Wednesday 7
Tips or Traps? Advancing understanding to steer clear of impoverishment traps and tipping points
Niki Frantzeskaki
› 10:25 - 11:20 (55min)
› Antigone 3
From poverty trap to ecosystem service curse: A review of the payments for ecosystem services literature
Jakub Kronenberg  1, *@  , Klaus Hubacek  2@  
1 : University of Lodz
P.O.W. 3/5, 90-255 Lodz -  Pologne
2 : University of Maryland  -  Website
University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA -  États-Unis
* : Corresponding author

To-be-considered for the Session 'Tips or Traps? Advancing our understanding to steer clear of impoverishment traps and tipping points'


Payments for ecosystem services (PES) create new streams of capital, usually flowing from more developed into less developed regions and countries. Several problems have already been observed in the literature with regard to these payments and the negative effects that they might have on recipient communities, including keeping those communities in a poverty trap (Karsenty, 2007). Many of these problems resemble those which had been identified within the case of the so-called resource curse hypothesis with regard to resource revenues, such as rent seeking, unequal bargaining power or volatility of payments (Kronenberg and Hubacek, 2013). The general conclusion from this debate is that PES can provide the expected benefits, but only within certain institutional and governance conditions (Muradian et al., 2013).

The objective of this paper is to investigate the risk of the emergence of an ecosystem service curse. The paper is based on a systematic review of the literature on PES. Two strands of literature have been selected for this review (identified through Scopus data base): those documenting PES case studies and those focused on problems observed in the case of PES. PES case studies do not always report problems with this instrument, and if they do problems are usually only mentioned in passing. Conversely, articles which focus on problems with PES sometimes overemphasize these problems. To ensure an objective and comprehensive review, these two strands of literature are compared.


Karsenty, A., 2007. Questioning rent for development swaps: new marketbased instruments for biodiversity acquisition and the land-use issue in tropical countries. International Forestry Review 9, 503–513.

Kronenberg, J., Hubacek, K., 2013. Could payments for ecosystem services create an “ecosystem service curse”? Ecology and Society 18, art. 10.

Muradian, R., Arsel, M., Pellegrini, L., Adaman, F., Aguilar, B., Agarwal, B., Corbera, E., de Blas, D.E., Farley, J., Froger, G., Garcia-Frapolli, E., Gómez-Baggethun, E., Gowdy, J., Kosoy, N., Le Coq, J. f., Leroy, P., May, P., Méral, P., Mibielli, P., Norgaard, R., Ozkaynak, B., Pascual, U., Pengue, W., Perez, M., Pesche, D., Pirard, R., Ramos-Martin, J., Rival, L., Saenz, F., Van Hecken, G., Vatn, A., Vira, B., Urama, K., 2013. Payments for ecosystem services and the fatal attraction of win-win solutions. Conservation Letters forthcoming.

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