The Case for International Payments for Ecosystem Services
Edited by Joshua Bishop and Chloe Hill
Chapter 2: Ecosystems, economics and payment for ecosystem services
● There is increasing evidence of the significant benefits provided by nature. These benefits can be described as 'ecosystem services', including direct, indirect, tangible and intangible values. ● Many important ecosystem services are ignored or undervalued by both policy makers and the market, due to missing property rights and the pervasive problem of externalities. The result is widespread market failure, economic waste and excessive environmental decline. ● While there are synergies between some ecosystem services, there are also trade-offs, particularly between commodity production and so-called 'regulating' or 'cultural' ecosystem services. Some ecosystem services are local in scope, while others may be enjoyed at a national or international scale, such as carbon sequestration or the non-use values of biodiversity conservation. ● Ecosystem services can be valued in economic or monetary terms, using a range of indirect estimation methods perfected over many years. ● Increasing awareness of the value of ecosystem services has stimulated the development of a range of different economic incentive and payment schemes, often lumped together under the term 'payment for ecosystem services' (PES). _ Most existing PES schemes focus on a narrow range of ecosystem services: climate regulation, water flow regulation, erosion control and scenic beauty. ● PES is increasingly employed in both developed and developing countries. Public support for PES depends on many factors, notably the ability to persuade beneficiaries to pay for services that they may have previously enjoyed for free.
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