Payments for Ecosystem Services: A Best Practice Guide

Date of report

May 2013

Author of the report


Purpose of the report

Defra has published a guide to both explain the key principles of Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) and to help with the implementation of such services. PES is a voluntary agreement between owners of land or other natural resources to beneficiaries of agreed ecosystem services. The basic philosophy behind PES is that anyone providing ecosystem services should be paid as with any other service should be paid for doing so. The guide is delivered in three separate sections, the first of which describes the key principles of PES. Section two provides detailed information on the implementation of such systems, with the final section identifying useful sources of further information and resources.

Relevance to the region

In 2005, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment concluded that on a global scale, the majority of ecosystem services have been degraded. This was further confirmed by The UK National Ecosystem Assessment (NEA) published in 2011, about 30% of ecosystems are in decline, with many others in a reduced or degraded state. If we protect our ecosystem as a region, there are multiple wide ranging benefits to be had.

What SWM liked

SWM like that this report not only introduces the Payment for Ecosystem Services scheme, but also serves to provide step-by-step advice for those designing and implementing these schemes. SWM love a good case study. With this report is an annex of case studies of existing schemes which can be used for shared learning.

Links and contact information

For more information about Payment for Ecosystem Services schemes, visit the Defra website.


Payment for Ecosystem Services

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