Reconciling Environment and Development? Exploring the Potential for PES in the Brazilian Pantanal
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In recent years, Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) have gained popularity among scientists and policy-makers as a strategy to achieve both environment and development objectives. However, PES has not yet been introduced to the Brazilian Pantanal, despite the outstanding value of the ecosystem services that this wetland provides to humans. This dissertation explores the potential for PES in the Brazilian Pantanal by identifying and evaluating principal relevant context factors to construct plausible visions of the future of the area. Exploratory scenario analysis is employed as a method to condense complex information into four simple and readily understandable scenario storylines. The results of this analysis indicate that PES may only become a relevant environmental policy in the Pantanal under very specific conditions. These include a strong increase in environmental awareness among local decision-makers and the population as well as the presence of severe and tangible threats to human populations as a result of environmental degradation that cannot be abated by technology. These findings suggest that current enthusiasm for PES may fade at some point in the future as outlined in three of the four scenarios, unless significant socio-ecological changes take place. Furthermore, the potential for PES may be more dependent on context factors than on technical issues around its institutional set-up.