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A Revised Conceptual Framework for Payments for Environmental Services

Matthew M. Sommerville, Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London
Julia P. G. Jones, School of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Bangor
E. J. Milner-Gulland, Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London


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Over the past decade, “Payments for Environmental Services” (PES) have received a great deal of attention as a natural-resource management approach. We propose a revised definition and framework for PES implementation that focuses on the use of positive incentives as the philosophy behind PES and conditionality as the method for influencing behaviors. We note the importance of additionality of PES interventions to justify their value in a wider context. Finally, we highlight the need to understand the local institutional context in terms of the characteristics of buyers, sellers, and their relationship for implementation to be effective. Our framework acts as a platform to begin examining how the variety of options for structuring PES projects can be adapted to a range of existing institutional contexts.

Key words

additionality; conditional; ecosystem services; environmental management; incentives; institutions; monitoring; transactions

Copyright © 2009 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087