WCS Global Initiatives

Payments for Ecosystem Services

WCS has been working with communities and governments around the world to develop incentives that encourage the sustainable management of ecosystem services, to support rural livelihoods, and protect biodiversity. One type of incentive scheme WCS has piloted are “Payments for Ecosystem Services” (PES) which refer to a voluntary transaction in which the generation of a clearly defined ecosystem services is being paid for by a buyer from a seller, only if the seller secures the provisioning of that service. This element of conditionality makes PES a unique and effective approach for conservation.

 

Examples from the Field

 
       
 
       
 
       

 

Photo credits (top to bottom): WCS Cambodia; David Wilkie; Julie Maher Larsen/WCS; Charles and Lara Foley.

Developing Science Standards

In partnership with The Earth Institute of Columbia University, WCS is exploring how PES can be designed to be more effective and more sustainable through the development of science standards that ensure the integrity and credibility of PES projects We believe these  standards will encourage investment in ecosystem-based markets and optimize the ecological and social returns of PES.

Learn more about our ongoing work at: http://eices.columbia.edu/research/curren-projects/establishing-global-science-standards-for-payments-for-ecosystem-service

Bundling and Stacking Ecosystem Services

WCS believes any investments in natural capital should be founded upon multiple ecosystem service values, so, that we create incentives that are sufficient to stimulate the conservation and sustainable use of multiple species and functions comprising ecosystems in the long-term. Bundling (the integration of multiple ecosystems services provided at the same location into one creditor unit) and stacking (the generation of individual ecosystem service credit types from the same area) represent opportunities to optimize multiple benefits provided by a landscape or seascape through ecosystem service markets and payments, such as PES. Both approaches represent unique challenges and opportunities, which vary across ecological, social, economic, and political contexts. WCS is exploring these issues with a range of partners.

Featured Event: 2012 Bundling & Stacking Workshop

WCS, in concert with the TransLinks partnership, hosted a two-day workshop on bundling and stacking approaches to PES schemes. Read more about the results of this workshop at workshop webpage:  2012 Bundling and Stacking Workshop


Understanding Nature, Wealth and Power

Promoting Transformation by Linking Nature, Wealth and Power (TransLinks) was a five year program funded by USAID to identify, develop, and disseminate best practices and tools used to apply PES and other market-based approaches to support poverty reduction through conservation and sound governance of ecosystems and the services they generate. In a partnership consisting of WCS, Forest Trends, the Land Tenure Center of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, The Earth Institute of Columbia University, and USAID, the TransLinks project resulted in hundreds of case studies, workshops, and training events to further knowledge on if/how PES can be leveraged to support conservation and poverty reduction.

Details about WCS’s work on PES can be found on the TransLinks website. TransLinks was a five year program funded by USAID to identify, develop, and disseminate lessons, best practices, and tools used to apply PES and other market-based approaches to support people living in threatened ecosystems, through conservation and sustainable use of the natural resource base upon which their livelihoods depend, in partnership with WCS, Forest Trends, Enterprise Works/VITA, the Land Tenure Center of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and The Earth Institute of Columbia University.

This film that presents six case studies that highlight some of TransLinks' most interesting findings and outcomes.

Learn more about the TransLinks program at: translinks.org