The Livelihood Impacts of Payments for Environmental Services and Implications for REDD+
International discussions on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) foresee payment for environmental services (PES) schemes as an important mechanism to provide local incentives for the conservation and enhancement of carbon stocks. There are concerns, however, about the potential impacts of REDD+ and PES on local livelihoods. This article assesses the livelihood impacts of seven existing PES schemes using a comparative case study approach, and reviews lessons for the design of REDD+. It finds that PES schemes provided some livelihood benefits to participants, particularly in terms of building individual participants’ and community institutions’ capacity, and in some cases contributing to income. Insights for the design of PES for REDD+ schemes are derived in relation to the issues of the role of intermediaries, individual versus collective contracts, payment schedules and amounts, conditionality and permanence, and property and access rights.