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Economic Incentives for Watershed Protection: A case study of Lake Arena, Costa Rica

Conventional wisdom holds that cutting down tropical forests for livestock production is not only bad business but bad for the environment. In particular, it is thought that conversion of natural forest to pasture leads to a rise in the sedimentation of waterways and reservoirs, increased risk of flooding and loss of dry season water supply. In the case of Lake Arenal, Costa Rica, this conventional view is stood on its head by research showing that ranching, dairy farming and associated downstream hydrological effects represent important positive values to the Costa Rican economy, values that significantly outweigh expected returns from reforestation.

Publication information

  • IIED code: 8100IIED
  • Published: 1998 - IIED, IVM
  • Area: Costa Rica
  • Theme: Economics
  • Series: CREED Final Report
  • Language: English

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