Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) provide conditional incentives for forest conservation. PES short-term effects on deforestation are well-documented, but we know less about program effectiveness when participation is sustained over time. Here, we assess the impact of consecutive renewals of PES contracts on deforestation and forest degradation in three municipalities of the Selva Lacandona (Chiapas, Mexico). PES reduced deforestation both after a single 5-year contract and after two consecutive contracts, but the impacts are only detectable in higher deforestation-risk parcels. Enrollment duration increases PES impact in these parcels, which suggests a positive cumulative effect over time. These findings suggest that improved spatial targeting and longer-term enrollment are key enabling factors to improve forest conservation outcomes in agricultural frontiers.
Charoud, H., Costedoat, S., Izquierdo-Tort, S., Wunder, S. et al. Sustained participation in a Payments for Ecosystem Services program reduces deforestation in a Mexican agricultural frontier. Sci Rep 13, 22314 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-023-49725-7