Payment for Targeted Grazing: Integrating Local Shepherds into Wildfire Prevention
Wildfires are one of the most prominent risks for Mediterranean forests, reducing the flow of ecosystem services and representing a hazard for infrastructure and human lives. Several wildfire prevention programs in Europe are currently incorporating extensive livestock grazers in fire prevention activities. One of these programs is called RAPCA (Andalusia), that is working with 220 local shepherds who maintain low biomass levels in 6000 ha of public forest. This work analyses the institutional design and performance of the RAPCA payment scheme under a payment for environmental services (PES) framework. Results show effectiveness of the payment scheme while efficiency is achieved through savings relative to the mainstream mechanized biomass removal. Beneficial side-effects include social recognition of shepherds’ activities and reduction of their friction with forest managers.