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Unformatted text preview: Section 101/102 EEP C101/ECON C125 April 11, 2011 GSI: Anna Spurlock Today: Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) Today we will consider a real-life scenario where a system of Payment for Ecosystem Services may be applicable. We will discuss the issues involved in establishing such a system in this context, drawing from the concept from lecture. The part of Yemen where most of the population lives is very mountainous. Many small villages are scattered throughout the peaks and valleys. There are two kinds of farming done in Yemen. Farming on the mountain slopes, which requires terrace construction and maintenance, and farming in the valleys. Yemen experiences monsoon rains during the summer, which is the primary growing season. The rains often are very intense for short periods of time, and can cause land slides and flooding. In recent years a long-term drought, combined with increased employment opportunities in the cities and abroad, has caused many rural Yemeni farmers to give up farming and to stop maintaining their terrace walls, allowing them to collapse and degrade. In most cases if a farmer chooses to leave their land untended this wouldn’t directly impact the surrounding farmers, but in Yemen, because of the terraces, the mountainous terrain, and the monsoon rains, this is not the case. If a farmer high up on the slope abandons his terraces, the rains will cause his terraces to collapse, and soil and rocks with slide down the slope onto the terraces of the farmers down-slope from him. This will make the down-slope terraces more expensive, and in some cases impossible, to maintain. This will make it more likely that farmers down-slope will abandon their terraces. In addition to this, if all the terraces on the slopes surrounding a particular valley get abandoned, then the water from the heavy rains will run down the mountainsides unchecked by the terraces, and will pick up a lot of force, along with a lot of soil, rocks and debris along the way. This damaging flood will all run into the valley and build up sediment that will reduce the soil fertility, and causes the floods that run through the valley to get higher and more damaging, potentially becoming more destructive to habitations and property low on the valley slopes. 1 Abandoned up- slope terraces: Causes increased landslides and increased quantity and velocity of water flowing downhill. Damage to down-slope terraces Damage to down-slope buildings and property from increased flooding and landslides Sediment buildup and damage due to increased flooding in valley farms 1. Is this a situation where a PES scheme might work? • Yes, under certain conditions discussed below. 2. Who should pay the PES?...
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- Spring '11
- Environmental Economics, PES