Privatisation of biodiversity: who can sell ecosystem services?

Walters Nsoh (Lead / Corresponding author), Colin T. Reid

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    11 Citations (Scopus)
    256 Downloads (Pure)


    A Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) Scheme is a mechanism whereby a source of income is provided to encourage those who refrain from land management practices that have a negative effect on an ecosystem, thereby providing benefits for the public or specific beneficiaries. Such payments could be made in the form of flat subsidies or negotiated contracts to ensure that greater efficiency can be achieved. While these schemes have been in operation in many parts of the world with varying degree of success, they are only now increasingly being taken up in the UK as a one way of conserving biodiversity. There are generally benefits to this approach, but also challenges that must be faced when applying this mechanism, especially based on the lessons from other areas. The main aim of this paper is to present some of these challenges to be faced if the use of PES is to be expanded. Specifically, this paper assesses whether participation in PES should be decided based on actual ownership or occupationof land, noting the endless variety of tenancy agreements, including the particular problem of common land in England and crofting in Scotland. Although, mainly driven by the economic interests of the beneficiaries, the paper argues for the need to devise appropriate legal safeguards that are able to withstand changes in ownership and occupation, and to pay the different ownership and occupation interests for the ecosystem services they provide or support in one way or another.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)12-20
    Number of pages9
    JournalEnvironmental Law and Management
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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