Work Package 5

“Payments for Ecosystem Services”

Payments for ecosystem services (PES) aim at the valorization of ecosystem services, thus generating additional sources of income for local land users. This can provide incentives to maintain forest eco-systems. Ecosystem services (ES) include provisioning services (e.g. wood, non-timber forest products, medicinal plants…etc.), regulating services (e.g. water quality, carbon sequestration) and culturalservices (e.g. eco-tourism).

Even though there are a number of positive examples (PAGIOLA 2008; WUNDER & ALBÁN 2008), the broad implementation of such PES systems currently lags behind expectations (PATTANAYAKet al. 2010; ARRIAGADA et al. 2012). User driven systems have been shown to be more efficient compared to state organized ones (WUNDER et al.2008; PATTANAYAK et al. 2010).

However, high transaction costs are often a limiting factor (FERRARO2008; VATN 2010). A well balanced mix of PES is advocated by many authors. Therefore it is necessary, first, to determine potential services at the appropriate spatial scale (local, regional, global), and second, to identify potential payers. In addition, legal and institutional frameworks need to be analyzed in different countries and cultural contexts. The risk of losing specific ecosystem services needs to be considered and costs for providing these need to be analyzed (WÜNSCHER et al. 2008;ROBERT & STENGER 2013).

The WP in general informs policy makers on the suitability of PES as an instrument for forest protection and provides know-how on necessary preconditions. At the same time it detects ecosystem services that have the potential to be included in PES schemes and identifies countries and regions where PES schemes might successfully contribute to forest conservation.

Research questions

  • Which ES have the potential for being marketed and thus might contribute to the protection and conservation of tropical forests? What are the necessary local and regional preconditions?
  • Which is the corresponding scale of demand (local, regional, global), and how large are the respective benefits for the consumers?
  • Which institutional conditions (legal, markets, enforcement) need to be sustained, created or changed for the marketing of ES?
  • How can prices and other marketing conditions be determined and designed in a way that maximizes effectivity and efficiency of payments for ES, minimizes financial, social and environmental costs, and thus contributes substantially to forest conservation?


Based at the CICES-classification (HAINES-YOUNGUND POTSCHIN 2013), surveys will be conducted at local and national level as well as in selected additional countries worldwide in order to determinelocal, national and worldwide monetary benefits of promising ecosystem services.

The resulting information will be aggregated to demand curves which are the basis for determining the maximum potential that can be marketed for each ecosystem service considered. A second step will analyze how much of the theoretically market able potential can be actually realized. On this basis, situation-adapted proposals for PES schemes will be elaborated, taking into account institutional aspects (like market access, property rights, customary rights) as well as technical questions (transport, informationbarriers).