Payments for Ecosystem Services: Past, Present and Future

31 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2019 Last revised: 26 Jan 2019

See all articles by James E. Salzman

James E. Salzman

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Donald Bren School of Environmental Science & Management; University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law

Genevieve Bennett

Forest Trends

Nathaniel Carroll

Forest Trends

Allie Goldstein

Forest Trends

Michael Jenkins

Forest Trends

Date Written: 2018

Abstract

Recent decades have witnessed a considerable increase in Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) — programs that exchange value for land management practices intended to provide or ensure ecosystem services — with over 550 active programs around the globe and an estimated US$36-42 billion in annual transactions. PES represent a recent policy instrument with often very different programs operating at local, regional and national levels. Despite the growth of these programs, comprehensive and reliable data have proven difficult to find. This essay expands our analysis published in Nature Sustainability. It provides an assessment of the trends and current status of PES mechanisms — user-financed, government-financed and compliance — across the domains of water, biodiversity, and forest and land-use carbon around the world. We report the various dimensions of growth over the past decade (number of programs, geographical spread, dollar value) to understand better the range of PES mechanisms over time and to examine which factors have contributed to or hindered growth. Four key features stand out for scaling up PES: motivated buyers, motivated sellers, metrics and low-transaction-cost institutions.

Keywords: environmental law, natural resources law, law and economics, international environmental law, and international law

Suggested Citation

Salzman, James E. and Bennett, Genevieve and Carroll, Nathaniel and Goldstein, Allie and Jenkins, Michael, Payments for Ecosystem Services: Past, Present and Future (2018). 6 Texas A&M Law Review 199 (2018); UCLA School of Law, Law-Econ Research Paper No. 18-14. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3301017

James E. Salzman (Contact Author)

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Donald Bren School of Environmental Science & Management ( email )

4670 Physical Sciences North
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-5131
United States

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law ( email )

385 Charles E. Young Dr. East
Room 1242
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476
United States

Genevieve Bennett

Forest Trends ( email )

Nathaniel Carroll

Forest Trends ( email )

Allie Goldstein

Forest Trends ( email )

Michael Jenkins

Forest Trends ( email )

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