Compensation for Hydrological Environmental Services in Los Negros Cloud Forest
This initiative, led by Fundación Natura Bolivia and subsidized by donors, has been underway since 2002. The project seeks to protect a buffer zone around Amboró National park (community of Santa Rosa) through in-kind incentives for forest conservation. Landowners in the upper watershed of the Los Negros valley may voluntarily enter the program to protect native vegetation (forests) in exchange for in-kind payment (of beehives and barbed wire) of up to US $3 per hectare per year. As of October 2006, 34 landowners have entered contracts ranging from 1 to 10 years, protecting a total of 2073 hectares of forest - 1000 hectares of which are cloud forest. There are also benefits for landless people in Los Negros Valley; some have purchased beehives from participants and specialized in apiculture and others are hired by participant farmers to assist with honey processing. Appreciable indirect impacts of the PES scheme include the formation of four functioning "environmental committees" and an association of beekeepers. Upstream-downstream tensions have decreased as cooperation has increased, with a growing awareness of the need to work together to manage the watershed to everyone's benefit. The expectation is that the downstream community will become more motivated to contribute to the scheme as greater trust of the upstream community develops.