In defence of simplified PES designs


Payments for ecosystem services (PES) schemes are underperforming. Wunder et al.1 conclude that this is because many projects are allowing local politics, rather than economistic theory, to dictate who participates, and how they are paid and sanctioned. While we appreciate their analysis, our view is that their work downplays key evidence about the importance of maintaining the legitimacy of PES schemes amongst local participants, and the wider range of social–ecological factors that may explain variability in PES effectiveness. We argue that simplification of such schemes, by enhancing local transparency and acceptability, can in fact be scientifically justified and central to project effectiveness.


Publication info: Wells, G., Ryan, C., Fisher, J. et al. 2020. In defence of simplified PES designs. Nat Sustain 3, 426–427 (2020).


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