August 2009 - Edition 3
Table of Contents


Welcome to SinergiA


Reflections on the REDD Mechanism: Juan Carlos Romero


Preliminary Assessment of Environmental Services in the Los Quiroga Reservoir wetland, Province of Santiago del Estero, Argentina: Sarmiento, Dezzeo, Silva

Agroambiente Project: Projecting an Increased Supply of Environmental Services in the Agricultural Landscape of Amazonia: Joice Ferreira

Helping the Brazilian Surui People Restore Portions of their Ancestral Lands through Reforestation and Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD): Andrea Garzón

Sustainable Management of Forest Resources using REDD schemes in the Protector Alto Nangaritza Amazon Forest region of Ecuador: Luis Fernando Jara


Environmental service payments: Evaluating biodiversity conservation trade-offs and cost-efficiency in the Osa Conservation Area, Costa Rica: Barton and Rusch


Pro-Poor PES: Maria Bendana

State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2009: Ecosystem Marketplace and New Carbon Finance

Big REDD: Rhett Butler


Incentives to Sustain Forest Ecosystem Services: A Review and Lessons for REDD: Bond et. al

Tenure in REDD: Start-Point or Afterthought?: Cotula and Mayers

Legal Institutional Frameworks for Payments for Ecosystem Services: Eight Country Analysis: OAS

Payments for Watershed Service: The Bellagio Conversations: Asquith and Wunder


International Course: Adaptation to Climate Change: The Role of Ecosystem Services

Forest Carbon Technical Advisor: Katoomba Ecosystem Services Incubator

Call for Articles for the Mountain Forum’s Upcoming Issue on PES


Paramundi, 2nd Parámos (HIgh Mountains) World Congress: June


World Forestry Congress XIII: October

Carbon Markets Mexico and Central America: October

World Wilderness Congress, WILD 9: November

RedLAC Assembly: November


About Us



Dear Readers,


It is with great pleasure that we send you the third edition of SinergiA, a newsletter directed at those involved in the field of environmental services in Latin America. Thanks to new partnerships integrated into the consortium of networks that produce the newsletter, notably the Katoomba Group and the Network for Learning about Compensation for Environmental Services (RACSA -Red de Aprendizaje sobre la Compensacón por Servicios Ambientales), SinergiA has a new look and is able to reach a larger audience in three languages.

This edition of SinergiA is dedicated to co-benefits in the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) debate. This is an increasingly relevant topic in the search for a viable model to incorporate forests in a post-2012 agreement in international climate change mitigation negotiations. While the primary goal of REDD is to contribute towards emissions reductions, questions remain as to how to consider other environmental services from forests as well as the local needs of forest-dependent communities.

This edition of SinergiA offers opinions, tools, projects, publications and events related to these questions. We hope the articles offer useful perspectives for your work. As always, as we strive to serve the needs of those working in PES in Latin America, we welcome your comments and suggestions.



The SinergiA Network Team

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Reflections on the Redd Mechanism

Juan Carlos Romero

Coordinador Nacional - ECUADOR






In the past decade,while global financing for conservation and natural resource management - and for environmental issues in general - has decreased, the expenses of and challenges to conservation have remained high. Furthermore, highly dynamic political and social conditions are accelerating climate change, creating the need for new strategies for sustainable development. As a result, initiatives for and against the current development model have been proposed, many of which advocate on behalf of the environment and for local providers of renewable natural resources.

One of these initiatives has culminated in Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, commonly referred to as REDD. REDD is viewed as an effective tool for facilitating market investment in the reduction of emissions from deforestation in developing countries. REDD has been developed primarily under the leadership of private investment and NGO initiatives but is now beginning to command the attention of national governments and aid agencies. REDD thus distinguishes itself from traditional global initiatives for conservation finance promoted under the United Nations framework, which have historically focused on national actors and donor agencies.

Given this background, it is important to consider that private sector leadership in REDD by necessity relies on neoclassical economic criteria, the same criteria underlying the current disputed and weakened global financial model. Accordingly, distrust could arise around an investment mechanism which could, as has already occurred, potentially benefit investors (buyers of reduced emissions certificates), over beneficiaries (forests, local communities, or developing countries).

We use the word ‘could’ to communicate the fact that more than distrust, there are often expectations of REDD which are exaggerated as well as naïve.

These expectations have caused all sides to identify possible REDD projects with the goal of capturing finance for conservation. What many have failed to consider is how to ensure that investments contribute to local or national development while managing or reducing direct and indirect causes of deforestation. Answering this question presumes costs and externalities that increase the costs of conservation and require additional financing to deliver a ‘responsible’ REDD project. A responsible REDD project - one that contributes to sustainable development, equitably distributes benefits, and reduces pressures on the forest—will generate high costs and thus be less attractive to potential financial investors.

Nevertheless, REDD represents a window to international finance that should not be ignored. REDD should be promoted and prioritized on government agendas and include incentives for the equitable distribution of benefits, flexible financial mechanisms that support the improvement of agricultural production models, and the design, implementation and administration of regulations that promote the conservation of forest and páramo (high mountain) ecosystems.

The real question is whether investors are willing to consider these issues throughout their financial involvement in REDD.

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Preliminary Assessment of Environmental Services in the Los Quiroga Reservoir wetland, Province of Santiago del Estero, Argentina

Miguel Sarmiento: Director del Proyecto, Dr. ingeniero Forestal, Facultad de Ciencias Forestales Universidad Nacional de Santiago del Estero, Argentina migui[at]

Ruth Dezzeo Salas: Assistant. Facultad de Ciencias Forestales y Ambientales, Universidad de los Andes Merida, Venezuela

Carolina Silva Leon: Assistant. Facultad de Ciencias Forestales y Ambientales , Universidad de los Andes Merida, Venezuela


The National University of Santiago del Estero (UNSE) in Argentina is developing a project in the wetland of Los Quiroga reservoir, in the province of Santiago del Estero. The goal is to complete a preliminary inventory of potential environmental services existing in the wetland’s local and regional watershed. The project aims to include the data collected in a study analyzing the feasibility of a payment for environmental services (PES) scheme in the area.

The project is titled “Survey of ecosystem services and valuation of icthyc (fish) biodiversity in the Los Quiroga reservoir watershed: proposals for consideration in the sustainable management of the Salí-Dulce Basin”. It is being carried out by UNSE’s Forest Sciences Department with additional support from Venezuelan interns enrolled in the Forestry Department at the School of Forestry and Environmental Sciences of Universidad de los Andes in Mérida, Venezuela.

Principal objectives include:

1. Investigate the ecosystem services generated by the Los Quiroga reservoir wetland
2. Identify and describe the wetland’s icthyc biodiversity and evaluate it as a natural resource for local communities
3. Propose guidelines for incorporating the wetland’s ecosystem services and assessed biodiversity value into the sustainable management of the Salí-Dulce Basin
4. Generate scientific knowledge and disseminate local knowledge to the general public

The Los Quiroga reservoir wetland is located 15km northeast of the capital cities of Santiago del Estero-La Banda, which together form the primary urban center of the area and are home to approximately 326,000 inhabitants. Proximity to these cities has turned the reservoir into a principle tourist and recreation attraction for the inhabitants, particularly during the summer season.

The Los Quiroga reservoir was established in November 1951; its chief purpose is to divert water from Rio Dulce to an important network of irrigation canals to supply water for agricultural production and human consumption in the interior of Santiago del Estero province.

In addition to serving as an important recreational and local tourist attraction, the fish biodiversity associated with the Los Quiroga Reservoir wetland is a significant source of food for communities that live on the banks of the Rio Dulce, such as Los Quiroga and others.

The project is funded by the UNSE Ministry of Science and Technology for a period of two years: January 2009 to December 2010. In its first phase, the students conducted a survey to obtain general information. To determine social and economic aspects, they polled the citizens of the community in Quiroga as well as fishermen and visitors to the area of study. Later, the information was statistically analyzed and converted from qualitative responses into quantitative data. The results from this process generated the parameters for assessing environmental resources as economic values to be analyzed in the first phase of the project.

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Agroambiente Project: Projecting an Increased Supply of Environmental Services in the Agricultural Landscape of Amazonia

Joice Ferreira

Agronomista, Embrapa Amazônia Oriental, Brasil



The Agroambiente Project foresees a rise in the supply of environmental services in agricultural Amazonian landscapes. Although the environmental services of the Amazon are recognized globally, forest continues to be cleared for grazing and agriculture. The Agroambiente Project works to conserve native ecosystems and maintain the highest level of environmental services in agricultural landscapes and ecosystems. Agroambiente is supported primarily by Embrapa (Brazil’s agricultural research institute), as well as by INCT (the National Institute of Science and Technology) and partner institutions involved in the project from 2009-2011.

The environmental services evaluated by Agroambiente include: preservation of habitat and biodiversity; prevention of environmental degradation; regulation of water quality and quantity; maintenance of pollinator populations; carbon sequestration; and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Until recently, there has been no integrated or quantitative understanding of the degree to which agricultural production plays a role in maintaining these services. Agroambiente’s research is conducted within the context of the importance of this information, as well as of fair compensation mechanisms for ecosystem services.

Agroambiente studies are being carried out in the Brazilian Amazon in the area impacted by the Cuiabá-Santarém (BR-163) and Transamazonian (BR-230) highways. In this area of expanding agricultural frontier, the environmental services of forested areas are at great risk. The socio-economic considerations related to ecosystem service supply are being investigated under the different categories of land-use that exist in the region: small-scale agriculture, industrial grain production, and large-scale cattle-raising. Patterns of fragmentation and forest degradation, captured by satellite images, show links to socio-economic drivers and to the types of land use and agricultural management.

Each environmental service is measured in the field. Scenarios of additionality will be developed and possible payment mechanisms considered. Data will be integrated by means of modeling. The trade-off between agricultural productivity and environmental service supply will be determined, indicating the level of multi-functionality of the dominant agro-ecosystems of the Amazon. Agroambiente foresees that a rise in the supply of ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes in the Amazon can reduce poverty and improve the livelihoods of rural communities.

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Helping the Brazilian Surui People restore AND PROTECT their ancestral lands through reforestation and Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD)

Andrea Garzón, EcoDecisión



Since late 2007, Forest Trends and the Katoomba Group have been working with the Surui indigenous people, through the Katoomba Ecosystem Services Incubator, to channel carbon financing as a means of promoting the conservation of biodiversity and indigenous rights through REDD and reforestation initiatives.

While the Surui indigenous people are small in number, with an estimated 1,000 members, their territory covers an area of 248,000 hectares within the western Brazilian state of Rondônia. Until 40 years ago, prior to contact with the outside world, the Surui territory was intact. Federal government economic development incentives in the 1980s resulted in road construction, timber extraction, and agricultural expansion that accelerated deforestation and resource degradation in the area, with severe negative impacts to the tribe. Though Brazilian law no longer permits such activities, deforestation continues to occur, placing livelihoods and cultural traditions at risk.

The goal of the Surui project is to combine avoided deforestation with reforestation frameworks to provide alternative livelihood opportunities and preserve Surui culture. The project aims to achieve these objectives through sequestering a projected 3 million tons of carbon (over a 20-year period) and planting native species in an area covering 500 hectares. The project’s development is comprised of four principal activities, all currently underway:

1. Technical design work, including vegetation mapping, baseline modeling, and carbon stock analysis

2. Legal analyses of carbon rights on indigenous lands for reforestation and for REDD

3. Extensive process of community-level discussion and participatory planning

4. Baseline social and biodiversity assessments, to comply with CCB standards

Project Design Documents (PDD) are set to be drafted by September, 2009, with validation by March, 2010. This pilot project has been well received and has engaged with The Brazilian National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) and the Federation of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB), among others, who are interested in replicating this project model.

The Surui people are also partnering with the Amazon Conservation Team -Brazil (ACT-Brazil), The Ethno-Environmental Defence Association (KANINDE), The Institute for Conservation and Sustainable Development of Amazonas (IDESAM), and The Metareilá Association of the Surui Indigenous People (Gamebey).

For further details related to this project or other Incubator Initiatives visit

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Sustainable Management of Forest Resources using REDD schemes in the Protector Alto Nangaritza Amazon Forest region of Ecuador

Luis Fernando Jara



On the 15th of April, 2009, PROFAFOR SA (Ecuador FACE Afforestation Program, S.A.) launched a project to incorporate REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) mechanisms into sustainable forest management activities in the Ecuadorian Amazon area of Protector Alto Nangaritza, province of Zamora Chinchipe, community of Shuar Shaime.

The project entitled “Sustainable Management of Forest Resources using REDD schemes in the Comunity of Shuar Shaime” will be carried out over a period of 12 months, until April, 2010, with Project Development Design (PDD) as its objective, under Voluntary Carbon Standards (VCS) and Community Carbon Biodiversity (CCB) standards through sustainable forest use. In promoting legal timber extraction, improved agricultural and agroforestry practices, and reforestation of Shuar Shaime territory, the project intends to contribute positively to the region's development through the promotion of environmental conservation, carbon sequestration, and increased opportunities for local people including:

1. Improved quality of life for beneficiaries through the creation of incentives
2. Reduced illegal logging and timber commercialization
3. Diminished pressure on forest resources in addition to an alternate income source for local populations through the legalization of timber extraction
4. Economic benefits from improvements to agricultural practices and agroforestry activities, capacity strengthening for local technicians, and property settlements security

Coordinated by PROFAFOR SA, the project relies on various governmental and non governmental organizations including the Shuar Shaime Centre; the Shuar, GTayunts, Nankais, Uwents, Pangui, Tundayme, and Takara Associations; FEPNASH-ZCH (the Provincial Federation of Shuar Nationals from Zamora Chinchipe); the municipal government of Nangaritza; and the Provincial government of Zamora Chinchipe.

The project’s methodology relies on the help of local and external experts. To date, various stakeholder meetings and discussions have been held with support from FEPNASH-ZCH, in an attempt to socially integrate the concept of REDD and determine best practices for REDD schemes in the region. An agreement is anticipated to be reached no later than July in order to start implementing activities into the second phase. These activities include the identification of local participants and area delimitation; determination of the current carbon stock in the region; development of historical and future deforestation scenario models, evaluation of potential risks and leakage associated with the project; determination of socioeconomic and environmental aspects related to deforestation and forest degradation in the region; the design of a financial model and identification of legal aspects including land tenure issues present in the region.

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Environmental service payments: Evaluating biodiversity conservation trade-offs and cost-efficiency in the Osa Conservation Area, Costa Rica

David N. Barton y Graciela M. Rusch

Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA)

( david.barton[at] , graciela.rusch[at] )



The cost-efficiency of payments for environmental services (PES) to private landowners in the Osa Conservation Area, Costa Rica, is evaluated in terms of the trade-off between biodiversity representation and opportunity costs of conservation to agricultural and forestry land-use. Using available GIS data and an ‘off-the-shelf’ software application called TARGET: we find that the PES allocation criteria applied by authorities in 2002–2003 were more than twice as cost-efficient as criteria applied during 1999–2001. Between the two studied periods, authorities changed their PES application criteria, giving among other things, more priority to properties located in biological corridors. Results show that a policy assessment of the cost-effectiveness of PES relative to other conservation policies can be carried out at regional level using available GIS, forestry and agricultural data. However, there are a number of data and conceptual limitations to using heuristic optimization algorithms in the analysis of PES cost-efficiency. In order to use software such as TARGET for ranking individual sites based on cost efficiency, detailed site-specific data on land-use change probability, opportunity costs for farm land, labor and capital are required. Despite its conceptual soundness for regional conservation analysis, biodiversity complementarity presents a practical challenge as a criterion for PES eligibility at farm level. The additional value of a property – its added conservation and biodiversity benefits – can vary from year to year due to changed land use or characteristics of land already under conservation reserve / PES contract. Eligibility for any given parcel therefore varies depending on the set of areas under PES contract and conservation reserve at any one time. In conclusion, the use of co-benefits to PES as prioritization criteria is most feasible in the context of long term regional planning goals; particularly in the annual assignment of PES on the farm level.


One of the objectives of the original study (Barton et al. 2009) was to evaluate the TARGET software application (Faith and Walker, 1995) as a tool to analyze the cost-efficiency of PES allocation, specifically in terms of biodiversity conservation. The study was carried out in the Osa Conservation Area (ACOSA) in Costa Rica between 2001 and 2004. We chose this area as it was the only region with a complete geographical ecosystem classification (Kappelle et al., 2003), and as at the time it was one of the areas with the highest number of species catalogued by the National Institute of Biodiversity (INBio). The site is also situated in an area that includes the different categories of protected land in Costa Rica – a landscape of mixed land-use policies in which PES should be integrated.

Economists and biologists have developed models for the systematic selection of conservation sites, known as ‘reserve site selection models’. These frameworks are programmed to compare the effectiveness of protection in terms of biological indicators with the opportunity cost of competing land uses. The type of model selected generally depends on:

  • Available biodiversity data
  • Number of ecological characteristics and species present
  • Number of sites under evaluation

Previous studies have been grouped roughly by (i) detailed models focused on the probability of species persistence as a function of landscape, using relatively few species and in relatively few sites, or (ii) representative models of biodiversity in many sites using surrogate biodiversity indicators. While the number of simultaneous dimensions or attributes (sites, species) included in an analysis continues to be a limiting factor, the constant evolution of computational capacity is overcoming these limits. Lately, researchers have assessed in detail either 1) the probability of multiple species persistence in a few sites, or 2) through the use of higher geographical resolution, the assessment of many sites that harbor few species. The latter case has tended to rely on heuristic models that evaluate the area of study cell by cell, instead of through constrained linear optimization, a linear model which devises an average solution for all the cells. While heuristic models may select sites that are not globally optimal (relevant?), studies comparing the two approaches have concluded that heuristic models represent a good approximation for the cost-efficient selection of conservation sites.

In this study, we input surrogate biodiversity indicators into the TARGET heuristic software application TARGET, to evaluate a large number of possible sites. TARGET was used to identify the cost effectiveness of individual sites– known by economists as the ‘production possibility curve’. The resulting data was compared with actual PES allocation over a five-year period.

 Biodiversity Complementarity in TARGET

TARGET is a model from the DIVERSITY software package (Faith and Walker, 1995), which is part of a toolbox originally developed for the BioRap (Rapid Assessment of Biodiversity) project as part of a national conservation plan in Papua New Guinea (Faith and Walker, 1996a,b; Faith et al. 2001). In this study, the software was selected for its availability, its ability to process surrogate biodiversity indicators, and its capacity to concurrently assess a large number of alternate sites. These are required capacities for determining regional and national level priorities.

A key component of TARGET is the analysis of biodiversity complementarity. This type of analysis assumes that the aim of conservation is to protect a representative sampling of the entire natural spectrum. Complementary biodiversity indicators are used to evaluate the contribution of unprotected sites in terms of biodiversity characteristics unrepresented within existing protected areas (Margules and Pressey, 2000). Indicators of marginal contribution to biodiversity representativeness are indicators of complementarity. Complementary biodiversity indicators thus have economic implications, as they place greater emphasis on the value to diversity of characteristics present, rather than on the abundance or persistence of a given species (Baugmartner, 2007). The flexibility of this approach allows for the use of available diversity data to represent (or serve as surrogates for) species diversity.

The area of study is divided into zones or cells – sites designated for the evaluation of conservation policies – and the characteristics or attributes of each are noted (Figure 1). As available species samplings are often not representative of the study area, other attributes can be included, such as: biotopes, habitat types, types of vegetation, and the presence or absence of species. Available attributes can be included as long as they occur throughout the study area and as long as there is a justification of why each is representative of species diversity.

In the Osa Conservation Area (ACOSA), we used environmental variables to determine the distribution of forest species, which included twenty climate classifications, sixteen types of geological formation, four soil types, six land forms, nine stages of elevation, and water surfaces. We used these attributes to define 684 unique characteristics that characterized the area. Of the 178 endemic species sampled in ACOSA, 59 vascular plant species appeared in enough sample plots to be considered endemic to the study area (sufficient to determine presence or absence in each site).With their inclusion of these species, we obtained a total surrogate biodiversity indicator of743 attributes.

A TARGET analysis requires additional data from the study area and a specification of assumptions. Figure 2 portrays a schematic of the TARGET process. The necessary data for the study area include:

  • Opportunity costs of conservation (if left unspecified, the analysis is limited to evaluating the efficiency of different sites in representing complementary characteristics)
  • Surrogate attributes of biodiversity
  • Areas already designated for conservation and those excluded from the analysis

The following must also be determined:

  • A target representativeness for biodiversity attributes (i.e. candidate PES sites must represent X% of the areas that demonstrate a given attribute)
  • The probability of persistence in selected sites. In principle, the cost-effectiveness of any land designated for partial or total protection can be compared against a curve of cost effective sites. In practice, this type of analysis is limited by assumptions of effectiveness of different types of management, including PES. In this study we assumed that the effectiveness of PES was comparable to that of the national parks (i.e. zero risk of deforestation post-enrollment).
  • A fixed relative trade-off weight between biodiversity and opportunity cost. In TARGET, various analyses are completed under different trade-off weights to produce a cost-effectiveness curve of landscape production possibilities. . With each analysis under a specified trade-off weight (β), a map of the selected sites is produced. If β is high, the opportunity costs are important to site selection, and therefore only the sites with the lowest opportunity costs are selected. On the other hand, if β is low the opportunity costs are less significant to site selection. In this case, TARGET can identify sites where the costs of fulfilling the objective of biodiversity representation are comparatively high (Figure 3).

 Opportunity Costs

Opportunity costs were calculated for agriculture and forestry by using historical statistics of net returns by land-use and forest type, respectively. Net returns were extrapolated for each class of agricultural land use and for forest production throughout the study area (Figure4- 5). In areas designated for forestry activity, it was assumed that harvesting and subsequent conversion to agricultural use would occur within a year, with land being converted to the best agricultural use according to soil classification. While this assumption permits aggregation of agriculture and forest returns as a single indicator of opportunity cost for the entire area of study, it overestimates the true opportunity costs. There are numerous reasons why opportunity costs tend to be exaggerated in studies the selection of protected areas (Barton et al. 2009). Therefore the total cost of the selected sites must be interpreted cautiously. For example, estimating the total cost of PES simply by aggregating the opportunity costs of each site would be an inaccurate method. However, the indicator of opportunity costs serves to compare cost-effectiveness in relative terms, as the model is applied equally across all sites in the analysis.

 The Use of TARGET for PES Prioritization

We used the site cost-effectiveness curve as a reference for comparison between two distinct periods of PES allocation in the Osa conservation area. The first period (1991-2001) was characterized by an allocation to landowners without further criteria for geographical prioritization. In the second period, 2002 to 2003, the authorities had specified the criteria in greater detail, giving prioritization to PES in designated biological corridors (Figure 6). The analysis demonstrated that PES allocation in the second period successfully represented additional complementary biodiversity attributes to those already represented by the existing national protected areas (Figure 7).

Recent studies in Costa Rica have shown that PES has become more effective in promoting forest regeneration in abandoned agricultural areas than in the protection of established forest (Sierra and Russman 2006; Arriagado 2008; Robalino et al. 2008). It is important to emphasize that the definition of a ‘surrogate’ biodiversity indicator (in terms of included attributes) will guide the type of site that the TARGET model selects. In an extreme case, the use of environmental characteristics could cause TARGET to select as many forest areas as agriculture areas that have high environmental complementary characteristics and capacity for forest regeneration. As additional characteristics of forest type and endemic species are included, the more effective TARGET can be in defining conservation of standing forest.

In the debate around criteria for allocation of financial resources within the REDD framework, it is assumed that much of the conservation of forests through REDD will be inherently good for the conservation of biodiversity (Angelsen et al. 2008). The argument appears fundamentally intuitive on the level of added value. However, an analysis with TARGET will also reveal that areas with complementary biodiversity attributes do not necessarily overlap with zones of high deforestation risk. Insofar as these areas provide high agricultural returns, both the opportunity cost criteria as well as complementary biodiversity (and other co-benefits) can promote the protection of sites that are located far from the agriculture frontier.


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Figure 1: For the TARGET analysis the polygons of biophysical and species characteristics were converted into cells with surrogate biodiversity indicators. Each cell in the analysis is 1km x 2km( Barton et al. 2003)



Figure 2: Programmatic scheme of TARGET (Barton et al. 2009)



Figure 3 : Trade-off curve between performance of biodiversity protection objectives and opportunity costs for land use (Barton et. al. 2004) In economics, the exchange curve is also known as 'the production possibilities curve" of a region. The production possibilities depent on the relative weight between biodiversity representation and returns from alternative land uses. They also depend on the protection probability.

Restrictions on land use such as national parks or PES, can be evaluated in comparison with the production possibilities curve. The relative weight is interpreted as an indirect economic valuation of the biodiversity conservation objective.



Figure 4: Estimation of opportunity costs of conservation for agriculture based on past agriculture returns of different land use capacities (Barton 2003)



Figure 5 : Estimation of forest opportunity costs for conservation - based on past returns for land use by forest type (Barton et al. 2003)


Figure 6: Payments for Ecosystem Services in the Osa Conservation Area, 1999-2003 (FONAFIFO in Barton et al. 2009)



Figure 7: Cost - efficiency of PES allocation between 1999 - 2001 and 2002 - 2003 in comparison with the curve of the most cost-efficient areas selected by the TARGET software (no constraints). The comparison of cost-efficiency is done through the points with the same weight of exchange, b=1, between complementary biodiversity and opportunity costs. The point represented by sites inside National Parks between 2002-2003 is more cost efficient than the sites represented by National Parks between 1999-2001 because it is found to be closer to the curve of highest cost-efficiency. (Barton et al 2009)

Full Article:

Barton, D.N., D. Faith, G. Rusch, H. Acevedo, L. Paniagua, M.Castro (2009), Environmental service payments: Evaluating biodiversity conservation trade-offs and cost efficiency in the Osa Conservation Area, Costa Rica, Journal of Environmental Management 90, pp 901-911

To contact the authors of TARGET:


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Pro-Poor Pes

Maria Bendana, Ecosystem Marketplace

July 2009

This article draws lessons from the design of national government-financed payments for ecosystem services (PES) schemes in developing country settings in order to understand what factors will most likely lead to/enable the participation of the poorest actors or small holders as service providers in these schemes. It seeks to understand under what conditions PES functions as an income redistribution or social empowerment instrument for the most disadvantaged stakeholders possible in addition to ecosystem service (ES) provision goals. Whether participation results in actual net positive impacts will require a more rigorous social impact assessment of benefits of mature schemes minus costs of ES provision. This paper looks at four mainly water PES schemes but makes policy recommendations for targeting, removing barriers and reducing transaction costs to influence pro-poor design and participation. Finally the paper lists multilateral funds available for financing these recommendations as well as suggests integrating national level PES schemes with emerging national level Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) initiatives due to the potential for scaled up financing resulting from international, national and subnational compliance driven as well as the voluntary markets for greenhouse gas mitigation.

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State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2009

Ecosystem Marketplace and New Carbon Finance
May 2009

This third annual report, published by Ecosystem Marketplace and New Carbon Finance, tracks the growth and change in the voluntary carbon market. The report is based on data from the compiled transactions of 150 organizations, individuals, and registries selling carbon credits to voluntary buyers. In 2008, the total transaction volume in Latin America was 2.2 MtCO2e, with a total value of $15.53 million. The volume was approximately the same as 2007 figures, with most 2008 credits supplied by Brazil and Mexico. While most credits originated from renewable energy: biomass and afforestation/reforestation projects, a significant number of credits also came from renewable energy: hydro. In Brazil, a large number of credits came from REDD and fuel-switching projects. Among Latin American countries, only two sold REDD credits into the voluntary carbon market in 2008: Brazil and Ecuador.

Read More :

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Rhett Butler

Washington Monthly

July/ August 2009


Rhett Butler documents the Surui tribe’s 40 year battle to preserve their forests in the Brazilian Amazon from developers and government authority. The article focuses on the tribe's new strategy: Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation. By cutting GHG emissions, the Surui aim to convince businesses and governments in the developed world to pay for conserving their tribal land. These funds will be allocated within the tribe to a certified monitoring system, schools and health clinics, reforestation efforts and sustainable industry. Butler then outlines the ideas and concepts which serve as a foundation to REDD projects. The author describes new trends, guidelines, and controversies surrounding the market based forest conservation tool. His closing argument reads: “REDD is the only existing mechanism that promises to make preserving living forests more lucrative than cutting them down—and only by accomplishing that feat can we hope to stem the tide of deforestation. Put another way, despite its shortcomings, REDD may be our last, best hope of saving the tropical forests, which are so essential to the future health of our planet.”


Link to full article:

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Incentives to Sustain Forest Ecosystem Services: A Review and Lessons for REDD

Ivan Bond, Maryanne Grieg-Gran, Sheila Wertz-Kanounnikoff, Peter Hazlewood, Sven Wunder, Arild Angelsen

International Institute for Environmental Development

May 2009


This report is the result of a joint study carried out by IIED, CIFOR, and WRI, and commissioned by the Norwegian government to review the potential for payments for avoided deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) through a focus on national and sub-national aspects of REDD activities and the role of performance based payments for ecosystem services (PES) programs in developing countries. Upon a review of the literature and of 13 PES case studies across 4 regions, the authors conclude that PES programs can be an effective REDD mechanism; however the degree of their effectiveness and adoption methods varies depending on the region and the overall national and forest governance framework. A series of detailed conclusions and recommendations can be found in the full report.

Full Report:

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Tenure in REDD: Start-point or afterthought?

Lorenzo Cotula and James Mayers

International Institute for Environmnetal Development

May 2009


Central to the international REDD debate is the issue of local benefit, and the challenge of creating national institutions which assure equal allocation to forest communities. As a key component in the distribution of costs, risks, and benefits on the national level, resource tenure has become a critical subject in international REDD discussion and strategy. This paper assesses the diverse contexts and tenure regulation systems of seven rainforest nations with respect to resource access and use. Tenure regimes are identified, described, and analyzed; challenges for sustainable REDD implementation are specifically noted. The authors present a set of policy recommendations for creating local institutional capability. It is concluded that if REDD is to be an environmentally successful and socially equitable development tool, secure resource tenure and defined property rights are the starting point, not the afterthought.

Full Report:

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Legal Institutional Frameworks for Payments for Ecosystem Services: Eight Country Analysis

Organization of American States (OAS)

June 2009

The Organization of American States (OAS) released a report analyzing the institutions and experiences of PES in the Dominican Republic, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and Peru.The book examines trends, lessons and experiences that have been developed in the region, as well as the contribution of legal frameworks, institutions, and economics in facilitating the implementation of Payment for Ecosystem Services.

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Payments for Watershed services: The bellagio conversations

Nigel Asquith and Sven Wunder

Feb 2009


In 2007, 24 people from 13 countries met at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in Italy to discuss lessons learned from recent global experiences with payments for watershed services (PWS) initiatives. The objective of Bellagio was to consider how best to use the participants’ knowledge and experience to improve the efficiency of watershed management. The result is a publication called “Payments for Watershed Services: the Bellagio Conversations”, available in English and Spanish. The conversations are focused on currently unresolved PWS issues that are already much discussed globally, and on questions which the participants considered important but are not currently on the global agenda. The principal themes cover the role of law and policy, the level of investigation required, transaction costs, the bundling of services, how to stimulate service users to pay, poverty reduction, how to balance efficiency and fairness, and the scale of PWS schemes.

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International Course: Adaptation to Climate Change: The role of ecosystem services

CATIE Sede Central Turrialba, Costa Rica

9-13 of November

This international course (in Spanish) will present the basic theories and practices surrounding climate change adaptation and the role of ecosystem services in this adaptation. The course is designed for public or private administration professionals; scholarships are available.

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Forest Carbon Technical Advisor: Katoomba Ecosystem Services Incubator

Location: Anywhere with a time overlap with London, Quito, or USA

Closing Date: August 15th 2009

Responsible for providing capacity‐building and technical support to partners and projects in Latin America and Africa. Primary activities include: design and participation in capacity building events and workshop, development of tools and templates for forest carbon project development, and direct technical support to specific forest carbon (and other ecosystem services) projects in the Incubator portfolio.

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Call for Articles for the Mountain Forum’s Upcoming Issue on PES

Closing Date: September 14th

The Mountain Forum, hosted by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), will focus the December 2009 edition of its biannual bulletin on Payments for Environmental Services (PES) in mountain areas. The group seeks feature articles on general aspects of PES in mountain areas in relation to hydropower and watershed services, carbon sequestration, biodiversity conservation, agriculture (e.g. pollination, seed dispersal), ecotourism etc, as well as articles profiling specific initiatives/projects in mountain areas. Particular areas of focus include a practical application of PES, research projects and valuations of ecosystem services.  Articles should be between 1000-1200 words long and must be submitted by September 14.

For more information, please see:

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past events

Paramundi , 2nd ParÁmos (High mountain ecosystems) World Congress

21-27 de Junio de 2009-07-20 Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja

Loja, Ecuador

Approximately 1,000 organizations and people attended this event to position high mountains as a strategic ecosystem in the international, national, and local spheres. Attendees worked to promote the definition of joint commitments and action strategies to preserve and sustainably manage high mountains. Through discussion panels, presentations, and workshops on various related themes, conference experts produced conclusions and recommendations for the conservation of the highlands.

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future events

World Forestry Congress XIII

October 18-23 2009

Buenos Aires, Argentina

The World Forestry Congress provides an opportunity to present an overview of the state of forests and forestry in order to discern trends, adapt policies and raise awareness among decision and policy makers, the public and other stakeholders. There will be seven themes, within which there are at least five sessions on deforestation, REDD, and NTFP/PES.Back to top

Carbon markets mexico and central america

October 6-7 2009

Mexico City, Mexico


The inaugural Carbon Markets Mexico & Central America conference and exhibition will bring together key players from the region - with particular focus on Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and the Caribbean – with global industry experts. This event is a new addition to the Carbon Markets Series which is now in its 5th year and has been attended by over 2000 sustainability professionals and will continue to provide an excellent platform for new project hosts to learn about the latest market developments and do business with CER buyers.

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World Wilderness Congress, WILD 9

November 6-13, 2009

Merida, Mexico


6th - 13th November: An international public forum on environmental themes, the WILD 9 is making its first visit to Latin America. On the 10th of November the congress will discuss financial mechanisms for wilderness and biodiversity conservation, including a session focused on PES.

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Redlac assembly

November 9-12, 2009

Santa Marta, Colombia

RedLAC Assembly

RedLAC Assemblies take place annually in different countries where there are member funds, and they are an opportunity for Environmental Funds, financial institutions, enterprises and other relevant actors in conservation to exchange experiences and discuss new challenges and trends. The 11th Assembly will discuss how to value environmental services and why this is important for biodiversity conservation.

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The Amazon Initiative (IA)

The Amazon Initiative International Consortium for the Conservation and Sustainable use of Natural Resources in the Amazon (AI) was launched in 2004, in line with the policy framework of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO), with the objective of elaborating and implementing collaborative programs that identify and promote sustainable land use systems in the Amazon. Founding members of the AI include six agricultural research institutions of member Amazonian countries, four centers of the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), and the Inter-American Institute for Agricultural Cooperation (IICA) through its Procitrópicos program. The AI promotes and implements training and consulting activities along with its primary research foci. In 2008, the AI launched its Amazon Initiative Eco-Regional Program (PER-IA) which aims to contribute to the improvement of rural livelihoods and conservation of Amazonian ecosystems through research for development. Currently the AI coordinating office resides in the Brazilian Eastern Amazon Agricultural Research Cooperation (EMBRAPA).


The Network of Environmental Services Practitioners (RISAS)

The Network of Environmental Services Practitioners – RISAS – was established in 2005 as a partnership of organizations and professionals dedicated to discussion, analysis and research into the financial mechanisms available for ecosystem services protection and restoration. The organization’s mission is to provide a network open to individuals and institutions involved in financial initiatives supporting ecosystem services conservation. Based in Quito, Ecuador, RISAS’ sphere of influence extends throughout the Andean region. The network uses different tools usch as meetings, emails, workshops, the website and this newsletter, to support learning and discussion around current themes and experiences related to financial mechanisms for conservation and protection of environmental services.

Katoomba Group

The Katoomba Group

An initiative of Forest Trends, the Katoomba Group is a global network of practitioners working to promote the use and improve capacity for payment for ecosystem services (PES). Since its founding in 1999, the Katoomba Group has addressed key challenges to developing markets and payments for ecosystem services, from enabling legislation through establishment of new market institutions to testing methods for successful project design. The organization has held 15 global conferences and dozens of training workshops, published and contributed to key publications and tools, and supported the development of PES schemes, among them the BioCarbon Fund at the World Bank and the Mexican PES Fund. It has also advised national policy discussions on financial incentives for conservation in China, Brazil, India, Colombia, and other countries. In 2005, the Katoomba Group launched the Ecosystem Marketplace, a leading source of information on environmental markets. In 2006, the Tropical America regional Katoomba was formed to strengthen regional PES capacity and facilitate ecosystem services transactions throughout Latin America.


The ‘Compensation for Environmental Services’ Learning Network ((RACSA)

RACSA was established in 2006 to promote dialogue around the use of economic incentives to achieve conservation objectives and improve the wellbeing of Bolivia’s poor. Through learning and networking events , and the exchange and diffusion of information in digital and print format, RACSA seeks to increase understanding of compensation for environmental services and climate change and promote the development of successful policies and initiatives. RACSA’s members include governmental, non-governmental, private, and civil society actors dedicated to the development of environmental services in Bolivia. For more information, please visit the website of the Fundación Natura Bolivia, which currently coordinates RACSA, at



REDIPASA is a network of researchers from Latin American countries that are involved in PES, the management of hydrological catchment areas, rural development and management policies, and natural resource conservation. Researchers work together and exchange experiences to: standardize criteria, design and execute joint research projects; produce studies that propose mechanisms to improve PES and PES methodologies; and monitoring, evaluation, and methodologies of experiences adapted to different situations. REDIPASA aims to provide regional managers with tools to facilitate rural development and environmental sustainability over a wide area, by, compensating rural inhabitants (who are often impoverished) for conservation measures. The network also hopes to develop PES models that can be replicated and expanded elsewhere in Latin America.




Organization: Jan Börner, Andrea Garzón, Hannah Murray

Execution: Tommie Herbert, Ben Dappen, Meghan Doiron

Translation: English – Tommie Herbert, Hannah Murray; Spanish – Stephanie Secomb, Andrea Garzón, Claudia Lechuga, Pablo Martinez de Anguita; Portuguese – Meghan Doiron, Jan Börner