Refining the definition of PES schemes

The original definition of Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) schemes by Wunder et al. (2005) was recently modified to reflect variations in the implementation of real-life PES schemes.

Sven Wunder presented the modified definition at the CIVILand conference on payments for ecosystem services and their institutional dimensions organized in November 2011 by the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (pdf of the presentation here).

The definition has been reformulated as follows (in italics):

1. voluntary transaction – to a variable extent on the buyer side; to full extent on provider side

2. a well-defined environmental service (ES) or a land-use proxy, or some bundle thereof

3. is being “bought” by a (min. one) ES buyer – which can be a public entity

4. from a (min. one) ES provider or a community

5. if and only if the ES provider continuously secures ES provision – i.e. conditionality has to be present to some extent in design and function

The institutional needs for PES schemes remain the same: cooperation & trust between providers, buyers, and regulators, land & resource rights, degradation rights, and low transaction costs.

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