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TABLE 5.2 Impacts of payment for ecosystem services schemes on poverty reduction Country/study


Seller characteristics/results


China/Bennett (2008)

Sloping land conversion program

Tens of millions of rural households; 9 million ha of marginal sloping lands converted from agriculture to forests, 4.92 million ha of degraded lands reforested

Annual in-kind payment of grain (1,500–2,250 kg per ha), cash subsidy ($36 per ha), and free seedlings. Length of subsidy depends on type of forests. Income from forests and grasslands tax free

Costa Rica/ Pagiola (2008)

Payments for environmental services

Private landowners, indigenous communities; 270,000 ha enrolled in 2005

Ecuador/Wunder and Albán (2008)


109 private landowners (50- ha minimum contract size), 43 communities.

$64 per ha per year for forest conservation and $816 per ha for 10 years for timber plantation (15% of which goes toward transactions fees) $100–$200 per ha to cover plantation costs; 70–100% value of harvested wood, 100% of nontimber forest products

oceans absorbed about 2Gt and terrestrial ecosystems about 2.7Gt. The remaining half remained in the atmosphere, increasing the concentration of CO2 and contributing to global warming (World Bank 2010d). Maintaining and, where possible, increasing the sequestration capacity of terrestrial, coastal, and marine ecosystems thus plays an important role in mitigating climate change. Healt hy ecosystems t hat sequester carbon also function better in flood and erosion management, increasing the adaptive capacity of ecosystem services such as agriculture, forestry, and fisheries in the following ways: • Coastal ecosystems (including mangroves and wetlands) reduce erosion and flooding and provide spawning grounds for marine species. • Freshwater wetlands and floodplains maintain water flow and quality, acting as floodwater reservoirs and water storage facilities in times of drought; they also provide grazing land for livestock and aquatic habitats. • Forests and vegetation stabilize slopes, control erosion and flash floods, and conserve soil fertility for agriculture.

Impact on income Mixed results: in Gansu, 50% of participants lost 8% of 1999 household net income; in Sichuan, 30% lost 11% of net income; in Shaanxi, 7% lost 33% of net income; estimates do not include net present value of future income from trees and grasses Bulk of benefits goes to larger and better off farmers, but no assessment of impact on poverty reduction Upfront payment of $60–$635 per household (6–50% of household expenditure); income of $7–$2,481 per household from harvesting

• Integration of trees into agricultural production systems builds climate resilience. However, ecosystem losses reduce their effectiveness as carbon sinks and their role in adaptation. Under current management regimes, land-based ecosystems in some countries contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions: emissions from agriculture, land use change, and forestry (deforestation, degradation, and fires) account for more than 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions (forests account for about 17 percent and agriculture another 14 percent) (UNFCCC 2007). Overall, more progress has been made in recognizing the importance of terrestrial ecosystems in climate regulation than in marine ecosystems, and more progress has been made in recognizing the role of forests in climate mitigation than of soils (UNEP and others 2009). Total carbon stocks in vegetation and in the top meter of soils are estimated at 466Gt (vegetation) and 2,011Gt (soil) (Ravindrah and Ostwald 2008; Watson and others 2000). The top meter of soil is important because annual crops depend on its quality and organic content for growth. For tropical forests, nearly half of the 428Gt of carbon stocks is from above-ground

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Inclusive Green Growth  

As the global population heads toward 9 billion by 2050, decisions made today will lock countries into growth patterns that may or may not b...