This publication highlights the concept and selected market segments relating to payments for ecosystem services. It emphasises the role natural capital can play in both environmental conservation and in poverty alleviation, and highlights the potential benefits of ecosystem-based economic development in an accessible, non-technical manner.
GRID-Arendal hopes this publication will be helpful for policy advisors and civil society representatives (non-government, community-based organisations and local businesses) working with community-based projects providing training in relation to ecosystem services."
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'An ecosystem is a dynamic complex of plants, animals, micro-organisms and their non-living environment, of which people are an integral part. The benefits that we derive from nature and rely on every day, from timber and food to water and climate regulation, are all ecosystem services’, IUCN Commission for Ecosystem Management (IUCN-CEM).
Human life and activity depend directly on the health of ecosystems and the services they provide. For urban dwellers these services may seem remote, often taken for granted in day-to-day life. For rural populations, ecosystem services yield more visible benefits while for the poor in rural areas they often represent a vital lifeline for subsistence. In fact, ecosystem services form the basis of all life on planet Earth andare fundamental to human well-being.
In this publication we look at the 23 ecosystem services as described by the World Resources Institute (2011) and the United Nations Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA, 2005). Five specific market segments relating to Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) – carbon sequestration, watershed management, biodiversity, landscape beauty, and bundled services – are illustrated, drawing on case studies, graphics and photographs. An additional section explores the role PES could play in alleviating poverty.