Payments for Ecosystems Services

Payments for Ecosystems Services (PES) are defined as a voluntary, conditional agreement between at least one ‘seller’ and one ‘buyer’ over a well defined environmental service or a land use presumed to produce that service.

PES are not new.  Many PES schemes are already in existence.  These include REPS, GLAS and RBAPS schemes.  However, all these schemes allow farmers to continue to raise animals on their land.

R.E.P.S. was the first nationwide scheme to encourage farmers to protect the natural and cultural heritage of Ireland.  Any farmer can apply for the scheme and is responsible for creating a plan for environmental protection which must include pollution control measures over a five year period. 

GLAS (Green Low-Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme) offers payments for applicants who carry out actions to enhance the rural environment.  GLAS offers a maximum payment of €5,000 per year to participants to commit to carrying out a GLAS plan of actions.

RBAPS (Results Based Agri-Environmental Payment Scheme) was a three and a half year trial project in Ireland and Spain working with farmers and stakeholders developing ways to reward farmers for delivering biodiversity on their lands.  The key element of results-based methods of delivering payments is that the amount of money paid to the farmer reflects the quality of wildlife and biodiversity that is delivered on their land.

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