Economic Valuation of Watershed Services for Sustainable Forest Management: Insights from Mexico
This work describes the benefits of identifying and valuing watershed services for sustainable forest management in Mexico. The work evaluates various local studies that used contingent valuation as the basis for estimating the economic value of water uses in the country. Statistical methods of these studies’ results revealed that there are not significant differences between consumptive and non-consumptive uses of water resources. However, the individual benefits estimated for consumptive use values were 47% higher than those for non-consumptive use cases. The work also takes the national program of payment for ecosystem services (PSAH, for its Spanish acronym) as an example of the need to assign economic values to watershed services and facilitate the transit to sustainable forest management. The work concludes that the Mexican government has been essential in the implementation of the PSAH, but the program needs to be reevaluated. The PSAH can be greatly benefited by an active participation of ejidos (community landowners) and private entrepreneurs as well as by the inclusion of proper methods of economic valuation.