2023Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.18452/26263
Collective payments for ecosystem services
a counterpart of commodification and privatization trends in nature conservation?
Payments for ecosystem services (PES) gained an increasing importance in science and politics within the last decades. Although the enthusiasm about PES is particularly high in Environmental Economics, opponents criticize the market-based character of PES and the associated commodification as well as privatization trends. By means of a systematic literature review we aim at shedding light on the complex and controversial debate about how to define commodification and related privatization processes and how they are linked to PES outcomes. We do so by setting a particular focus on the potentials and challenges of community-based and collective PES (C-PES), also in contrast to PES targeting land under private land tenure (P-PES). Our results reveal that C-PES show promising results when targeting local communities with a high level of social capital. However, there is a lack of studies that systematically assess the relations between different degrees of commodification and the ecological and social outcome of PES programs. For this reason, we provide a new conceptual framework of commodification by highlighting two interrelated spheres, where PES-related commodification processes take place: The first sphere relates to the commodification of ES-providing land, which greatly depends on the land tenure regime in place. The second sphere addresses the commodification of ecosystem services (ES). Our review indicates that C-PES show rather low degrees of commodification in the first sphere because the ES-providing land is often less embedded into private land markets. This is due to often missing alienation rights, more complex decision-making processes, and a potentially lower profit-orientation of the landowners. Empirical long-term studies are needed to investigate changes in both spheres of commodification over time, their potential interactions, and how they affect the outcome of C-PES and P-PES programs.
The article processing charge was funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) – 491192747 and the Open Access Publication Fund of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.