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The Value of Forests

Payments for Ecosystem Services for a Green Economy

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Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) describes the situation where the user of an environmental service, such as water purification, pays the landowners who provide that service. For PES to exist, there must be a clearly defined user and supplier, as well as a number of other necessary conditions, which are defined in this document using a summary of current sources. Particular attention is paid to how these conditions currently obtain within the UNECE region. The range of forest environment services is explored through fourteen detailed case studies, which examine best practice in promoting PES. Political and public relations implications of PES are discussed at length, and recommendations include the need for clarity about where PES may be a useful tool in moving towards a green economy and where other methods may be more appropriate.

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Introduction

There are a number of definitions for the term ‘Payment for Ecosystem services’ (PES), but in general it refers to situations where a specific, usually local, agreement is made for users of an ecosystem service to pay the providers of that service. It is distinct from environmental payments such as taxes, subsidies, grants and penalties, because the payment is agreed in advance between the user and provider, and the monies paid go to the provider, not into a general public purse.

English

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