Last updated August 2011
PES Projects
Scaling up payments for watershed services: Designing regional compensation systems to safeguard water supplies for downstream agriculture
Uncovering the scope for environmental service payments in the conservation of the North Andean Corridor
Making Nature count: enhancing payments for environmental service initiatives in Ecuador and Colombia
Stakeholders and biodiversity at the local level: building on opportunities
Carbon sequestration and sustainable livelihoods
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Stakeholders and Biodiversity at the Local Level: Building on Opportunities

The overall aim of this project was concluded in 2005 and funded by the Swiss Development Corporation (SDC), was to strengthen local people’s capacity to plan and implement locally relevant and viable forest landscape management. One component of the project aimed at assessing and evaluating viable opportunities for trading in environmental services, and communicating the results to key stakeholders.

If communities are to manage forests in ways that are compatible with conservation they will have to benefit in some ways from doing this. This project set out to identify and evaluate how this might be done. A range of incentives were examined, including compensating forest owners and users for environmental services that their forests supply (e.g. ecotourism opportunities, watershed protection, or biodiversity). To be viable, such schemes must not only benefit external stakeholders but also adequately compensate the landowners for any opportunities that they forego in providing the services. Thus an understanding of the perceptions and needs of local communities related to forest landscapes was also needed, linking this to the other two objectives of the project:

  • To develop appropriate mechanisms for integrating local perceptions and views in decision making and planning

  • To facilitate greater involvement by local people and other stakeholders in decision making and planning at the local level.

Fieldwork was carried out by CIFOR researchers and associates in Bolivia and Vietnam. In Bolivia, a range of PES and PES-like initiatives were reviewed. The results of this study have been recently published (Nina Robertson and Sven Wunder, Fresh Tracks in the Forest: assessing incipient environmental services initiatives in Bolivia, Center for International Forestry Research, Bogor, Indonesia, 2005). CIFOR assisted a Bolivian NGO, Fundación Natura, in the development of a pilot watershed protection payment scheme near Santa Cruz. A number of suggestions were made for redesigning some of the management features of the scheme, some of which have already been implemented with positive outcomes. CIFOR also helped to develop a rapid hydrological assessment protocol, to establish the link between water supply and upstream land use, so as to provide an empirical underpinning for the PES agreement being negotiated with downstream water users (see interim hydrology report). This approach has applications elsewhere.

Finally, two workshops on the potential of PES, organised jointly with our Bolivian partner Fundación Natura, were held to present and discuss results with Bolivian stakeholders in April 2006. One was designed as a half-day thematic event at the Bolivian forestry congress in Santa Cruz, targeting mainly professionals and academics. The second was held in La Paz, targeting actors in the political arena and invited PES practitioners/ interestees from different parts of Bolivia.

A similar survey of prototype PES schemes was conducted in Vietnam in collaboration with Vietnamese partners from the University of Hué: “Payment is good, control is better. Why payments for forest environmental services in Vietnam have so far remained incipient”, by Sven Wunder, Bui Dung The and Enrique Ibarra (download pdf file CIFOR, 2005). The results of this study have been presented at a workshop co-organized with the project Rewarding the Upland Poor for Environmental Services (RUPES), led by the World Agroforestry Centre. The work in Vietnam will continue through collaboration with RUPES and the Forest Science Institute of Vietnam. The consortium is currently preparing a proposal to this effect for the Vietnam Tropical Forest Fund.

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