Payments for environmental services (PES), the non-provisioning part of ecosystem services, target alignment of microeconomic incentives for land users with meso- and macroeconomic societal costs and benefits of their choices across stakeholders and scales. They can interfere with or complement social norms and rights-based approaches at generic (land-use planning) and individual (tenure, use rights) levels; they interact with macroeconomic policies influencing the drivers to which individual agents respond. In many developing country contexts, community scale factors strongly influence land users' decisions, whereas unclear land rights complicate the use of market-based instruments. PES concepts need to adapt. Multiple paradigms have emerged within the broad PES domain. Evidence suggests that forms of “coinvestment in stewardship” (CIS) alongside rights are the preferred entry point. Commodification of environmental services (ES) and ES markets might evolve later on, but require strong government regulation to set and enforce rules of the game. We frame hypotheses for wider testing and “no-regrets” recommendations for practitioners.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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