Incentives for Ecosystem Services (IES) in the Himalayas: A ‘Cookbook’ for Emerging IES Practitioners in the Region
accurately identifying ‘consumers’ who have an existing willingness to pay or provide other incentives. This is because the number of possible producers is often relatively large and comparatively easy to identify. What is the level of “demand” of the service requesting group? Can the ecosystemsupport this level of demand? Additionally, it is important to recognize where consumers’ willingness to pay may be low (e.g. due to poverty), but where demand for a service is high; in such cases, a pure market-based mechanism is unlikely to succeed, but other consumer-provided incentives should be explored. Thus, an important topic for scoping is the range of incentive options and arrangements that are attractive to the producer(s) of ecosystem services. What progress can be made on diversification of income, sustainable development and biodiversity goals, and community resilience to climate change? Who are the affected parties (directly and indirectly)? Which relevant management institutions could help provide trust, transparency and structure (or do these
not exist?)? What might be some possible unintended consequences of each proposed payment alternative?
Lastly, it is important to identify existing institutional and technical capacity, as well as relevant knowledge, cases and studies. It takes a village, as they say, to implement an IES system. Numerous practitioners, professionals and institutions are therefore consulted throughout the process, and any new IES system will do best not to ‘reinvent the wheel’, but to be constructed productively, using existing institutional knowledge, processes and resources, and filling gaps. An important element of scoping is therefore to assess the work in a land tenure context, including existing legal frameworks and policies. If existing rules governing sale and transaction exist, these must be accounted for. There is often a broad range of expertise and experience within institutions (both local management such as forestry services, and distant such as environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with field components), some of which can serve as a sounding board, provide resources and bring momentum to the project as a whole.
Step 2: Scoping the ‘whole system’ • Examine possibilities (land or management actions, existing capacities, range of payment or other incentive options) • Identify a transactionable (quantifiable) ecosystem service • Identify prospective consumers and producers • Identify possible affected parties and values, especially those at a distance or under-represented • Begin to explore possible unintended consequences • Gather information on existing IES capacity, familiarity, cases, resources, ecosystem services (ES) values and valuation studies
Incentives for Ecosystem Services (IES) in the Himalayas
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