Paying farmers to protect forest watersheds in Vietnam & China: The long-term prognosis

Through cash payments, China’s central government has taken steps to reduce the environmental impacts of farming on steep slopes. Colin Carpenter/International Rivers.

Through cash payments, China’s central government has taken steps to reduce the environmental impacts of farming on steep slopes. Colin Carpenter/International Rivers.

As China and Vietnam move toward decentralised, market-baed economies, they will need to improve the cost-effectiveness of ambitious programmes offering cash rewards to farmers who help protect forests, watersheds and other vulnerable ecosystems, a new study by the Center for International Forestry Research suggests.

Local communities, whose participation at the moment is generally mandatory, will also need to have a greater say in how they manage the land.

“The key is to find a way to make these Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) schemes sustainable in the long run,” said Vijay Kolinjivadi, lead author of the report looking at the governments’ driving role in the projects and what impact that has.

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