Research Questions

ICRAF is framing its research on Rewards for Environmental Services around 13 questions

Q1. What combination of actions on negative and positive incentives are most likely to meet one of four levels of propoor:
1. Doesn’t harm the poor;
2. More than offsets harm to the poor;
3. Fairly includes the poor; or
4. Differentially benefits the poor.
Q2. Does the exclusion of socially-marginalized people undermine the effectiveness and sustainability of mechanisms?
Q3. Are mechanisms that involve voluntary engagement in labour-intensive enterprises most likely to differentially benefit the poor (eg reverse auctions for conservation investment)?

Q1. How does the form of conditional payment affect their acceptance in local communities (eg. property rights, monetary payments, public services)
Q2. What are the tradeoffs between fairness and efficiency in geographic and social targeting of positive incentives / payments (eg case of REDD in Indonesia)?
Q3. Do mechanisms with positive incentives undermine social norms of responsible behaviour?}}

Q1. Under what conditions will payments for environmental services lead to sustainable improvements in ecosystem stewardship?

• new norms of acceptable behavior
• Increased uptake of new technologies
• equity investment by beneficiaries
• new forms of livelihood that reduce pressure
• growth in markets for products consistent with sustainability

Q1. Are there strong negative incentives for farmers to practice good environmental stewardship or the private sector to invest in ecosystem services (eg rural taxation, monopoly on power supply)?
Q2. What are the strongest elements of the business case for investment in ecosystem management (compliance, reputation, market niche, cost)?
Q3. What is the possibility of using reverse auction approaches for countering problems of asymmetric information?

Effectiveness / Realistic
Q1. What are the critical spaces in watersheds and mixed-use landscapes where on-farm land use has greatest off-farm effects (eg riverine areas)?
Q2. What are likely time paths of landscape degradation and restoration (lags, hysteresis effects)?
Q3. What elements of agroforestry and other land use systems are most important for landscape function (eg anchoring and binding for landslide risk)?

Are you a student interested in linking with PRESA? We are open to any other appropriate proposals that are linked in one way or the other to these research hypotheses and/or our objectives. Click to learn more about research opportunities.