The Role of Property Rights Regimes and Spatial Scales for the Effectiveness of Payments for Ecosystem Services Programs
The novel conservation approach of payments for ecosystems services (PES), often described as market-based nature conservation, enjoys an increasing popularity among scientists, politicians and civil organizations alike, while others raise concerns regarding the ecological effectiveness and social justice aspects. PES programs are implemented at various spatial scales reaching from local to international schemes and they are built on different property right regimes as well. The proposed doctoral thesis aims at investigating the role of the program size and the design of property rights for the social and ecological effectiveness of PES.
The working hypothesis is inspired by Elinor Ostroms research on “Governing the Commons”, which highlighted the advantages of interlaced and complex local governmental systems that allow for a direct participation and cooperation of citizens instead of centralized state interventions or privatizations of previously commonly used ecosystems and their provided services. Thus, this thesis wants to broaden the common focus on privatization dependent market tools at all levels of scale by evaluating the potentials of linking local and commonly hold property rights with the PES approach. By filling this research gap this study aims at gaining important information for practitioners and politicians to improve environmental policy instruments.