ECOSYSTEM SERVICES - Integrating multiple influencing factors in evaluating the socioeconomic effects of payments for ecosystem servicesDOWNLOAD FILE
August 2, 2021 - Author: Wu, X., J. Liu, B. Fu, S. Wang and Y. Wei
ECOSYSTEM SERVICES - Integrating multiple influencing factors in evaluating the socioeconomic effects of payments for ecosystem services
Integrating multiple external and internal processes into the evaluation of how payments for ecosystem services (PES) programs can affect socioeconomic outcomes allows us to distinguish the relative importance of each factor and identify specific strategies to enhance the desired outcomes of PES programs; yet, the methods available are limited. Based on the framework of metacoupling (human-nature interactions within and across adjacent and distant places), we developed an approach to distinguish the contributions and pathways of multiple influencing factors to socioeconomic outcomes by integrating linkages between influencing factors, livelihood activities, and socioeconomic outcomes. Here, the approach’s operationalization is empirically demonstrated by identifying the impact of the Grain for Green Program (GFGP) and other external and internal factors influencing rural household income in China’s Loess Plateau. We find that the local economy and investment rather than the GFGP were the dominant factors affecting income. With improved understanding of the pathways, several suggestions are proposed for the design and implementation of GFGP and other PES programs around the world. Our study highlights the necessity of applying integrated factors in evaluating socioeconomic effects of PES — a crucial input for guiding practice of PES programs to support sustainable development.