa Rica: National level assessment of the role of economic instruments in the conservation policymix. Report 2/2012
  • Porras, I. , A. Chacon Cascante, D.N.Barton, D. Tobar (2014) Ecosystems for Sale. Land prices and payments for ecosystem services in Costa Rica
  • Porras, I., Barton, D.N, Miranda, M. and Chacón-Cascante, A. (2013). Learning from 20 years of Payments for Ecosystem Services in Costa Rica. International Institute for Environment and Development, London.
  • Ramos-Bendaña et al. 2014. Evaluating spatial targeting of payments for forest ecosystem services: Using ‘policy benchmark scenarios’ derived from conservation planning tools
  • Robalino et al. Substitutability and complementarity of forest conservation policies
  • Rugtveit, S.V., D. N. Barton, S. Navrud, A. Chacón Cascante (2013) Transaction and compliance costs of payments for ecosystem services in a public-private benefits framework - a case study from Peninsula de Nicoya, Costa Rica. Submitted to Ecosystem Services
  • Sanchez, Oscar (2014): Arreglos Institucionales del Programa de Pago por Servicios Ambientales (PSA) en Costa Rica
  • Santos, R., May, P., Barton, D.N., and Ring, I. (eds.) 2014. Comparative assessment of policy mixes across case studies - common design factors and transferability of assessment results. Report 1/2014.