Focali brief: Conserving nature on a budget – context matters

Photo by: Marco Simola CIFOR

Focali brief: Conserving nature on a budget – context matters

This new Focali brief, written by Liv Lundberg and Martin Persson, offers guidance to policy makers on PES program design. Payments for ecosystem services (PES) programs are an increasingly popular policy tool to conserve nature. A recent study conducted by the authors shows that considering context - be it political, economic or geographical - is key in designing PES programs for maximum conservation impact.

Several of the great environmental challenges today, such as climate change and loss of biodiversity, are linked to land-use practices. When addressing these issues, conflicts may arise between the economic interests of individual land owners and the goals of conservation agencies. Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) is a policy that bridges this gap by providing compensation to land owners. Today there are PES programs all around the world, implemented in vastly different contexts. This brief offers guidance to policy makers on how to tailor program design to maximize impact in a given setting.

Read the brief here

Key points:

  • Accounting for context is key when designing Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) programs for maximum impact.
  • Prioritizing land owners that provide high ecosystem services generally increases PES effectiveness, but is particularly important when land providing most ecosystem services also is the most expensive to protect.
  • PES programs have larger impacts when targeting services that land owner are unlikely to provide without getting paid, such as reforestation.
  • When paying for ecosystem services that are likely to be provided in absence of payments, PES programs should use fixed payments and prioritize landowners that provide high ecosystem values.
Questions to the brief authors: contact Liv Lundberg

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