Students from across the world are gaining a practical perspective on rewards for environmental services by working with target communities at PRESA sites.
The PRESA students are liaising with development organizations and government departments as they seek to understand the policy context behind rewards for environmental services.
Currently, PRESA has four students working at the Tanzania and Uganda sites.
Rohit Jindal and Mamta Vardhan, from Michigan State University, are doing their PhD research at the Uluguru Mountains. Rohit is studying the willingness of farmers to participate in rewards for environmental services. He intends to find out the levels of payment that match losses made by farmers when they stop destructive activities such as tree felling, slash and burn or cultivating on slopes.
Mamta is looking at the various types of forestry management in Tanzania. One of the interesting discoveries she has made is that, because of low funding for forest conservation, village management committees get funds by collecting fines from transgressors.
In places that are too far away for illegal logging, villagers complain that, “there isn’t enough crime” to pay for conservation. This is certainly a reverse form of rewards for environmental services by hard-pressed communities.
In Western Uganda, Sarah Carter is carrying out a social and economic assessment on behalf of the Plan Vivo Project at the Bushenyi site. For over two months, Sarah has had interviews with the District Environmental Officer, community based organizations and other stakeholders. She is soon flying back home to the United Kingdom to analyze the data.
Also at Bushenyi is Janet Fisher, another British student. Janet is doing her PhD at the University of East Anglia and she is in Uganda studying the role of European corporations in conserving tropical forests. She will be analyzing the evolution of environmental conservation from ‘conservation for its own sake’ towards the current market-driven thinking. In this regard, Janet is working withthe Uganda Carbon Bureau and its carbon forestry projects.
PRESA offers opportunities for students and their professors to help implement, assess and design its activities. The World Agroforestry Centre is framing research on rewards for environmental services around 13 questions. Please click here for more information.