Payments for ecosystem services (PES) is a specialist term used to describe a range of schemes in which the beneficiaries, or users, of nature’s services pay or fund the stewards, or providers of those services.

Between 2012 and 2015, the UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) commissioned three rounds of “Payments for Ecosystem Services” research pilots to test practical application of the concept in new contexts. The projects covered a range of habitats, services and spatial scales.

This review summarises the main findings and lessons learned. It is largely a process evaluation – the pilots were generally at an early stage and seeking to demonstrate feasibility – but it also covers aspects of impact and costs and benefits. It should also provide a learning resource for practitioners interested in such approaches.

The evidence from the pilot projects will help to inform the UK government’s thinking on innovative funding in developing the 25 Year Environment Plan.

Go to Defra’s payments for ecosystem services pilot projects 2012 to 2015: review of key findings webpage.