Tanya Hayes and Felipe Murtinho, faculty in the Institute for Public Service and Environmental Studies, recently received a three-year National Science Foundation Research Grant, titled "Influence of Economic Incentives on Common-Property Forest Management." Working in collaboration with Hendrik Wolff of the University of Washington, and Condesdan, a non-profit that focuses on natural resource management in Andean countries, Hayes and Murtinho will investigate if and how monetary payments impact forest conservation in community managed forests in Ecuador. The study examines why rural communities choose to participate in payment for forest conservation programs, and how said programs impact conservation behavior, livelihoods and community governance.
As part of the study, Seattle University undergraduate students will have the unique opportunity to travel to Ecuador to conduct case study research and then return to Seattle University where they will help analyze that data and present the findings. By combining quantitative and qualitative methods, this study will test the significance of payments as compared to other non-monetary factors in rural land-use decisions. The results will provide valuable information to policymakers and practitioners regarding the use of payments for forest conservation and suggestions for improving the design of payment programs in developing country contexts.