Payment for Ecosystem Service, or PES programs are defined as “formal and informal contracts in which landowners are remunerated for managing their land to produce one or more ecosystem service, [and that involve] actual payments between at least one willing buyer and one willing seller to produce or enhance a well-defined ecosystem service or bundle of services” (Mercer, Cooley, & Hamilton, 2001, p.1).
This definition raises many questions about the specifics of PES programs. What do they look like in practice? How formal does the mechanism need to be? What kind of outcomes to such programs achieve? This report seeks to answer these questions for the benefit of landowners, community groups, local governments, and businesses curious about whether such systems could become part of a strategy for addressing climate adaption needs or other environmental concerns.
Common themes among successful PES schemes:
- A strong and broad coalition of groups supporting them from the early planning stages through implementation
- Assembled coalitions help to gain trust and respect from local communities and partners
- Allowing adequate time to create partnerships, with parties willing to put in years of work to see outcomes of their PES program