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Effective Conservation ScienceData Not Dogma$
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Peter Kareiva, Michelle Marvier, and Brian Silliman

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198808978

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198808978.001.0001

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Are payments for ecosystem services benefiting ecosystems and people?

Are payments for ecosystem services benefiting ecosystems and people?

(p.159) Chapter 25 Are payments for ecosystem services benefiting ecosystems and people?
Effective Conservation Science

Paul J. Ferraro

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the evidence surrounding whether payments for ecosystem services (PES) have delivered the anticipated benefits for people and nature. Proponents claim PES are scalable and clearly link conservation investments to conservation objectives. PES also materially reward rural households, thereby potentially alleviating poverty and reducing conflict between conservation and rural communities. The reality is not so simple. Theory yields ambiguous predictions, even implying that the more participants gain from PES, the less the environment gains, and offering no reason to expect win-wins to automatically arise. The empirical evidence is scant, with very few examples of even modest environmental and social impacts. Nevertheless, alternative conservation approaches have no better evidence of transformative impacts (and often much worse evidence). Given that solutions exist for making PES more likely to achieve their purported environmental benefits, scholars and practitioners would be ill-advised to abandon PES programs, but well advised to design better assessments.

Keywords:   PES, evaluation, alleviating poverty, win-win

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