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Water and Payment of Environmental Services in Costa Rica

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  21st Century Watershed Technology: Improving Water Quality and Environment Conference Proceedings, 21-24 February 2010, Universidad EARTH, Costa Rica  701P0210cd.(doi:10.13031/2013.29440)
Authors:   Ricardo O Russo
Keywords:   payment for environmental services, environmental services, Watershed protection, hydrological services, Costa Rica

Costa Rica has been a leader among Latin American countries in the design of and development of a system of payment for environmental services (ES) to preserve its forests. Since 1997, a program locally called Pagos de Servicios AMBIENTALES (known as PSA in Spanish, or Payments for Environmental Services, PES in English), has been providing payments to farmers and forest owners for reforestation, forest conservation, and sustainable forest management activities. Costa Rica's Forest Law 7575 recognizes four ES provided by the forest ecosystems: i) Carbon sequestration and storage (mitigation of GHG emissions); ii) Watershed protection (hydrological services); iii) Biodiversity protection (conservation); and iv) Landscape beauty (for recreation and ecotourism). Furthermore, this PES program has been an instrument of wealth redistribution that comes to fortify the family economies in rural areas.

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