Payments for Ecosystem Services programmes represent an important conservation policy worldwide. Despite their popularity, there is still a shortage of evidence regarding whether or not these schemes improve quality of life and generate desired behavioural changes. In this paper, we use a dataset from participants that enrolled in a conservation program on 2007, and from non-participants in the same program. Mexican indigenous communities were interviewed to evaluate program impacts on a range of land use and socio-economic variables between 2007 and 2013. In response to the theory that perceptions of ecosystem services mediate changes in behaviour regarding conservation, we seek to test whether participation in the programme makes it more likely for respondents to identify a higher number of ecosystem services obtained from the forest. Our results are in line with recent socio-economic evaluations of these programmes that conclude that, at best, such conservation programmes do not harm their participants. However, we are also able to provide evidence that participation in the Mexican programme increases participants’ perception of the provisioning, regulating and cultural ecosystem services obtained from the forest. These results add more evidence to the thin literature on the behavioural dimensions of ecosystem services and the kind of responses of program participants to the conservation of those services.
- Ecosystem services
- Impact evaluation
- Payment for environmental services