A new book from the World Agroforestry Centre, titled, How trees and people can co-adapt to climate change: reducing vulnerability in multifunctional landscapes, was released just in time for the 17th Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which was held in Durban, South Africa, 28 November to 9 December 2011.
Edited by an international team of experienced and highly regarded researchers, a large section of the book is devoted to rewards for environmental services’ schemes and the impact they can have on farmers’ ability to adapt. The section pays particular attention to how political processes affect decisions about natural resources management (and hence farmers’ livelihoods), arguing that a more pluralistic approach based on trust is needed if we are to balance the demands for development with the need for environmental services.
RUPES work on River Care in Gunung Sari and Buluh Kapur, Lampung province, Indonesia, was highlighted as an example of different groups working together to achieve a balanced result. The local hydropower company wanted sediment reduced in their dam. Villagers wanted improved income and electricity. A contract was negotiated between the two parties that agreed on activities and rewards. The villagers would build small dams to catch sediment from forests, coffee gardens, rice fields and pathways; plant grass strips along potential landslide spots; and install plastic piping in water channels to stabilise flows. In return, the power company would provide payments and a microhydropower unit based on the amount of reduction of sediment.
‘At the end of the contract,’ wrote the section’s authors, ‘in Buluh Kapur the hydropower company provided the reward of a microhydropower unit to the local community.’
This was despite the village not reaching the targeted reduction owing to landslides into the river upstream from their own village area.
‘In this case the company evaluated performance based on the community’s effort and perseverance,’ wrote the authors.
It was clear that the village could meet the targets if not for unforeseen circumstances. And it was clear that the company would pay for services provided. However, the trust that was developed between the two parties led to something more: granting of a reward based on an attempt to improve an environmental service, even if that attempt failed in the first instance. While the attempt may have failed, the relationship succeeded and has continued, meaning that the goal will be reached. Indeed, it seems that the scheme will be expanded to neighbouring villages and to other watersheds.
To read more about this scheme, download PES and multi-strata coffee gardens in Sumberjaya, Indonesia
By: Robert Finlayson
Research Communications Specialist, World Agroforestry Centre Southeast Asia Program