PES, peasants and power in Andean watersheds : power relations and payment for environmental services in Colombia and Ecuador

J.C. Rodriguez de Francisco

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


During the last decade, the market environmentalist policy model of Payment for Environmental Services (PES) has become a widely promoted and implemented conservation and development tool, around the world as well as in the Andean countries Colombia and Ecuador. For upstream peasant indigenous communities in the Andes, the great expansion of this policy model has meant an increased level of negotiations and interactions with a wide range of downstream water users and conservation agencies. However, there is not a clear understanding of how power dynamics influence the terms of exchange in watershed PES schemes, and the implications that these dynamics have for peasant indigenous control of, and access to, natural resources. The main research question of this thesis is: How do power relations influence the promotion of PES as a policy model and the crafting and operation of PES (-like) projects, and how in turn do these influence natural resource management and control by PES-targeted peasant communities, in the Andean regions of Colombia and Ecuador? The cases included in this thesis show how the impacts of these forms of power influencing PES schemes are variegated, but for the poorest they appear to work toward the deeper entrenching of the status quo, which in most cases implies confirmation and extension of unequal access and rights to natural resources.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • Vincent, Linden, Promotor
  • Boelens, Rutgerd, Co-promotor
  • Budds, J., Co-promotor, External person
Award date16 Dec 2013
Place of PublicationWageningen
Print ISBNs9789461737861
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • resource management
  • natural resources
  • watershed management
  • ecosystem services
  • indigenous people
  • rural communities
  • environmental policy
  • andes
  • colombia
  • ecuador
  • peasant farming


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