Valuing forest hydrologic services in Costa Rican farmscapes
Cotacachi Velásquez, Néstor David
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I assessed the economic value of tropical mountain forests’ hydrologic services in two localities of Costa Rica, Turrialba and Guácimo, using the Contingent Valuation Method. The survey elicited the willingness–to–pay (WTP) of various water consumers to fund a local Payment for Environmental Services Program (PES), for hydrologic protection, through a water conservation fee. Results indicate that the mean WTP is US$11.69 to the logit model, and US$7.54 to the linear model. Value estimates about the benefits of hydrologic services conservation provides information to design policy instruments and programs to halt the rapid loss of environmental services. A cost–benefit approach determined that the adoption of a local PES program to finance the conservation of hydrologic services is feasible; however, it may not necessarily result in Pareto improvement. For rural communities in the tropical mountains, hydrologic services require urgent protection. Therefore, it is necessary to find alternative mechanisms to finance conservation and promote equity.