This project aims to explore the role of different policy instruments in shaping environmental preferences and inducing sustainable land use choices. The main focus is on the role of payments for ecosystem services and information provision.
In particular, two objectives are addressed: (1) to experimentally investigate the effectiveness of different payments for ecosystem services schemes on conservation, and (2) to evaluate the impact of information and other drivers on environmental preferences and behaviour. Our research in EFForTS so far has shed light on implications of payment scheme design for equity outcomes, but the implications for conservation outcomes, which depend also on spatial configuration, remain unclear. Furthermore, in Phase 2 we implemented a randomized controlled trial evaluating the effects of an information campaign and seedling provision on environmental preferences and native tree planting in smallholder oil palm plantations. Our results reveal important differences in planting behaviour between farmers who received seedlings for free and those who received information only and had to acquire their own seedling material.
Building on our previous work, in Phase 3 (work package 1) we plan to implement framed field experiments to test different design options for payments for ecosystem services schemes and their implications for conservation outcomes, focusing explicitly on the spatial configuration of these outcomes. Exploiting close collaboration with B11 Hölscher/Kreft/Wollni, participants in the experiment will be asked to make choices about enrichment planting in oil palm. When designing the payment schemes to be tested in the experiment, a main focus will be on comparing individual versus collective payment mechanisms and their interactions with e.g. different conservation thresholds. Despite their role as potential beneficiaries of ecosystem services, the local urban population is rarely considered when designing policy instruments for sustainable land use. In Phase 3, we will elicit preferences for payment scheme attributes and ecosystem services using choice experiments among urban households in Jambi. In work package 2, we will investigate farmers’ willingness to pay for seedlings and the impact of the distribution mechanism on planting behaviour. Furthermore, using survey questions and a donation game, we will analyse heterogeneity in environmental concern and pro-environmental behaviour between rural and urban households. To evaluate the impact of information on pro-environmental behaviour, we will design and randomly assign different information treatments.