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Nov 2 2023

Moving Beyond Mainstream Economic Valuation in Natural Resource Management: Non-economic values associated with payment for hydrological services programs

The Many Urbanisms of the Global South: Policy Nuances and Particularities

November 2, 2023

10:00 AM - 11:30 AM




412 S. Peoria St., Chicago, IL 60607

Celebrating 50 years of excellence, the Department of Urban Planning and Policy (UPP) at the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs (CUPPA) is excited to organize a seminar series featuring cutting-edge, campus wide urban scholarship and research on the Global South. A program for the series is available here.

Payment for hydrological services (PHS) is a mainstream environmental policy aimed at incentivizing environmentally friendly land management practices that reduce deforestation and forest degradation. As a market-oriented policy, PHS uses traditional economic approaches to ecosystem services valuation that often neglect the complex social, cultural, and spiritual values associated with water, forests, and biodiversity in general. To broaden our understanding of the non-economic values associated with forest conservation, water sources and biodiversity, we conducted in-depth interviews with institutional actors, landowners enrolled in PHS programs and household water users in three locations in Latin America (Mexico and Colombia). We explored the role of local shared values in defining PHS schemes, eligibility criteria and expected outcomes and inquired into their potential for supporting innovations in PHS programs. In this work, we highlight the non-economic values associated with PHS programs and water/forest conservation, including trust, transparency, reciprocity, fairness, and shared responsibility, and discuss their significance for PHS design, implementation, and effectiveness. We conclude with recommendations for ways in which PHS advocates can explore local shared values and facilitate their involvement in PHS design.


David López-García, PhD

Date posted

Sep 1, 2023

Date updated

Sep 7, 2023