This page is a work in progress and I welcome contributions and corrections. It is meant to give people an idea of the types of ecosystem conservation payment initiatives taking place around the world, rather than to discuss or analyze any of these initiatives in-depth.  If you know of other conservation payment initiatives and would like to post information about them, please send me the relevant information to my e-mail address (see my homepage) or use the comment box listed under "Quick Links" on the left-hand toolbar. You can also use the same means to contact me with comments or complaints.

The initiatives are coarsely organized by country and type.  You can scroll down the page or use the dropdown menus in the left frame to go directly to a geographic area or initiative type. I am primarily interested in payment initiatives that have the following characteristics, which I have adapted and extended from Sven Wunder’s definition of Payments for Environmental Services (2007, Conservation Biology):

  1. A variable payment, in cash or in-kind, is made conditional on a well-defined, biodiversity-related outcome, which may include measures of species abundance, nesting success, or habitat quantity free of a specified level of disturbance (i.e., quantity of a given quality).(i)  In some cases (e.g., aquatic habitat quality), the outcome may be costly to observe or may be substantially affected by factors outside the control of the supplier. Payment may therefore be conditional upon observable performance that is correlated with the desired outcome (e.g., paying landowners to create riparian buffers that reduce runoff into nearby surface waters). (ii)
  2. The buyer (payer) of the outcome does not have complete control over the production of the outcome, whereas the seller (payee) has partial or total control over the production of the outcome (specifically, if we’re talking about protecting habitat, the seller has legal or de facto control over the habitat’s fate for the duration of the contract, although competing stakeholders may exist). (iii)
  3. 3. Sellers participate in the contract voluntarily (although a regulatory threat, should not enough volunteers be forthcoming, may be implied).  Buyers may participate voluntarily or they may be induced to participate via regulatory means (e.g., taxes or user fee charges, cap-and-trade or offset system).

This definition should make clear why I prefer the term “conservation performance payments” rather than “direct payments” (yes, I’ve used that term in publications, but only because “conservation performance payments” seemed too much of a mouthful for people) or “payments for environmental services” (not precise enough). Note that, for this website, I am NOT particularly interested in conservation finance mechanisms, which are distinct from conservation payment initiatives (click here for more information).  Despite these emphases, however, you may find initiatives listed that are only dabbling in payments, use somewhat indirect payment schemes or focus on more broadly defined ecosystem services.  You should also check out the following websites, particularly for payments systems that are not directly focused on habitat or biodiversity:  Flows, Ecosystem Marketplace, Sven Wunder's PES site and SANREM's Knowledgebase (under SANREM Project ID, choose PES-1). For cases in the marine environment that may not be listed on this page, take a look at For cases that may not be listed on this website, take a look at

(i) The notions of “variable” and “conditional” imply that offering someone a school or land title in exchange for a promise to provide environmental services is not a PES unless the amount of school or land title can be varied with performance (e.g., part of the school is destroyed or some of the rights inherent in the title are rescinded if the quality or quantity of services is lower than promised).

(ii) Connecting payments to observable performance rather than outcomes is akin to compensating a private firm’s manager, whose exact contributions to short-run and long-run profits are not easily observed, based on observable actions or indicators that owners believe are correlated with these profits.

(iii) This characteristic implies that the wages or fees a farmer pays to laborers to construct a riparian vegetative strip on the farmer’s land are not considered payments for biodiversity outcomes.








































The Americas



Costa Rica:

Dominican Republic:


El Salvador:


French Guiana:





United States:


Asia/ South Pacific

American Samoa:







Solomon Islands:






South Africa:









Intitiative By Contracted Outcome

Watershed Services:



Compensation for Wildlife Damage:

**Note** I do not consider these to be direct payment initiatives, but list a few anyway.  For an explanation of why I don't consider these to be direct payment initiatives, see:

Nyhus, P.J., Osofsky, S. A., Ferraro, P.J, F. Madden, H. Fischer. 2005. Bearing the costs of human-wildlife conflict: The challenges of compensation schemes. In People and Wildlife: Conflict or Coexistence? (eds R. Woodroffe, S. Thirgood & A. Rabinowitz), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, pp. 107-121.


Initiatives By Contract Recipient




General Documents on the Topic:


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