The role of situated knowledge and values in reshaping payment for hydrological services programs in Veracruz, Mexico: An actor-oriented approach

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Abstract

Payment for ecosystem services (PES) is a prominent neoliberal, market-based environmental policy tool to promote conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services (ES) that has been applied since the late 1990s in both industrialized and developing countries. Recent studies have documented how PES programs do not actually function as market-based programs, and that they are often modified on the ground by local actors. Adding to this literature, our study uses an actor-oriented approach to examine how local actors in Veracruz, Mexico respond to and make changes to payment for hydrological services (PHS) programs, a prominent PES program used to address water quality and quantity issues. Drawing on interviews with 15 institutional actors and 58 landowners, we investigate how these actors challenge and modify these programs to make them more responsive to local socioecological conditions and needs. Our argument is that situated knowledge about land uses and socioecological conditions, and norms of equity and fairness, play central roles in empowering social actors to alternately adopt, contest, and re-shape PHS programs to better meet local conditions and needs.

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Selfa, T., Urcuqui-Bustamante, A. M., Cordoba, D., Avila-Foucat, V. S., Pischke, E. C., Jones, K. W., … Torrez, D. M. (2022). The role of situated knowledge and values in reshaping payment for hydrological services programs in Veracruz, Mexico: An actor-oriented approach. Journal of Rural Studies, 95, 268–277. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrurstud.2022.09.012

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