...exploring how people shape the world's forests

April 3rd, 2015: Jennifer Zavaleta Accepts NSF-GRFP Fellowship

Researcher: Jennifer Zavaleta

Award: National Science Foundation – Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP)

Amount: $150,000

Project Length: 3 years

Project Location: Chile

Project Description:

The NSF-GRFP fellowship focuses on supporting outstanding graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees. As the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind, it has a long history of selecting recipients who go on to achieve highly successful academic and professional careers.

Over the course of the next three years, Jennifer will collect quantitative and qualitative data from Chile to compare how economic incentives will affect internal motivations to conserve natural resources both before and after individuals are paid to protect ecosystem services. Payment for Ecosystem Services (SES) programs are a type of sustainable development program that provide economic incentives to resource users that benefit ecosystems services (e.g. carbon sequestration, conserving biodiversity, flood mitigation). The international community has lauded PES programs as a “win-win” management solution for both environmental conservation and poverty alleviation. However, the effect of economic incentives on conservation motivations and environmental values is poorly understood, even though PES literature has identified that it is likely important.