Comparing tools to predict REDD plus conservation costs to Amazon smallholders

PES could become an important tool for forest-based climate change mitigation under REDD+. But proper design of such incentive instruments requires prior knowledge about the variation of conservation opportunity costs among landowners and users. It is thus recommendable to compare and improve methods for assessing opportunity cost. We investigated three methods to predict conservations costs amongst landholders in and around two sustainable development reserves in the Brazilian Amazon, including two variants of a contingent valuation instrument to obtain willingness to accept (WTA) estimates - a standard and an auction framing format. We supplemented this by a household survey quantifying current agricultural rents. The auction framing resulted in significantly lower mean WTA and sample variance, compared to the standard framing. Higher crop and livestock rents significantly reduced the probability of accepting a given WTA level in the auction framing sample. The auction framing results were also more meaningfully correlated with socio-demographic drivers, e.g. distance to markets and land area held. Comparing with the household survey-based agricultural rent measures, we find WTA measures to be lower, in particular for higher income groups. Across the three methods, reduced CO2 emissions from forest conservation in the area could be secured at mean prices in the range of USD1.33 - 16.98 tCO2. The wide range indicates that the choice of method is important for knowing what compensations to offer to landholders. Specifically, the auction framing developed may thus have good application potential, e.g. in screening WTA ranges prior to implementing full-scale REDD+ or PES-type schemes. Comparing tools to predict REDD+ conservation costs to Amazon smallholders | Request PDF. Available from: [accessed Feb 27 2018].