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Entangling Conservation Schemes and Its Effects on Farmers’ Participation: The Case of Two Agri-environmental Incentives in Quebec

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Zaga-Mendez, Alejandra; Kolinjivadi, Vijay; Bissonnette, Jean-François; Dupras, Jérôme
Conference: In Defense of the Commons: Challenges, Innovation and Action, the Seventeenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Lima, Peru
Conf. Date: July 1-5
Date: 2019
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/10612
Sector: Agriculture
Region: North America
Abstract: "Incentive-based mechanisms, such as payments for ecosystem services (PES) are increasingly being employed to encourage adoption of biodiversity conservation practices for the provision of multiple ecosystem services and the preservation of agricultural commons. PES are not created in an institutional vacuum, and their success in encouraging participation might depend on their interactions with previous programs and schemes. This paper analyzes how the institutional characteristics and interactions of incentive-based mechanisms influence farmers’ participation and therefore the achievement of desired socio-ecological outcomes, This research pays close attention to the institutional framework of two programs in the province of Québec, Canada: the Prime-Vert Program (a public agri-environment scheme) and the ‘Alternative Land Use Services’ (ALUS) initiative (a privately-funded 'PES' scheme). The institutional prescriptions of these two programs were examined and compared through the lenses of the Institutional analysis and development (IAD) framework, suggested by Ostrom (2005). Moreover, this work discusses the impact of the functional characteristics described by the IAD framework on farmers’ participation by analyzing the level of farmers’ engagement in the implementation and management of agri-environmental schemes (Prager and Freese 2009). The institutional comparison of these two incentives showed a strong dependence of the private PES on the public scheme, rendering both programs ultimately managed under the remit of the provincial government. While, the integration of both programs could help diversify sources of funding for farmers, the multiplicity of rules which govern the integration of these two programs tend to treat farmers as passive beneficiaries to a network of centralized subsidies."

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