Payments for ecosystem services schemes: project-level insights on benefits for ecosystems and the rural poor

The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) has released working paper, titled "Payments for ecosystem services schemes: project-level insights on benefits for ecosystems and the rural poor." The paper examines 36 payments for ecosystem services (PES) projects in which beneficiaries of ecosystem services make direct financial transfers to land owners and users in order to secure management practices that will conserve the identified services. The paper examines three types of ecosystem services namely, carbon sequestration and storage, biodiversity protection and watershed protection to reveal that the biggest challenge faced by PES projects is financial – as a result of low values placed on ecosystem services. Overall, the paper concludes that financial incentives are critical to changing management practices, however compensation for every ecosystem service that is protected is not necessarily required.