Payments for watershed ecosystem services in the Miringuava basin, Brazil: Mediating or exacerbating conflicts in peri-urban commons?

Niklas Werner Weins, Leticia Costa de Oliveira Santos, Manuela Dreyer Silva, Tatiana Gadda, Christian Luiz da Silva

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Objective: This article addresses institutional arrangements and participation issues in the case study of a commons dilemma in the peri-urban sphere. It aims to evaluate the institutional robustness according to Ostrom's eight design principles of a Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) arrangement in the Miringuava River Basin, São José dos Pinhais, Brazil. Methodology: Using documentary analysis, and semi-structured interviews with stakeholders we analyze the applicability of Ostrom's eight design principles. Relevance: Our analysis and discussion shed light on social and institutional dimensions that might be insufficiently considered by the local public administration. Results: While our analysis showed that most principles apply in some measure to the case study, favoring the implementation of PES, there are divergences in terms of monitoring, conflict resolution, and sanctions that hint to particular problems of peri-urban commons management. We conclude that PES could become a problem of collective action, representing a mechanism to increase robustness of peri-urban institutions, which allowed us to interpret ES as a common. Theoretical contributions: The PES for forest areas, has run parallel to an agricultural transition to organic farming desired by environmental organizations but resisted by local farmers. While the conservation is justified by the reduction of water treatment costs and an increase in water availability, social implications of this choice turn out to be much more complex. Management contributions: There is a need for the creation of institutional arrangements that consider power imbalances and to expand the different forms of participation in the situated action arenas created for governance and management of a common.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere18468
JournalRevista De Gestão Ambiental E Sustentabilidade
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Common pool resource management
  • Environmental policies
  • Institutional robustness
  • New institutional economics
  • Watershed management


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