_ Vignola R., McDaniels T.L., Scholz R.W., 2009. Decision-making of upstream farmers for targeting policies on ecosystem services: cognitive and socio-economic variables for soil regulation services in Costa Rica. Land Use Policy, doi:10.1016/j.landusepol.2010.03.003.
Abstract: The impact of climate change on farm soils in the tropics is the combined result of short-term soil management decisions and expanding precipitation extremes. This is particularly true for cultivated lands located in steeply sloping areas where bare soil is exposed to extreme rainfall such as the Birris watershed in Costa Rica. Farmers in this watershed are affected by increasing degradation of soil regulation services and respond with different level of efforts to conserve their soils. This paper examines influences on farmers’ decisions through a survey involving interviews with a sample of farmers (n = 56) to test hypotheses on how a combination of cognitive variables (beliefs, risk perception, values) and socioeconomic variables shape decisions on soil conservation. Results show that farmers’ awareness of their exposure level to soil erosion combines with other variables to determine their level of soil conservation. Using discriminant analysis, three groups of farmers were identified based on their soil conservation efforts. ANOVA pairwise-comparison among these groups showed significant differences in respect to levels of awareness, perception of risk, and personal beliefs along with territorial exposure and participation in soil conservation programs. Our results help to understand farmers’ complex decision-making on soil conservation and help designing policies to support the provision of soil regulation services especially in areas highly exposed to increasing frequency of extreme precipitation events such as Central America.
Vignola, R., Decision-processes concerning the management of ecosystem services for ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change. PhD Thesis ETHZ (2010). doi:10.3929/ethz-a-006207064.
Vignola R., McDaniels T.L., Scholz R.W., 2012. Negotiation analysis for mechanisms to deliver ecosystem services: the case of soil conservation in Costa Rica. Ecological Economics. In press.
Abstract: The nature and structure of institutional mechanisms is fundamental for commons management, and yet has received relatively little attention for ecosystem service provision. In this paper, we develop and employ a value-focused structured decision process for a negotiation analysisabout mechanisms to maintain and enhance ecosystem service (ES) provision at the watershed scale.We use a case study in the Birris watershed of Costa Rica where upstream farmers and downstreamhydropower might jointly benefit from the design of a mechanism to foster the provision of soilregulation services (SRS). We identify and use parties' fundamental objectives, and views on means to achieve these objectives, to structure a negotiation template representing the important components that a soil conservation program should include. A voting-based elicitation process was employed to identify sub-alternatives acceptable both parties, which in turn identifies the zone of bargaining, or negotiation space in which future negotiations should focus. We conclude with discussion of the potential for application of this approach to other ES contexts, and the importance of the overall policy framework to provide resources and incentives to achieve enhance ES provision.
Vignola, R.,Klinsky, S., Tam, J., McDaniels, T., 2012. Public perception, knowledge and policy support for mitigation and adaption to Climate Change in Costa Rica: Comparisons with North American and European studies. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, In Press.
Abstract: Over the past 20 years considerable efforts have been invested in exploring how the public understands climate change. However, the bulk of this research has been conducted in Europe and North America and little is known about public perceptions of climate change in developing countries. This article presents the results of the first nationally representative study (n = 1473) of public perceptions of climate change in Costa Rica.In Costa Rica, a large proportion of interviewees (i.e. over 85%) are highly concerned about climate change in general and feel, as noted in European and North American studies, that its impacts are more worrisome for people farthest away (e.g. in the developed countries or among future generations). At the local level, people feel that food (10.5%) and water (16.1%) shortages as well as poverty (11.3%) and heat waves (11.7%) are the most expected impacts of climate change. Analysis of adaptation behaviour responses suggest that individuals have a relatively lower grasp of emergency and prevention disaster plans but are relatively more proactive in preventing hydro-meteorological extremes related to water scarcity or excess. A majority of respondents engage in mitigation behaviours largely for financial or contextual reasons. Finally, support for adaptation and mitigation policy responses is generally high (i.e. above 70% of interviewee supports them) except for the case of internalizing the cost of watershed protection increasing the water tariffs (52.5%). As discussions about mitigation and adaptation become increasingly common within developing countries, questions about public perceptions in that context are more pressing than ever. Work on climate perceptions needs to be carried out in specific countries to better understand which policies are most likely to resonate with public support, and which might be most difficult to implement.
Vignola, R., Gonzalez, J., McDaniels, T., Would payments for ecosystem services motivate local farmers to conserve soil?. Journal of Environmental Management, Submitted.
Abstract: We studied the motivations and values of local farmers regarding soil conservation practices in the Birris watershed in East-Central Costa Rica. We also analysed their responses to a hypothetical payment for ecosystem services (PES) bidding scheme. We found that farmers’ motivations for engaging in soil conservation are complex and that a PES scheme in this context does not address many of the reasons why farmers are not engaging soil conservation practices as much as they could. We suggest that PES schemes focused on small parcels in similar contexts should seek more complex policies that are attuned to local needs and address the multiple challenges that local users face when trying to better provide and conserve ecosystem services.
Vignola, R., McDaniels, T., Scholz, R., Identifying Boundary Organizations with a Structural Network Analysis: a case study of Soil Regulation Services in Costa Rica. Submitted to Environmental Science and Policy.
Abstract: Ecosystem service degradation, exacerbated by climate change, requires flexible and effective communication within governance systems to foster actions that reverse current trends and can cope with changing conditions. Key boundary organizations play important roles in translating and communicating information to a variety of actors across administrative scales and policy areas in complex governance networks concerned with ecosystem services. In this paper, we use quantitative analysis of information flows, perceived influence and competence within a multi-actors’ governance network to identify key boundary organizations for an example involving soil regulation services in a watershed in Costa Rica. Here, heavy soil erosion (due to intense cultivation on steep slopes, and increasing frequency of extreme precipitation events) affects both farmers (by loss of fertile topsoil) and hydroelectric generation (by rapid siltation of reservoirs downstream). To gauge the information-bridging capacities of organizations we use the network parameter betweenness centrality, and we created two new parameters to measure the extent of cross-scale and cross-policy area exchange of information of the organizations. The regional agricultural extension office is identified, among others, as a crucial boundary organization, in keeping with other studies of agricultural systems. The results also show that network analysis provides an empirical basis for understanding information flows and influence in governance networks, in order to identify key organizations. In this manner, we can diagnose potential bottlenecks, when these organizations lack the resources to achieve their mandates and need support to strengthen their efforts in information provision and influence in governance for ecosystem services.
Vignola, R., Lane, O., McDaniels, T., Exploring strategies for climate change adaptation and ecosystem service enhancement with participatory scenario planning: A case study from Costa Rica. In Prep.
Abstract: Programs addressing the degradation of Soil Regulation Services (SRS) face significant uncertainties regarding their future performance, due to the complex interaction of climate change and inappropriate land management practices. Nevertheless, watershed land use alternatives to status-quo need to be identified with and discussed among relevant stakeholders in order to design socially acceptable solutions. In this paper we present a case study in which we use an iterative process to engage experts and stakeholders in designing and discussing alternative land use scenarios to deal with uncertainty faced in SRS conservation. Our case study is the Birris watershed in Costa Rica, a country that is highly affected by soil erosion especially due to high sloping lands and by frequent and intense extreme precipitation events. Inappropriate soil management further complicates these problems. We engage stakeholders directly concerned with the on- and off-site effects of SRS degradation (including upstream farmers located in high sloping areas affected by erosion and a downstream hydropower facility affected by the dam’s siltation) in a participatory scenario planning exercise to identify preferences on possible land use alternatives to promote conservation in the area. After eliciting their preferences on land use scenarios within the watershed indicate that these actors clearly prefer alternatives different from the status-quo and they support win-win land use strategies that protect SRS through soil conservation practices that maintain current land uses.
_McDaniels T., Vignola R. 2008. Climate adaptation decisions in environmental contexts: Seeking robust alternatives and building institutional mechanisms. Presentation at the Annual meeting of the Climate Decision-making Centre, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, May 2008, USA.