in an area where local people sell firewood
for a living. This is causing deforestation, and the landscape is being
damaged. Also, wild life is in danger, quality of the soil is diminishing, and crop
production and water supply are being reduced, affecting the life of people in
a downstream village. What can the representative do to help prevent
deforestation in this area? Using Payment for Ecosystem services or PES. PES is
a tool that is used to help environmental conservation, like preventing people livelihood.
But how exactly does it work? PES is an instrument designed to help change the
practice of people who carryout damaging activities. Recognizing that if they
do so, they contribute to providing services that are valuable to others. For
example, downstream villagers can pay those who cut down trees to plant news
tress and take care of the forest instead. This allows them to continue earning
a living while improving the environmental conditions of their communities
without damaging other communities. To make it work, the agreement needs to be
beneficial for all parties. For those who invest in paying for the change of
practice, the benefits need to be big enough to compensate for the money they
have invested. And for those who change their activity, the payment they
receive has to be at least as large as what they were paid before the change.
can only work where there is transparent institution of capacity, where resource
access and ownership is not in dispute. And where there is a balanced
distribution of power. PES needs to be part of policies and conservation programs
that are design with the participation of local communities.
scientific evidence is still being collected on how PES can ensure its benefits.
Meanwhile, PES agreements are in place in several parts of the world and they
are expectations that they can help to improve environmental conditions. So, it
is really important to get it right.