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SHARP and its partners are looking for ways to assist smallholders to assess, monitor and avoid deforestation caused by agricultural expansion, with an initial focus on palm oil.

Payments for ecosystem services

PES project directory

Payments for ecosystem services, or PES, projects are designed to provide incentives for people and organisations to protect environmental services in an area. This page contains a directory of PES projects that have involved working with smallholders in tropical forest countries to protect watersheds, conserve biodiversity and minimise deforestation. This type of PES project is of particular interest to SHARP partners and other organisations and experts working with smallholders. Scroll below to find projects in three regions:

Details compiled from sources; check links for up-to-date information. For corrections or additions, email

Latin America


AIJ Pilot Project and CNFL Project
Location Costa Rica
Year launched 1990s
Description Reforestation and forest conservation for improvement of hydrological resources.
Payees Landowners (many not dependent on land for livelihood)
Payer National Power and Light Company (CNFL); Government of Norway, which purchases certifiable tradable offsets
Compensation Cash payments
Implementer Costa Rican Joint Implementation Office (OCIC)
Spatial scope 4,000 ha (1,000 for reforestation, 2,000 for conservation of existing forest)
Bolsa Floresta
Location Juma Sustainable Development Reserve, Brazil
Year launched 2006
Objective Deforestation prevention in Amazon Basin
Payees Smallholder communities
Payer(s) Public
Compensation Monthly cash payments to families; annual cash payments to communities
Lead implementer Amazonas Sustainable Foundation (Fundação Amazonas Sustentável) in partnership with the State Secretariat of the Environment and Sustainable of Amazonas (Secretaria de Estado do Meio Ambiente e Desenvolvimento Sustentável do Amazonas) with technical assistance from the Institute for Conservation and Sustainable Development of Amazonas (Instituto de Conservação e Desenvolvimento Sustentável do Amazonas)
Spatial scope 329,483 ha
Empresa de Servicios Públicos de Heredia (ESPH)
Location Costa Rica
Year launched 1997
Description Watershed management through reforestation and regeneration, pioneered by water utility ESPH
Payees Landowners
Payer City of Heredia water users pay a tariff to ESPH
Compensation Cash payments disbursed in instalments to landowners under contract
Implementer Authority for Public Services
Spatial scope Unknown
Noel Kempff Mercado Climate Action Project
Location Bolivia
Year launched 1996/97
Description Reforestation and regeneration of an area in a national park degraded by former logging activities, slated for future logging or predicted to be deforested. Long-term (30-year) programme
Payees Indigenous communities inside the national park and on the periphery
Payer Funds from The Nature Conservancy, American Electric Power, PacifiCorp and BP America
Compensation Economic development initiatives and community-based benefits
Implementer Fundación Amigos de la Naturaleza
Spatial scope 642,184 ha
Payments for Hydrological Services (PSA-H)
Location Mexico
Year launched 2003
Description Secure water flow and water quality while conserving natural forests under the greatest threat
Payees Individual landowners and communities (ejidos)
Payer Federal water users pay charges
Compensation Cash payment per hectare (after it has been verified that there is no breach of contract), up to 200 ha per individual and up to 3,000 ha per ejido
Implementer Funds are managed by CONAFOR (Comisión Nacional Forestal) of the State Forestry Commission
Spatial scope Nationwide
Location Ecuador
Year launched 2002
Description Maintain water supply and quantity by conserving forest at the headwater of municipal supply. Five-year contracts for participating families
Payees Private landowners
Payer Inter-American Foundation (IAF); FAO community forest project; municipality pays 20% more for water supply
Compensation Cash payment to family, calculated per hectare
Implementer Corporation for the Development of Natural Resources (CEDRENA)
Spatial scope 390 ha
Location Ecuador
Year launched 1993
Description Carbon sequestration through reforestation and afforestation
Payees Landowners
Payer PROFAFOR – an Ecuadorian company acting in extension of the Forests Absorbing Carbon Dioxide Emissions (FACE) consortium
Compensation Monthly cash payment to household, calculated per hectare
Implementer PROFAFOR
Spatial scope 22,287 ha
Purus Project
Location Brazil
Year launched 2011
Description Mitigate deforestation and preserve biodiversity. Each participant family granted 100 ha for five years (initially)
Payees Landowners
Payer CarbonCo LLC
Compensation Monthly cash payment to women; cash payments to community after five years; community projects
Implementer Moura and Rosa Investments (LTDA) – an Acre, Brazil-based organisation created by the landowners; Freitas International Group LLC
Spatial scope 35,169 ha



Bujang Raba Community PES Project
Location Indonesia
Year launched 2014
Description Forest conservation for biodiversity, hydrological function and NTFPs. Community-based conservation planning
Payees Five forest-dependent communities
Payer Rainforest Foundation Norway
Compensation Livelihood development activities
Implementer Komunitas Konservasi Indonesia
Spatial scope 7,292 ha
Community Forest Ecosystem Services
Location Indonesia
Year launched 2012
Description Forest conservation (protection and restoration including natural regeneration
Payees Durian Rambun village in Jambi Province and Laman Satong village in West Kalimantan Province
Payer Packard/CLUA; EU; USAID; ICAP; Darwin Initiative; UK-FCO
Compensation Secure forest management rights, training, livelihoods and community projects
Implementer Flora and Fauna International; local partners LTB (Jambi) and Yayasan Palung (West Kalimantan)
Spatial scope Jambi Province: 4,484 ha; West Kalimantan Province: 1,070 ha
Khulekhani Watershed
Location Nepal
Year launched  
Description Forest conservation and livelihood support to protect reservoir and share hydroelectricity revenue
Payees Upstream communities in Khulekani watershed
Payer Makawanpur DDC; Nepal Electricity Authority; Khulekani hydroelectricity projects
Compensation Payment to a fund for conservation and development projects
Implementer Rewarding Upland Poor for Environmental Services
Spatial scope 12,492 ha
Lake Singkarak
Location Indonesia
Year launched 2005
Description Landscape rehabilitation
Payees Nagaris (villages that adhere to the traditional system of governing of the area)
Payer Hydropower plant
Compensation Royalties paid to community
Implementer Rewarding Upland Poor for Environmental Services
Spatial scope 10,780 ha
Maasin Watershed
Location Philippines
Year launched 1999
Description Watershed protection, rehabilitation, flow regulation and siltation control by reforestation and reduced deforestation
Payees Farmers organised into the Maasin people’s federation (KAPAWA)
Payer Japan Bank for International Cooperation; Asian Development Bank; Overseas Economic Corporation Fund (OECF) Japan
Compensation Cash payment for labour; land tenure recognition
Implementer Metro Iloilo Water District; Department for Environment and Natural Resources; National Economic and Development Authority; Kahublagan Sang Panimalay Foundation; Tigum-Aganan watershed management council
Spatial scope 2,685 ha
Makiling Forest Reserve
Location Philippines
Year launched 1996
Description Community partnership in protection of forests
Payees Upland communities
Payer University of the Philippines Los Banos
Compensation Cash payment for labour; cash payment to community groups; land tenure recognition and access rights;training
Implementer Local government unit
Spatial scope 4,244 ha
River Care
Location Indonesia
Year launched 2006/2007
Description A collective action programme to reduce sedimentation affecting downstream hydroelectric power company. Became more collaborative as the company realised that, as a beneficiary, it had some responsibility for maintaining the watershed and that this required collaboration with smallholder communities
Payees Local households
Payer ICRAF (2006–2007); IFAD (2007–2011); PLTA Way Besai (Hydropower company)

Cash payment in return for labour and reduction in sedimentation (payments varied with the percentage of sedimentation reduction achieved by participants); community fund; land tenure security; construction of micro-hydroelectric power plant.

n.b. Leimona et al. (2015a) found that compensation did not fully cover farmers' opportunity costs.

Implementer Rewarding Upland Poor for Environmental Services (ICRAF); Community Forestry Farmers’ Groups Communication Forum; University of Lampung; local Forestry Service (regular monitoring)
Spatial scope 670 ha
Paper by Leimona et al. (2015a)
Sloping Lands Program
Location China
Year launched 2000
Description Reduce soil erosion by returning crop land on steep slopes to forest and grassland
Payees Farmers
Payer Central government
Compensation In-kind payment and cash subsidies for households
Implementer Local government
Spatial scope 15 million ha
Sumberjaya Forestry Project
Location Indonesia
Year launched 2000
Description Designed to address downstream sedimentation attributed to uncontrolled deforestation by upstream smallholders, particularly for coffee cultivation on steep slopes. Aim: to contribute to watershed health through improved coffee management practices and forest protection.
Payees Coffee farmer groups and organisations
Payer National government on behalf of water users; IFAD
Compensation Land tenure security, in the form of a community forestry permit for members of farmers' organisations in return for planting at least 400 trees per hectare. Permit is five-year conditional, to be extended to 25 years if all criteria and indicators are met by participating farmers
Implementer Rewarding Upland Poor for Environmental Services (ICRAF); West Lampung district forestry office; local NGOs YACILI and Watala
Spatial scope 11,633 ha

Paper by Leimona et al. (2015a)
Paper by Leimona et al. (2015b)
Ulu Masen Ecosystem
Location Indonesia
Year launched 2008
Description Reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation; maintain significant biodiversity values and enhance community development opportunities
Payees Five districts adjacent to the project area
Payer Provincial government of Aceh; Carbon Conservation Ltda
Compensation Unknown
Implementer Flora and Fauna International
Spatial scope 750,000 ha



Chimpanzee Conservation Corridor Pilot PES Scheme
Location Uganda
Year launched 2002
Description Enhance biodiversity conservation
Payees Smallholders
Payer GEF/UNEP/NEMA (Uganda); private sector
Compensation Annual cash payments and seedlings for farmers, calculated per hectare; community and livelihood projects
Implementer ECOTRUST; Chimpanzee Sanctuary & Wildlife Conservation Trust; IIED; Nature Harness Initiatives; Innovation for Poverty Action
Spatial scope 1,437 ha
Community PES (C-PES) Project
Location Cameroon
Year launched 2012
Description Support two communities to protect forests by finding ways to integrate PES with community forest management
Payees Two villages with community forests
Compensation Annual payment to community bank accounts for civic and community activities (benefit-sharing model)
Implementer Bioclimate Research and Development; Centre pour l’Environnement et le Développement
Spatial scope 2,801 ha
Forest Again Kakamega Forest
Location Kenya
Year launched 2008/2009
Description Reforestation
Payees Kakamega Forest Participatory Management Committee
Payer EU
Compensation Livelihood activities; employment
Implementer Kenya Wildlife Services; Kenya Forest Servicea
Spatial scope Unknown
Humbo Community Managed Natural Regeneration Project
Location Ethiopia
Year launched 2004
Description Reforestation and regeneration. Established seven forest development cooperatives
Payees Community forestry protection and development cooperative societies
Payer World Bank Biocarbon Fund (carbon credits); Government of Canada
Compensation Funds disbursed to cooperatives, calculated according to emission reductions
Implementer World Vision Ethiopia; World Vision Australia; Federal Environmental Protection Authority; Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development; Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development; Humbo Woreda (District) Agricultural, Rural Development and Forestry Development Coordination Office; Forest Farmers’ Union
Spatial scope 2,728 ha

Ibi Bateke
Location Democratic Republic of Congo
Year launched 2008
Description Grassy savannah conversion for sustainable fuelwood supply
Payees Smallholders
Compensation Unknown
Implementer NOVACEL; BioCarbon Funda
Spatial scope 4,200 ha
N’hambita Community Carbon Project
Location Mozambique
Year launched 2003
Description Develop forestry and land-use practices that promote sustainable rural livelihoods and generate verifiable carbon emission reductions
Payees EnviroTrade; smallholders; community trust
Payer Private buyers
Compensation Up-front cash payments to farmers for seven years
Implementer University of Edinburgh; Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Management; EnviroTrade (UK); Park Administration of the Gorongosa National Park (Mozambique)
Spatial scope 8,000 ha
Ngoyla-Mintom forest block
Location Cameroon
Year launched 2012
Description Promote sustainable management of forest resources; conserve carbon stocks, biodiversity; introduce forest zonation; improve local governance
Payees Four villages with community forests
Payer EU
Compensation Cash payments to communities
Implementer WWF; Coopérative Agro Forestière de la Trinationale; Bioclimate (consultation)
Spatial scope 7,750 ha
Reforestation in Grassland
Location Uchindile, Kilombero, and Mapanda, Mufindi, in Tanzania
Year launched 2002
Description Permanent emission reduction, reforestation and biodiversity conservation
Payees Local communities
Payer Voluntary over-the-counter market
Compensation 10% of revenue of carbon credits disbursed to communities
Implementer Green Resources Ltd
Spatial scope 10,814 ha
Trees for Global Benefits
Location Uganda
Year launched 2002
Description Afforestation
Payees Smallholders
Payer Credit buyers: TetraPak UK, Future Forests, INSAP, Katoomba Group, Puma, Nedbank; investors: UK DFID and USAID
Compensation Cash payments to smallholders in five instalments over first five years
Implementer Environmental Conservation Trust of Uganda (ECOTRUST)
Spatial scope 3,168 ha
Wonegizi community-based REDD+ project
Location Liberia
Year launched 2013
Description Reduce rate of forest clearance; increase sustainability of NTFP harvesting
Payees 20 Ziama Clan communities
Compensation Investment in local agroforestry; community projects (benefit-sharing model)
Implementer Flora and Fauna International; Skills & Agriculture Development Services
Spatial scope 37,979 ha
Download the report

Authors Helen Cross and Willie McGhee of Bioclimate reviewed wide-ranging literature on PES projects involving smallholders in tropical forest countries in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and southeast Asia. This report offers a close look at the design and outcome of seven case studies. The authors identify the elements that determine success, and offer lessons for future PES schemes as well as for other smallholder-oriented initiatives. Download a hi-res version of the report here (1.5 MB) or a low-resolution version (770 KB) here.