Payments for environmental services? A solution for biodiversity conservation?

by Sheila Wertz-Kanounnikoff, Institut du développement durable et des relations internationales (Iddri), 2006
Language : English

Direct payments for environmental services (PES) are increasingly becoming subject of national development strategies and of actions promoted by large networks of non-governmental conservation organizations as means to finance biodiversity conservation. They arose also partly in response to the criticism against the efficiency of traditional approaches to conservation. Based on a literature review, the objective of this note is to assemble lessons learned from PES schemes in general and for biodiversity conservation in particular. Specifically, this note synthesizes the conceptual approach and current experiences of PES, and assesses the tool with respect to its economic, social and environmental impact to thus contribute to the debate on the perspective of environmental service markets for biodiversity conservation. It concludes that PES cannot be considered as panacea for biodiversity conservation, but that they can present a promising tool notably to internalize indirect use values derived from ecosystems, such as water filtration functions of wetlands or storm protection functions of mangroves, that provide benefits to human beings outside the ecosystem and for which the traditional set of environmental policy instruments had long been deficient.

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Wertz-Kanounnikoff, Sheila. 2006. Payments for environmental services? A solution for biodiversity conservation? Idées pour le débat 12/2006.