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Watershed-based payment for ecosystem services in Liberia: Examining prospects and challenges for implementation in the St. Paul River Basin

Innis, Phillip LU (2016) In IIIEE Masters Thesis IMEN41 20162
The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics
Abstract
Payments for watershed services (PWS) are intended to provide incentives to land users to adopt sustainable land management practices. They are also increasingly viewed as having positive impacts on the livelihood of local communities around protected areas. The St. Paul River, located in the St. Paul River basin, is the main source of potable water and hydroelectricity to Monrovia, a city with about 25% of the population of Liberia. As this area is currently encumbered with degradation, the key question is what measures could motivate landholders to adopt sustainable land use practices that would protect the basin. The main purpose of this thesis is therefore to assess the potential for PWS as a sustainable financial tool for the... (More)
Payments for watershed services (PWS) are intended to provide incentives to land users to adopt sustainable land management practices. They are also increasingly viewed as having positive impacts on the livelihood of local communities around protected areas. The St. Paul River, located in the St. Paul River basin, is the main source of potable water and hydroelectricity to Monrovia, a city with about 25% of the population of Liberia. As this area is currently encumbered with degradation, the key question is what measures could motivate landholders to adopt sustainable land use practices that would protect the basin. The main purpose of this thesis is therefore to assess the potential for PWS as a sustainable financial tool for the protection of the basin, as well as helping to fill the gaps between the theoretical concept of PWS and the practical implementation of a PWS scheme. A qualitatively driven mixed research approach is applied for this research, using a combination of literature review, desk-based ex-post evaluation of PWS schemes in two African countries, and an ex-ante evaluation of the potentialities of the establishment of PWS in the St. Paul River Basin. Results show that there are factors favourable for a PWS scheme such as a high willingness to accept payments for the adoption of sustainable land use practices, high incidence of land tenure security, a high recognition of the importance of the watershed to the local communities, and identified potential buyers, amongst others. Unfavourable conditions for the establishment of a PWS in the basin include no knowledge of PWS in the area, low trust in NGOs and public authorities, low technical capacity amongst landholders, knowledge gaps and lack of training at the local level regarding the adoption of new technologies, establishment and maintenance costs, opportunity costs, low levels of pre-existing organisation, lack of scientific data on the environmental health of the watershed, amongst others. Based on the analysis of both the favourable and unfavourable conditions, three possible models for a proposed PWS are recommended for the watershed: (1). Direct payments from potential buyers (2). Establishment of a local watershed fun, (3). Establishment of a national watershed fund. Lastly, addressing the excessive dependence on fuel wood and charcoal in Liberia, which is a major contributing factor to the degradation of the watersheds, should be part of the discourse on the protection of the watershed. (Less)
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author
Innis, Phillip LU
supervisor
organization
course
IMEN41 20162
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
payments for watershed services, ecosystem services, sustainable land-use practices
publication/series
IIIEE Masters Thesis
report number
2016:43
ISSN
1401-9191
language
English
id
8893185
date added to LUP
2016-10-11 03:15:05
date last changed
2016-10-11 03:15:05
@misc{8893185,
  abstract     = {Payments for watershed services (PWS) are intended to provide incentives to land users to adopt sustainable land management practices. They are also increasingly viewed as having positive impacts on the livelihood of local communities around protected areas. The St. Paul River, located in the St. Paul River basin, is the main source of potable water and hydroelectricity to Monrovia, a city with about 25% of the population of Liberia. As this area is currently encumbered with degradation, the key question is what measures could motivate landholders to adopt sustainable land use practices that would protect the basin. The main purpose of this thesis is therefore to assess the potential for PWS as a sustainable financial tool for the protection of the basin, as well as helping to fill the gaps between the theoretical concept of PWS and the practical implementation of a PWS scheme. A qualitatively driven mixed research approach is applied for this research, using a combination of literature review, desk-based ex-post evaluation of PWS schemes in two African countries, and an ex-ante evaluation of the potentialities of the establishment of PWS in the St. Paul River Basin. Results show that there are factors favourable for a PWS scheme such as a high willingness to accept payments for the adoption of sustainable land use practices, high incidence of land tenure security, a high recognition of the importance of the watershed to the local communities, and identified potential buyers, amongst others. Unfavourable conditions for the establishment of a PWS in the basin include no knowledge of PWS in the area, low trust in NGOs and public authorities, low technical capacity amongst landholders, knowledge gaps and lack of training at the local level regarding the adoption of new technologies, establishment and maintenance costs, opportunity costs, low levels of pre-existing organisation, lack of scientific data on the environmental health of the watershed, amongst others. Based on the analysis of both the favourable and unfavourable conditions, three possible models for a proposed PWS are recommended for the watershed: (1). Direct payments from potential buyers (2). Establishment of a local watershed fun, (3). Establishment of a national watershed fund. Lastly, addressing the excessive dependence on fuel wood and charcoal in Liberia, which is a major contributing factor to the degradation of the watersheds, should be part of the discourse on the protection of the watershed.},
  author       = {Innis, Phillip},
  issn         = {1401-9191},
  keyword      = {payments for watershed services,ecosystem services,sustainable land-use practices},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {IIIEE Masters Thesis},
  title        = {Watershed-based payment for ecosystem services in Liberia: Examining prospects and challenges for implementation in the St. Paul River Basin},
  year         = {2016},
}