The Journal of Economic Education
Forest Management -- Planning, Landscape connectivity -- research
Payments for ecosystem services (PES) programs use an incentive-based approach to pursue environmental goals. While they are common policy tools, key concepts determining their efficacy are nuanced and hard to grasp. This article presents a new interactive game that explores the functioning and implications of PES programs. Participants play the role of rural households in a developing country, deciding individually or as groups whether to enter into contracts to refrain from reducing local forests in exchange for payment from a forest-based PES initiative. The game explores topics that include PES programs, climate change, tropical deforestation, cost-effectiveness, additionality, illegal harvest and enforcement, and community resource management. Customizable materials, a detailed reading list, and discussion prompts are provided.
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Published as: Dissanayake, S. T., & Jacobson, S. A. (2021). Money growing on trees: A classroom game about payments for ecosystem services and tropical deforestation. The Journal of Economic Education, 52(3), 192-217.