Environmental Management

, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 562–571

Costa Rican Environmental Service Payments: The Use of a Financial Instrument in Participatory Forest Management

  • Miriam Miranda
  • Carel Dieperink
  • Pieter Glasbergen


The core element of the Costa Rican forestry policy is a financial instrument called the environmental service payment. This instrument rewards forest owners for the environmental services (the mitigation of greenhouse gases, the protection of watersheds and scenic beauty, and the development of biodiversity) their forests provide. In this article, the experiences with this new instrument are analyzed by focusing on the way interests are represented and access is granted, the openness of information exchange, whether social learning occurred, and whether decision-making authority is shared. The analysis is based on a survey conducted in the Huetar Norte Region and on in-depth interviews with the major stakeholders. The Costa Rican case indicates that financial instruments can be used to share responsibilities and that stakeholders can successfully cooperate on forest issues. It also shows that such a participatory approach is only promising if certain cultural, economic, organizational, and political conditions are met.


Forestry management Participatory management Natural resources management Financial instruments Incentives Costa Rica Environmental Service Payments 


  1. Alfaro M. 2001. Personal communication with M. Alfaro, President of the Camara Costarricense Forestal, San Jose, Costa Rica, February 2001Google Scholar
  2. Ascher A. 2001. Coping with complexity and organizational interests in natural resource management. Ecosystems 4:742–757CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Camacho A. 2000. Pago por servicios ambientales: Costa Rica punto focal Proyecto PRISMA-FORD, Heredia, Costa RicaGoogle Scholar
  4. Camacho A., and others. 2001. Gestión local y participación en torno al pago por servicios ambientales: Estudios de caso en Costa Rica, Proyecto PRISMA-FORD, Heredia, Costa RicaGoogle Scholar
  5. CODEFORSA (Comision de desarollo Forestal de San Carlos). 2000. CODEFORSA, 2000: CODEFORSA, una ONG forestal y sus aportes al Desarrollo Forestal. CODEFORSA, Ciudad Quesada, Costa RicaGoogle Scholar
  6. FONAFIFO (Fondo Nacional de Financiameiento Forestal). 2002. Informe Estadístico 2002. FONAFIFO, San José, Costa RicaGoogle Scholar
  7. Forest Trends & Katoomba Group. 2002. Seminar capturing the value of ecosystem services: developing markets for environmental assets. The Stationer’s Livery Hall, London, UK, March 13–14Google Scholar
  8. González P. 2002. Personal communication with P. Gonzalez, Coordinator of FUNDECOR for the Sarapiqui region, San Jose, Costa Rica, January 2002Google Scholar
  9. IDA (Instituto de Desarrollo Agrario). 1999. Disposición Presidencia Ejecutiva Instituto Desarrollo Agrario (IDA); DAJ-567-99. San José, Costa RicaGoogle Scholar
  10. Imperial M. T. 1999. Institutional analysis and ecosystem-based management: The institutional analysis and development framework. Environmental Management 24:449–465CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. INEC (Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censo). 2001. Censo Nacional de Población; Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censo, San José, Costa RicaGoogle Scholar
  12. Kapoor I. 2001. Towards participatory environmental management? Journal of Environmental Management. 63:269–279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Ley Forestal # 7575 y su Reglamento. 1996. Publicada por investigaciones jurídicas, S.A. San José, Costa RicaGoogle Scholar
  14. López R. 2001. Personal communication with R. López, Director of Asociacion para el Bienestar de Sarapiqui, Sarapiqui, Costa Rica, March 2001Google Scholar
  15. Manual (Manual de Procedimientos para el pago de servicios ambientales mediante los Certificado de Abono Forestal). 1997. Gaceta # 176, viernes 12 de septiembre 1997Google Scholar
  16. McDuff M. D. 2001. Building the capacity of grassroots conservation organizations to conduct participatory evaluation. Environmental Management 27:715–727CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Mendez J. 2002. Personal comunication with J. Mendez of CODEFORSA, January 2002, San Carlos, Costa RicaGoogle Scholar
  18. Meza, M. 2001. Personal communication with M. Meza of IDA, June 2001, San Carlos, Costa RicaGoogle Scholar
  19. Miranda, M. 2001. El manejo forestal sostenible como instrumento para el desarrollo local. Proyecto SUDESCA, CINPE, Universidad Nacional, Heredia, Costa RicaGoogle Scholar
  20. Miranda M., C. Dieperink, P. Glasbergen. 2002. The social meaning of carbon dioxide emission trading. Institutional capacity building for a green market in Costa Rica. Environment, Development and Sustainability 4:69–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. MINAE and PNUD. 2000. Políticas forestales, plan nacional de desarrollo forestal: Integración y participación activa del sector forestal en el desarrollo humano sostenible. San José, Costa RicaGoogle Scholar
  22. Moote M. A., M. P. McClaren, D. K. Chickering. 1997. Theory in practice: applying participatory democracy theory to public land planning. Environmental Management 21:877–889CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Munoz N. 2002. Mesoamerica se quedo sin arboles, La Nacion 7th of August:8Google Scholar
  24. OCIC (Oficina Costarricense de Implementation Conjunta). 1998. Actividades de implementación conjunta en Costa Rica. San José, Costa RicaGoogle Scholar
  25. PNUD (Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo). 1997. Estado de la Nación: En desarrollo humano sostenible. Informe #3; Imprenta Editorama, San José, Costa RicaGoogle Scholar
  26. PNUD (Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo). 1999. Estado de la región en desarrollo humano sostenible. Proyecto Estado Imprenta Editorama, San José, Costa RicaGoogle Scholar
  27. Redclift M. 1984. Development and the environmental crisis. London: MethuenGoogle Scholar
  28. Redclift M. 1987. Sustainable Development. London: MethuenGoogle Scholar
  29. Rodríguez M. 2001. Pago por servicios ambientales. Documento de Catie, Turrialba, Costa RicaGoogle Scholar
  30. Sánchez O. 1998. Programa de incentivos a la actividad forestal en Costa Rica. Documento preparado para el Seminario Taller “Mitigación de emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero y la experiencia costarricense en la venta de oxígeno.” Panamá, May 1998Google Scholar
  31. Segura O. 2000. Sustainable systems of innovation: The forest sector in Central America. SUDESCA research paper no. 24. Department of Business Studies, Aalborg, DenmarkGoogle Scholar
  32. Segura O., M. Miranda. 1998. Mecanismos innovadores de financiamiento para el manejo sostenible de los ecosistemas forestales. Documento preparado para Programa Forestal Global (Glo/96/104/E/11/31) Marzo, San José, Costa RicaGoogle Scholar
  33. Venter A. K., C. M. Breen. 1998. Partnership forum framework: Participative framework for protected area outreach. Environmental Management 22:803–815CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Wells O. 1998. Incentives for biodiversity conservation. Biodiversity and Conservation 7:815–835CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Miriam Miranda
    • 1
  • Carel Dieperink
    • 2
  • Pieter Glasbergen
    • 2
  1. 1.Universidad NacionalCentro Internacional en Politica, Economica para el Desarrollo Sostenible (CINPE)HerediaCosta Rica
  2. 2.Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development and Innovation, Chair of Environmental Studies and PolicyUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations