Lessons Learned About Collaborating Across Coupled Natural-Human Systems Research on Mexico’s Payments for Hydrological Services Program

  • Erin C. PischkeEmail author
  • Z. Carter Berry
  • Randall K. Kolka
  • Jacob Salcone
  • Diana Córdoba
  • Xoco Shinbrot
  • Sergio Miguel López Ramirez
  • Kelly W. Jones
  • Russell G. Congalton
  • Robert H. Manson
  • Juan José Von Thaden Ugalde
  • Theresa Selfa
  • V. Sophie Avila Foucat
  • Heidi Asbjornsen


Payments for ecosystem services have become common policy tools used by governments to mitigate the damaging impacts of threats to natural systems. Our transdisciplinary, international research team encompassed 35 interdisciplinary scientists, students, and non-academic partners who collectively studied the impacts that the Mexican government’s payments for hydrological services program has had on the surrounding landscape and people. The overarching goal of our research was to advance understanding of interactions and feedbacks between payments for hydrological services policies and coupled social-ecohydrological systems in two watersheds in Veracruz, Mexico. In this chapter, we present the challenges that our team faced while conducting this research, as well as our achievements, not only in terms of generating new scientific knowledge about complex natural-human systems but also to developing transdisciplinary approaches that have the potential to impact policy.



This work was supported by the National Science Foundation’s Coupled Human and Natural Systems (CNH) program #1313804. The authors do not declare any conflicts of interest and any errors or misinterpretations are the responsibility of the authors.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erin C. Pischke
    • 1
    Email author
  • Z. Carter Berry
    • 2
  • Randall K. Kolka
    • 3
  • Jacob Salcone
    • 11
  • Diana Córdoba
    • 5
  • Xoco Shinbrot
    • 4
  • Sergio Miguel López Ramirez
    • 6
  • Kelly W. Jones
    • 4
  • Russell G. Congalton
    • 7
  • Robert H. Manson
    • 8
  • Juan José Von Thaden Ugalde
    • 8
  • Theresa Selfa
    • 9
  • V. Sophie Avila Foucat
    • 10
  • Heidi Asbjornsen
    • 7
  1. 1.University of OregonEugeneUSA
  2. 2.Schmid College of Science and TechnologyChapman UniversityOrangeUSA
  3. 3.USDA Forest ServiceNorthern Research Station, Center for Research on Ecosystem ChangeGrand RapidsUSA
  4. 4.Colorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  5. 5.School of Environmental StudiesUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCanada
  6. 6.Michigan Technological UniversityHoughtonUSA
  7. 7.Department of Natural Resources and the EnvironmentUniversity of New HampshireDurhamUSA
  8. 8.Instituto de Ecología, A.C.XalapaMexico
  9. 9.Department of Environmental Studies, College of Environmental Science and ForestryState University of New YorkSyracuseUSA
  10. 10.Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Instituto de Investigaciones EconómicasMexicoMexico
  11. 11.UN EnvironmentGenevaSwitzerland

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