Surveying views on Payments for Ecosystem Services: implications for environmental management and research
The concept of Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) is globally of increasing interest. However, little is known about the views and expectations of professionals and practitioners expected to enable or implement this concept. Since these individuals design, select, shape and deliver environmental management, their views and expectations are critical to understanding how PES may play out in practice. Using the first survey on this topic, in the UK this research discusses the implications for future research and environmental management. Responses indicate a range of views about PES and its potential effects. Most expect to see greater use of PES in future; and are cautiously positive about the environmental, social and economic consequences of doing so. Many hope PES may overcome existing challenges facing environmental management, subject to conditions or changes. The research also revealed tensions related to broader challenges in environmental governance – e.g. calls for standardisation may conflict with requests for adaptability. Meanwhile, other expectations – e.g. improved engagement with groups currently uninterested in the environment – indicate priorities that may be better addressed with other instruments. Varied views are likely in most countries and must be assessed to better understand the prospects and potential of PES.
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