Cost-effectiveness analysis of different types of payments for ecosystem services: A case in the urban wetland ecosystem
Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) have emerged as a popular conservation tool, yet evaluation among different PES programs strategies remains piecemeal. We prospectively compare cost-effectiveness of general PES, collective payments for ecosystem services (CPES) and the transition from PES to Land Purchases or Easements (LPE). We analyze the economic cost using statistics data and literature data, and analyze the transaction cost with the ordinal variable. We develop the Emergy Analysis method with the InVEST Habitat Quality model, and utilize it to analyze and map the ecological effectiveness. This paper gives an example to assessing the cost-effectiveness of different PES programs. Based on the analysis, LPE strategy led to improved ecological effectiveness, lower cost and greater cost-effectiveness. The collective PES has lower cost than general PES. However, they demonstrate equal ecological effectiveness. Based on these outcomes, we analyze the factors that influence PES programs’ cost-effectiveness, including collective or group, market-based mechanism, economic incentive, transaction cost, contract scale etc. We conclude that minimal number of intermediaries, community/collective support and involvement constitute the key factors in improving the cost-effectiveness of ecological programs. However, we acknowledge the need for further studies on the subject.