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Payment for Environmental Services in the Atlantic Rainforest

Financial sustainability of protected areas is always a challenge in developing countries. In this project, CSF developed a methodology to implement a Payment for Environmental Services (PES) system focused on water conservation for human consumption in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil. This payment system approach is supported by the 47th and 48th articles of the Brazilian National System of Conservation Units Law (which goes by the Portuguese acronym SNUC), which aim to generate income for protected areas management. The project study area was the Guapiaçu and Macacu rivers basin in Três Picos State Park, close to Rio de Janeiro city. This basin provides water for about 1.7 million people.

Our analysis was developed in five phases:

Economic Benefits of Manaus Parks

What is the local economic impact of protected areas creation and management? Protected areas are commonly considered barriers to economic development because they impose limits or even completely block the use of natural resources. However, this study demonstrated that 10 protected areas located up to 200 km from Manaus city in the Brazilian Amazon provide an source of important income for the local economy. In some situations, these incomes can even surpass earnings generated by land uses such as cattle ranching. The study also found that in the case of the Manaus, the economic activity generated by protected areas - mostly in the form of local spending and employment for research and protection activities - was paid for by money originating outside the region and even outside Brazil.

Belo Monte Dam

In this study, we analyzed the costs and benefits of the Belo Monte project on the Xingu River in the Southern Amazon. For our analysis, we created three scenarios. The first examines only the “internal” costs and benefits of Belo Monte as an energy project, excluding the costs of its impacts on competing economic activities and the environment. In the second scenario we included some external costs: tourism losses, impacts on water supply and fisheries and declines in water quality during construction. The third scenario also includes these external costs, and estimated energy benefits based on an alternative model, called HydroSim, developed at the Campinas State University (UNICAMP) in São Paulo.

Economic Benefits of Madidi National Park

There is much debate over whether natural protected areas restrict economic development or enable it. In this study we assessed the local economic benefits provided by Madidi National Park & Natural Area of Integrated Management, one of Bolivia’s largest protected areas, and also one of the most important globally for biodiversity conservation. We applied this analysis approach previously for Amazonian protected areas near Manaus, Brazil.

Economics of a Road Through Madidi National Park

Rural roads are frequently associated with economic development, but they are often implemented without consideration for their economic feasibility also called "efficiency." The terms feasibility and efficiency describe investments whose benefits are, at a minimum, greater than their costs. When such criteria are ignored, road projects are funded by governments with no clear expectations of increasing the overall wealth of the country. In fact, they often bring considerable economic losses when accrued benefits do not offset large costs involved with road improvement or construction.

Roads and protected areas in northern Bolivia Amazon

Road projects in the Amazon Basin are seen by some people as required elements for economic development, but they can come with a host of social and environmental disadvantages. These include the destruction of forests and other natural habitats, the loss of biodiversity, the spread of human diseases, displacement of indigenous and non-indigenous communities and the concentration of landholdings. Studies that consider and integrate the varied effects of road projects can point to those investments that best achieve, and, to the extent possible, reconcile economic, environmental and social goals.

Dams and Roads in the Madeira Basin

In this analysis, we assess the effect of Madeira River energy and transportation infrastructure projects on soybean expansion. Precarious transportation networks and natural barriers have kept the region of the Upper Madeira River geographically and economically isolated and have contributed to the low population densities, particularly in the Bolivian States of Beni and Pando. The development potential of this area, where Brazil, Peru and Bolivia meet, lies in the possibilities of accessing the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans by river or through the construction and pavement of roads.

Roads and Dams in Madidi and Pilón-Lajas, Bolivia

The region of Northwest Bolivia where the Andes meet the Amazon plain is considered by some to be a rich natural treasure and by others to be under-developed. In 1995, the Bolivian government officially protected 1.8 million hectares of rain forest, cloud forest, rare deciduous forest and an array of plant and animal species nearly unsurpassed in the world's nature reserves.

Chalillo Dam

In 2000 CSF worked with the Belize Alliance of Conservation Non-Government Organizations to provide Belizeans with an independent analysis of a proposed dam on the Macal River. The upper Macal and its tributaries provide habitat for rare scarlet macaws, Morelet's crocodiles, river otters, tapirs and jaguars. But it also has potential to supply electricity to consumers throughout Belize.

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