Added value? The Benefits beyond Ecosystem Services for Water Fund Constituents in Ecuador

Authors: Audrey Joslin*, Kansas State University
Topics: Cultural and Political Ecology, Human-Environment Geography, Natural Resources
Keywords: ecosystem services, Ecuador, water fund, value
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Executive Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Water fund schemes rely on a group of urban water users to pay into a fund whose interest is then directed towards financing conservation within and around critical ecosystems. The exchange is critical component of this environmental governance arrangement that is based upon market ideals. While much attention on market-based conservation has been focused upon the practices and outcomes of interventions within the communities and households at the sites of ecosystem service production, less attention has been given to examining the practices and outcomes of participation among those that pay into it. Drawing upon an empirical case study of a model water fund from Ecuador called FONAG, this paper employs data from key informant interviews of constituent representatives to examine the generation of ‘alternative’ forms of value accompanying continued engagement with the water fund, and the shifts in constituent practice to increase capture of value. This research demonstrates the existence of incentives beyond the difficult-to-quantify material returns on ecosystem services investments. In doing so, this research also reveals unevenness in constituent power dynamics.

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