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The Value of Forests

Payments for Ecosystem Services for a Green Economy

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Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) describes the situation where the user of an environmental service, such as water purification, pays the landowners who provide that service. For PES to exist, there must be a clearly defined user and supplier, as well as a number of other necessary conditions, which are defined in this document using a summary of current sources. Particular attention is paid to how these conditions currently obtain within the UNECE region. The range of forest environment services is explored through fourteen detailed case studies, which examine best practice in promoting PES. Political and public relations implications of PES are discussed at length, and recommendations include the need for clarity about where PES may be a useful tool in moving towards a green economy and where other methods may be more appropriate.

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What role can PES play in moving towards a green economy?

The Action Plan for the Forest Sector of member states in the UNECE region in a Green Economy (hereafter Action Plan) specifically refers to compensating suppliers for providing ecosystem services wherever possible, and PES is a possible mechanism for providing this. According to TEEB, “there is potential to scale up existing PES (from local initiatives to national coverage), to implement PES in more countries, to make PES more efficient and to address issues of permanence” (TEEB). The possibilities to apply PES at a larger scale and the associated benefits for a green economy are further discussed in this Chapter. The issues for consideration are

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