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Only One Tree from Each Seed? Environmental Effectiveness and Poverty Alleviation in Programs of Payments for Ecosystem Services
RFF Academic Seminar
Jennifer Alix-Garcia, Assistant Professor
Agricultural & Applied Economics, University of Wisconsin - Madison  
Payments for ecosystem services (PES) programs are likely to expand in developing countries under international agreements to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, but empirical evidence on possible environment-poverty tradeoffs is limited. We investigate the tradeoffs between avoided deforestation and poverty alleviation in Mexico’s federal payments for hydrological services program, which compensates landowners for forest protection. To establish counterfactual deforestation rates and household asset growth across time, we use matched controls from the program applicant pool. We find that environmental impact is maximized where poverty is low but that poverty alleviation is maximized where risk of cover change is low. We also show that program implementation costs are significant. These findings suggest that the claim that PES programs can simultaneously alleviate poverty and generate inexpensive carbon sequestration is likely to hold only in limited cases.
Thursday, March 14, 2013
12:00 - 1:30 p.m.
Lunch will be provided.
7th Floor Conference Room
1616 P St. NW
Washington, DC 20036
All seminars will be in the 7th Floor Conference Room at RFF, 1616 P Street NW. Attendance is open, but involves pre-registration no later than two days prior to the event. For questions and to register to an event, please contact Khadija Hill at (tel. 202-328-5174). Updates to our academic seminars schedule will be posted at
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