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Valuing nature's services: moving towards payments for ecosystem services and conservation credits in the English Uplands (NE0136)

Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) is a term used to describe a range of schemes through which the users of ecosystem services provide payment to the providers of ecosystem services. In practice PES commonly involves payments to land managers for management actions that are likely to enhance the provision of ecosystem services. Agri-environment schemes are a type of publically funded PES, however a small number of non-government, private and community funded PES schemes are developing (e.g. through water companies and visitor-payback) which provide additional funds for management of the natural environment.

This report helps to understand how payments for multiple ecosystem services could work in one place, this report uses the South Pennines Ecosystem Services Pilot Project as a case-study and involved stakeholders in the South Pennines in its development. The report assesses the potential, requirements and different options for developing a place-based PES scheme.

The report is accompanied by a technical appendix which investigates how peatland carbon could be valued and potentially traded, as part of a PES scheme. As direct measurements of carbon fluxes from peatlands are not always possible, the technical appendix works towards the development of metrics (or proxy measurements) of carbon flux. These metrics of carbon flux are based on the different vegetation types found on blanket bogs, linked to their level of degradation.

The report and the technical appendix are joint publications available from Defra’s Science and Research database at the link below.