Characterization of public policy management for the payment for forest ecosystem services

Cooperativismo y Desarrollo, May-August 2020; 8(2), 183-196
Translated from the original in Spanish

 

Characterization of public policy management for the payment for forest ecosystem services

 

Caracterización de la gestión de políticas públicas para el pago por servicios ecosistémicos forestales

 

Caracterização da gestão de políticas públicas para o pagamento de serviços do ecossistema florestal

 

Juan Carlos Díaz Pando1, Osvaldo Domínguez Junco2, Midaimy Acosta Oramas3

1 Universidad de Pinar del Río "Hermanos Saíz Montes de Oca". Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales. Pinar del Río. Cuba. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3552-9804. Email: jcdiaz@upr.edu.cu
2 Universidad de Pinar del Río "Hermanos Saíz Montes de Oca". Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales. Centro de Estudios de Dirección, Desarrollo Local, Turismo y Cooperativismo. Pinar del Río. Cuba. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7897-998X. Email: osvaldodj@upr.edu.cu
3 Contraloría Provincial Pinar del Río. Pinar del Río. Cuba. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5710-4543. Email: midaimy@upr.edu.cu

 

Received: February 25th, 2020.
Accepted: April 29th, 2020.


ABSTRACT

Governments are currently facing the challenge of designing and managing public policies that harmoniously integrate economic, social and environmental issues to ensure sustainability in development. Given that there is a lack of use of the existing potential in the ecosystem services and the way they are managed from the public administration, the objective was set to characterize the state of the management of the payment for forest ecosystem services in the municipality of Pinar del Río. This was done based on an analysis of the primary and secondary sources of information. As theoretical methods, the historical and logical and the systemic were used, and as empirical methods, the measurement and the expert method. Associated with the theoretical and practical methods, the following procedures were used: analysis, synthesis and abstraction. The following techniques were used to collect, process and analyze information: survey, interview and document analysis; descriptive statistics were also used to arrive at conclusions through the use of Minitab 17 software. In the diagnosis carried out, it was found that municipal decision makers do not articulate actions that integrate national, sectorial and territorial interests in terms of the use of financial resources coming from the establishment of payment for forest ecosystem services, which favor the political-economic-social recognition of these, in addition, it is necessary to manage public policies to conserve and protect the environment.

Keywords: public management; public policies; payment management; forest ecosystem services


RESUMEN

Los gobiernos, en la actualidad, se encuentran ante el reto de diseñar y gestionar políticas públicas que integren, de manera armónica, los temas económicos, sociales y ambientales para garantizar la sostenibilidad en el desarrollo. Dado que existe un desaprovechamiento de las potencialidades existentes en los servicios ecosistémicos y la forma en que se gestionan desde la administración pública, se trazó el objetivo encaminado a caracterizar el estado de la gestión del pago por servicios ecosistémicos forestales en el municipio Pinar del Río. La misma se realizó a partir de un análisis de las fuentes primarias y secundarias de información. Como métodos teóricos, se emplearon el histórico y lógico y el sistémico y como métodos empíricos, la medición y el método de expertos. Asociados a los métodos teóricos y prácticos, se utilizaron los siguientes procedimientos: análisis, síntesis y abstracción. Para la captación, procesamiento y análisis de la información, se utilizaron las siguientes técnicas: encuesta, entrevista y análisis documental; se empleó, además, la estadística descriptiva para arribar a conclusiones mediante la utilización del software Minitab 17. En el diagnóstico realizado, se constata que los decisores municipales no articulan acciones que integren los intereses nacionales, sectoriales y territoriales en función del aprovechamiento de los recursos financieros provenientes del establecimiento del pago por servicios ecosistémicos forestales, que favorezcan el reconocimiento político-económico-social de los mismos, además, es necesario la gestión de políticas públicas para conservar y proteger el medioambiente.

Palabras clave: gestión pública; políticas públicas; gestión del pago; servicios ecosistémicos forestales


RESUMO

Os governos enfrentam atualmente o desafio de elaborar e gerir políticas públicas que integrem harmoniosamente as questões econômicas, sociais e ambientais para garantir a sustentabilidade no desenvolvimento. Como há uma falta de aproveitamento do potencial existente nos serviços ecossistêmicos e da forma como eles são administrados pela administração pública, foi estabelecido o objetivo de caracterizar o estado da gestão do pagamento por serviços ecossistêmicos florestais no município de Pinar del Río. Isto foi feito com base em uma análise das fontes de informação primária e secundária. Métodos históricos e sistêmicos foram utilizados como métodos teóricos, e métodos de medição e métodos especializados foram utilizados como métodos empíricos. Associados aos métodos teórico e prático, foram utilizados os seguintes procedimentos: análise e síntese e abstração. As seguintes técnicas foram utilizadas para coletar, processar e analisar informações: pesquisa, entrevista e análise documental; estatística descritiva também foi utilizada para tirar conclusões usando o software Minitab 17. No diagnóstico realizado, verificou-se que os tomadores de decisão municipais não articulam ações que integrem interesses nacionais, setoriais e territoriais em termos de utilização de recursos financeiros provenientes do estabelecimento de pagamentos por serviços dos ecossistemas florestais, o que favoreceria o reconhecimento político-econômico-social desses serviços. Além disso, é necessário administrar políticas públicas de conservação e proteção do meio ambiente.

Palavras-chave: gestão pública; políticas públicas; gestão de pagamentos; serviços do ecossistema florestal


 

INTRODUCTION

Today, the world economy, after being affected by a series of crises: the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, the European sovereign debt crisis of 2010-2012, adjustments in world commodity prices of 2014-2016 and the persistent tensions that accompanied it, has reached a growth of 3.0 %, but the economic benefits continue to be unevenly distributed by country and region (ONU, 2017).

On the other hand, an environmental crisis is becoming evident with direct and diverse effects on human beings: on their health, on their economic activities, on their forms of enjoyment and recreation, on their very appreciation of nature and on their ways of studying and knowing it, which is affirmed by Rojas and Perez (2013, p. 31): "nature and its ecosystems determine human life (and vice versa) and demand the emergence of theories and approaches oriented towards that purpose". This infers the need to give more consideration to the long-term health of the ecosystem and its role in enabling human settlement and economic activity.

The above conditions provide a great opportunity to reorient policies that address some of the structural issues that continue to hinder progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, such as: addressing climate change, addressing existing inequalities and removing institutional barriers to development (ONU, 2017).

In this sense, the ecosystem services appear as a proposal so that the natural functions of the ecosystems can be seen as "services" that these provide to the people, seeking to establish a change of paradigm in the management of these ecosystems, in the conservation of biodiversity and safeguard of the life of the human beings, proposal that has frequently derived in the establishment of payment schemes for forest ecosystem services (FES). It stands out for its high value, which puts into play the sustainable construction of development and its unequivocal impact on the quality of life of communities (Yánez Sarmiento et al., 2019).

There is a clear lack of data models that allow the characterization and mapping of ecosystem functions and ecosystem services that can be implemented in commercial markets and little weight in decision making to support the generation of conservation and natural resource management policies. Furthermore, ecosystem services can be defined as the conditions and processes through which ecosystems and the species that inhabit them sustain human life and are determined by their contribution to human well-being, being the end product of various ecosystem functions (climate, water, erosion), which can provide tangible goods such as wood or food, resulting from different ecosystem processes (Valdés Quintero et al., 2017, pp. 19-20).

Previous studies by Dominguez (2009) refer to the proposal of a payment rate for environmental ecosystem services. To achieve this, it is necessary, among other things, that local governments are the protagonists of the strategies to be followed to achieve their development, based, first of all, on their own potentialities, strengthening local power structures and taking advantage of their autonomy in decision-making. This implies a great challenge for the municipal governments, since they must establish, in correspondence with the sectorial and national policies, economically non-discrepant territorial policies, that allow them to activate and stimulate the development of their municipalities.

What Capote, Torres and del Castillo (2018) propose is decisive, where they establish that an adequate coordination of all levels, distinguishes two aspects, first: the role attributed to each municipality in the conception of the provincial and national development plan, based on the promotion of territorial policies associated to the payment of ecosystem services and second: the role corresponding to the strategic lines of municipal development, which are determined on the basis of their potentialities and capacities, being the ecosystems an alternative.

In view of the above, the objective of this article is to characterize the current state of public policy management for payment for forest ecosystem services in the municipality of Pinar del Río.

 

MATERIALS AND METHODS

The research is based on the dialectical-materialistic method and uses theoretical and empirical methods.

As theoretical methods, the historical-logical method was used to analyze the evolution and essence of payments for forest ecosystem services, as well as the deepening in terms of the different criteria related to the forms for their realization. The analysis and synthesis are used for the critical appraisal of the contextual theoretical framework and the deepening in terms of the different criteria for its realization.

The bibliographic review was carried out to justify the theoretical background related to the problem and the verification of the environmental situation, caused by the decision-making process in the area under study.

To obtain the information within the empirical methods, the survey techniques were used. Their application took into account a guide elaborated by the authors, where they considered the main aspects to be verified. Ten officials and five specialists from the Environmental Unit of the Cuban Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (Citma) and five from Physical Planning (specialists from the department linked to environmental planning) were interviewed. The level of experience in their positions ranges from 10 to 15 years.

The Delphi method was used for the selection of experts, and 13 experts in the subject in question were considered as possible candidates for the study. Expert judgment was applied to validate the stages of the proposal and the activities to be carried out as well as the selection of the educational techniques.

The methodology used in the diagnosis was that developed by Vallejos (2008) which consists of four fundamental stages:

For the processing of the information obtained through the survey applied to experts, the Delphi methodology was used, which includes the following:

1. Select experts by means of an index of expertise or knowledge

2. Propose the set of questions to be implemented in the survey

3. Designing the survey

4. Apply and analyze its reliability

5. Analyze the results of the survey using different techniques to be employed

In determining the experts, the following was taken into account: they were asked to mark with a cross (X) the degree of knowledge or information they possessed on the subject in question, based on a scale of 1 to 10, where the number 10 will be the one with the highest level of knowledge; in this way, the coefficient of knowledge (Kc) of each one will be determined and subsequently the experts with the highest values of (Kc) will be selected.

The group of selected experts is then asked to carry out a self-evaluation, according to the following table, of their levels of argumentation or foundation on the subject of study.

Table 1 - Assessment to determine the argumentation or rationale of each expert

Source of argumentation

High

Medium

Low

Theoretical analyses carried out by you

0.3

0.2

0.1

Your experience

0.5

0.4

0.2

Work by national authors

0.05

0.05

0.05

Works by foreign authors

0.05

0.05

0.05

Your own knowledge of the state of the problem abroad

0.05

0.05

0.05

Your intuition

0.05

0.05

0.05

Source: Delphy method

Having these data, the competence coefficient K can be calculated for each expert through the formula: K=0.5 * (Kc+Ka)

The code of interpretation of these competence coefficients (K) is shown as follows:

For this case, the group of experts with the highest competence coefficient was selected to make up the survey. To design the survey questions by the authors, nine items were proposed. The experts' criteria were applied to perfect the questionnaire based on this empirical method in question, where each expert assessed each question of the survey with the following criteria: Very Adequate, Quite Adequate, Adequate, Not Very Adequate and Not At All. The statistical processing was performed using the SSPS Version 22 tool and the Minitab 17 tool to determine the criteria and reliability of the survey questions (Table 1).

In the course of the research, different documents were reviewed such as:

Six experts were selected by the authors for their expertise as shown in tables 2, 3 and 4 below.

From the results obtained, the knowledge coefficient Kc can be determined (Table 2).

Table 2 - Expert Knowledge Coefficient (Kc)

Number of experts

E1

E2

E3

E4

E5

E6

E7

E8

E9

E10

E11

E12

E13

Coefficient Kc

0.8

0.3

0.7

0.9

0.9

0.6

0.4

0.2

0.5

0.7

0.8

1.0

0.4

From the table above and the self-assessment made by the experts, the argumentation coefficient (Ka) is calculated according to table 3.

Table 3 - Determination of the experts' argumentation coefficient (Ka)

Number of experts

E1

E2

E3

E4

E5

E6

E7

E8

E9

E10

E11

E12

E13

Coefficient Ka

0.9

1.0

0.8

0.6

0.8

0.5

0.9

0.9

0.8

0.8

1.0

0.8

0.9

Having these data, the competence coefficient K can be calculated for each expert through the formula: K=0.5 * (Kc+Ka). Then the coefficients of competence (Table 4) for each expert:

Table 4 - Competence coefficients by expert

Number of experts

E1

E2

E3

E4

E5

E6

E7

E8

E9

E10

E11

E12

E13

Coefficient K

0.85

0.65

0.65

0.75

0.85

0.55

0.65

0.55

0.65

0.75

0.9

0.9

0.65

As can be seen, there are 6 experts with a higher coefficient K, however, in order to increase the number of consultations, one more is selected from those with a coefficient of 0.65, with a total of 7 selected.

As part of the methodology used to carry out the diagnosis, the survey was applied to the 7 experts defined to determine the questions of the diagnosis (Table 5).

Table 5 - Expert evaluation according to survey conducted

Questions

C1

C2

C3

C4

C5

Total

Q1. Expert evaluation according to survey conducted

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q2. Importance of charging for ecosystem services

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q3. Need to design procedures to develop territorial policies for the management of this payment

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q4. Need to create mechanisms that allow, from the local public management, to favor nature and its natural resources in the municipality

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q5. Limitations or weaknesses affecting such payment

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q6. Consideration of whether the implementation of such a payment, at the municipal level, contributes to sustainable development

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q7. Consideration of whether the municipal government can manage such payment

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q8. Consider that Finance and Price should collect such payment

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q9. Do you consider that such money should be made available on the locality

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Own elaboration from the assessment of each expert
Legend: C1 Very suitable, C2 Quite suitable, C3 Suitable, C4 Not suitable, C5 Not suitable

Subsequently, using Minitab 17 software, the results were statistically analyzed to define the cumulative relative frequency (Table 6), which made it possible to identify which questions are approved for application.

Table 6 - Accumulated relative frequencies

.

C1 (Very adequate)

C2 (Quite adequate)

C3 (Adequate)

C4 (Not very adequate)

Q1

0.42857143

0.857143

1

1

Q2

0.57142857

0.857143

1

1

Q3

0.14285714

0.714286

1

1

Q4

0.71428571

0.857143

1

1

Q5

0.85714286

1

1

1

Q6

0.28571429

1

1

1

Q7

0.14285714

1

1

1

Q8

0

0

0.142857

0.285714

Q9

0

0

0

0.142857

Source: Own elaboration from SSPS version 22

The results were tabulated with the help of the electronic tabulator Excel.

 

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

The results of the literature review show that in relation to the regulatory framework (Law 81-Environmental Law and Law 85-Forestry Law) there is a series of regulations such as:

The results of the expert survey show that most experts considered that forest ecosystem services should be charged for through a payment system and that the design of procedures to develop territorial public policies for this purpose is quite appropriate. A majority recognizes the need to create local public management mechanisms that favor the nature and use of their ecosystem resources. It is noted that the term payment for forest ecosystem services does not currently exist; the term environmental services is used, without containing a payment for the use of the resources.

However, six of them recognize that there are limitations to its application, including:

These limitations coincide with those put forward by Costanza et al. (2017), who stated that there is still a long way to go in the effective implementation of payment for ecosystem services, especially from political debates, especially in countries where the economic vision predominates and policies that do not favor this, among which, of course, Cuba is not included. Hence, these difficulties can be solved precisely with an efficient local public management.

In addition, Domínguez, Medina and Medina de la Rosa (2017) state that "at present, there is a conscious action to try to raise the quality of life of societies by modifying tropical forests and thereby achieve ecosystem services supply, mostly. In this case, the actions to convert these spaces into areas of cultivation, grazing, among others, stand out".

The authors agree with Torres (2018), where he "points out that one of the main limitations to promote these management processes is the lack of identification of development policies at the municipal level as part of local development strategies, with the corresponding programs and projects for their implementation. On this last element it can be indicated that one of the causes is given by the fact that, within the functions of the municipal governments, established by the Constitution of the Republic, it is not collected the one of managing own territorial policies that establish the limits of operation of the local actors and allow to coherently articulate the national, sectorial and territorial interests in function of the use of endogenous and exogenous resources".

It is important what is expressed by Valenzuela (2003) where he emphasizes the importance of the territory as a space of analysis that favors the knowledge of the reality, the human and natural resources, the potentialities and comparative advantages, the lacks and deficiencies and the obstacles to the achievement of the aspirations; that, according to Torres (2015), are necessary tools that make possible the localities to define their development strategies.

After applying the survey to the experts and once the questions to be applied were defined, a second survey was applied to 24 people, among which was the Citma official within the government who has 15 years of experience in the position. The rest of the respondents were workers of the Agroforestry Enterprise where the work experience of the respondents is between 10 and 15 years. As it was a small sample, it was applied to 100 % of the respondents; the key results were:

From the triangulation of the primary and secondary information sources, the authors were able to arrive at the following regularities regarding existing limitations in the Pinar del Río municipality for the management of public policies, for the payment for forest ecosystem services, such as:

Good management of territorial policies for payment for forest ecosystem services is important and necessary, since it would contribute to the political-economic-social recognition of these services, which would make the municipality see the benefits that such payment would bring in terms of maintaining forest ecosystems in their care and beautification.

For the diagnosis, primary information sources were consulted, as it was the case of the surveys, where it was noted that, in the term of payment for forest ecosystem services, there is a general lack of knowledge. The need for this payment is also recognized in order to assist the municipality in environmental management, economic and social development. On the other hand, it is clear that there is a lack of policies, legal recognition and mechanisms created for this type of payment at the national, provincial and municipal levels.

The sources of secondary information used during the diagnosis were the documentary review where a series of documents were analyzed, such as: regulatory legal framework (Law 81-Environmental Law and Law 85-Forestry Law), business strategy of the Agroforestry Enterprise Pinar del Río (2018), strategy of the Municipal Administration Council (CAM 2017-2030), territorial ordering plan of the province and the municipality Pinar del Río, minutes of the Municipal Assemblies of the People's Power and of the Municipal Administration Council, among others. In addition, it was possible to observe in relation to the existing regulatory framework that, first of all, there is no policy in the country that establishes payment for forest ecosystem services, which means that the term "ecosystem services" is not used in any of the legislation reviewed. In the territorial management plans of the municipality, there is no consideration for such payment; in the municipal development strategies, there is no mention of forest ecosystem services at any time, so it can be stated that in all the documentation reviewed there is nothing related to the issue in question.

Based on the triangulation of the primary and secondary information sources, the following are identified as the main regularities: the benefits provided by the payment for forest ecosystem services are not recognized by the actors that influence the management process of territorial policies associated to the payment for forest ecosystem services; there is a waste of potentialities offered by the payment for forest ecosystem services in the Pinar del Río municipality that could contribute to the environmental management and the economic and social development of the same. There is also a lack of knowledge about mechanisms to implement the management of territorial policies associated to the payment for forest ecosystem services, and there is a lack of policies, regulations, laws and mechanisms at national and municipal levels to facilitate the implementation of territorial policies to establish the payment for forest ecosystem services.

 

REFERENCES

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Costanza, R., de Groot, R., Braat, L., Kubiszewski, I., Fioramonti, L., Sutton, P., Farber, S., & Grasso, M. (2017). Twenty years of ecosystem services: How far have we come and how far do we still need to go? Ecosystem Services, 28, 1-16. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoser.2017.09.008

Domínguez Junco, O. (2009). Sistema de pagos por servicios ambientales forestales. Estudio de Caso: Empresa Forestal Integral (EFI) Viñales, Pinar del Río, Cuba. En Una economía local orientada a la educación de la población: Vol. Cuaderno No. 7. «Sapienza» Università di Roma. Dipartamento di Contabilità Nazionale e Analisi del Processi Sociali.

Domínguez Junco, O., Medina Peña, R., & Medina de la Rosa, R. E. (2017). Armonía, Individualidad y unidad histórica de los servicios ecosistémicos de los bosques tropicales. Revista Científica Agroecosistemas, 5(1), 23-33. https://aes.ucf.edu.cu/index.php/aes/article/view/95

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Yánez Sarmiento, M. M., Medina Peña, R., & Gonzaga Añazco, S. J. (2019). Evaluación contable de los servicios ecosistémicos en las empresas ecuatorianas. Revista Científica Agroecosistemas, 7(1), 166-170. https://aes.ucf.edu.cu/index.php/aes/article/view/262

 

Conflict of interest:

Authors declare not to have any conflict of interest.

 

Authors' contribution:

The authors have participated in the writing of the paper and the analysis of the documents.

 


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Copyright (c) Juan Carlos Díaz Pando, Osvaldo Domínguez Junco, Midaimy Acosta Oramas