WHEN PAYMENT FOR ECOSYSTEM SERVICES MEETS CULTURE: A CULTURE THEORY PERSPECTIVE

Scholarship on payment for ecosystem services (PES) programs have often overlooked the role of culture to explain important variations in local PES governance. This paper is a first stab at introducing Cultural Theory to analyze how different cultural worldviews for natural resource management (NRM) influence PROSAPIX, a local PES program, in Mexico. We show that the government’s hierarchical worldview coexists with local historically-forged egalitarian worldviews. SENDAS, the PES intermediary NGO, advocates for a PES governance that empowers ejidos (communally-owned lands) for bottom-up decision making and depart from the government’s hierarchist culture. SENDAS also tries to balance conflicting worldviews about the commons and nature that arise between ejidos and PES neoliberal culture. We argue that variations in PES governance are never simply the effect of individual values and behavior but are closely linked to how social groups culturally understand natural resource management and the clash and cooperation that emerge among them.

 

Acknowledgements

This research would not have been possible without the collaboration and cooperation of staff at FIDECOAGUA and SENDAS, and the households that graciously participated in this study.

 

Additional information

Funding

This work was supported by the National Science Foundation Dynamics of Coupled Natural-Human Systems (CNH) program grant no. 1313804.

 

Notes

1 This study was part of a larger project that included 52 additional interviews in an adjacent subwatershed and a household survey in both subwatersheds.

Pobladores are the children of ejidatarios and the people without land and without family ties with the ejido group.

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