May 15, 2011
Espaņol Portuguese Dear Readers,

Dear SinergiA Readers,

In this edition of the SinergiA bulletin for PES practitioners in Latin America, we address an ecosystem often overlooked in discussions around environmental markets and payment schemes. Winnie Lau presents her views on the status of marine PES exploration. Monserrat Albán and Soledad Luna share their opinion on the critical importance of marine and coastal ecosystems, and recommend incorporating their services into scientific research and policy decision making processes. Articles highlighted in this edition note the connection between seas, mangroves, marshes and the process of climate change mitigation, and specifically cite two examples of schemes where landowners, resource managers, and resource users are currently benefiting from ecosystem service payments in Mexico. We hope this edition of SinergiA builds your understanding of marine and coastal ecosystems and their role in payments for ecosystem services in the Latin American Region. Feel free to browse individual articles, or click the 'more' link at the bottom of the page to view the newsletter in its entirety.


The SinergiA Editors

Return to main bulletinBack to Top   |   OPINION

Towards a Global Portfolio of Marine and Coastal Payment for Ecosystem Services

Winnie Lau, Marine Ecosystem Services (MARES) Program, Forest Trends

Depending on the definition of payment for environmental services (PES), some would say that there is already a good number of marine and coastal PES examples, while others would say that there is  still no true example of marine or coastal PES. Definitions aside, this dialogue reflects the fact that marine PES exploration has already begun.

The success of PES in the terrestrial setting as both a management and financing strategy, e.g., carbon payments and payment for watershed services, has prompted marine and coastal resource managers and conservation practitioners to examine the applicability of PES in marine and coastal settings.  Marine and coastal environments continue to be degraded despite increasing awareness and efforts while the funding gap between what is needed and what is actually being invested continues to grow. PES shows promise to be an innovative tool that can complement conventional coastal and marine resource management strategies and also serve as a source of sustainable long-term financing.

The biggest hurdle for developing marine and coastal PES and other incentive-based mechanisms has long been thought to be the open access, or lack of tenure, issue for marine and coastal resources. However, recent innovations in resource management and resource rights allocation are helping redefine “tenure” in marine and coastal ecosystems. For example, community-based natural resource management regimes, public-private co-management arrangements (e.g., concession agreements), resource use rights allocation (e.g., Territorial User Right Fisheries or TURFs), and marine spatial planning/ocean zoning are beginning to codify the use and access rights to these “public” goods that will allow for PES to develop.

At the same time, our understanding of marine and coastal ecosystems and the services they provide have reached a point where the science is sufficient for designing PES. There is a growing body of scientific knowledge on the ecosystem services provided by critical habitats, such as mangroves, coral reefs, sea grass beds, and salt marshes, and the flow of services among connected habitats. Accordingly, there is also a growing body of knowledge around the economic values of these services. The Marine Ecosystem Services Partnership (, a newly launched collaboration of over a dozen partners, will be a one-stop resource for accessing economic valuation information.

Services that are particularly ripe for testing of PES design and development include: “blue” carbon (carbon in coastal and marine environments) storage and sequestration, fish nursery habitats, marine biodiversity, coastal protection, beach maintenance and production, and coastal water quality. There is great potential for the existing terrestrial carbon market mechanisms, such as the voluntary carbon markets and REDD, to be applied in coastal habitats, such as mangroves that appear to store as much as or more carbon in the trees and soil than Amazonia rainforest (on a per area basis). There is also great potential to develop incentives, e.g., insurance premium discounts, to conserve habitats that protect coastal areas from storms and floods, which are predicted to be more frequent and more intense due to climate change. Examples of the tourism industry involved in PES and PES-like schemes for the protection of marine biodiversity and the habitats that contribute to beach formation already exist, and pilots that couple the tourism industry with the fishing community are emerging. Using the model of payment for watershed services, water quality trading in estuarine and coastal waters is being looked at as a mechanism to protect human health and seafood safety as well as a mechanism to implement the “ridge-to-reef" approach to managing the connections between land and sea.

Various groups in Latin America are already embarking on developing marine PES pilots; three examples by colleagues in Mexico and Colombia are featured in this newsletter. Others organizations in Panama, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Brazil, are also starting to explore marine PES. These experiences from Latin America together with pilot projects being designed in other regions of the world will compose a global portfolio of marine and coastal PES projects. The eventual goal is to build from these smaller, one-off projects and scale up to bona fide environmental markets for marine and coastal ecosystem services. It is an exciting time to be working at the forefront of this emerging field.


Marine and Coastal Ecosystem Services: An Undervalued Treasure


Montserrat Albán, Coordinator of Environmental Services , International Conservation Ecuador

Soledad Luna, Executive Director, Nazca  Institute of  Marine Investigation.

Coastal marine ecosystems generate services that have received limited attention from researchers and decision makers. This is probably due to the fact that they are not fully understood and therefore undervalued. 

Currently coastal and marine ecosystems are being seriously affected by several factors; one of the foremost is the accelerating rate of population growth. Also the impact of climate change is making its mark on ecosystems such as coral reefs and mangrove forests by weakening their structure and connection with other ecosystems, not allowing for optimum development.

Mismanagement of solid and liquid waste causes rivers to become flows for marine pollution, activities such as the cleaning of ships and spills of fuel and toxic substances. Also, overfishing through methods that remove and alter the seabed and acidification of the ocean, caused by the absorption of CO2, decrease the ability of marine ecosystems to recover from natural or human-caused phenomena.

Globally, and despite the efforts that many governments have made, mangrove cover continues to decline. Between 1997 and 2010 it has been estimated that 3 million km2 of mangrove forests have been converted to agricultural fields or designated for aquaculture.  ( Approximately 50% of fisheries are being exploited, 28% are over-exploited, 3% have been exhausted and only 1% is recovering (SOFIA 2010,

In the eastern Pacific, which covers the entire Pacific coast of South America, the fishery with the highest risk of depletion is the anchovy in Peru. We see that the human pressure on habitat causes loss of biodiversity, affects the functioning of ecosystems and their ability to continue producing goods and services, and the necessity to have present different aspects concerning ecosystems. 

One of the key aspects in the discussion of coastal marine services is the close relationships existing within them. Mangroves are a good example of this in that they make up a breeding area; also they act as natural barriers against storms, or as filters of oceanic waste and in maintenance of carbon (blue carbon). In the development of the lobster it is possible to see this close connectivity between marine ecosystems because reproduction occurs in calm deep waters, later the larvae travel for several months dragged by currents in shallow waters and finally juveniles seek protection in rocky areas near the coast.

A second aspect is the relationship with terrestrial ecosystems, such as freshwater sources that contribute to food with nutrients. This relationship is affected when the rivers carry excessive pollutants and sediment products product deforested land.

A third aspect to note is that marine ecosystems do not respond to a traditional structure of property rights. Usually the powers of marine ecosystems are shared between several organisms, creating great difficulty in their control and management. The challenge is to develop strategies for proper management of environment and resources that promotes that the beneficiaries acquire certain responsibilities as a custodian.

In marine ecosystems the consequences of impacts are not found in plain sight, so it is important to raise awareness and develop incentives for their conservation. In this same line, it is becoming increasingly clear the need to establish marine protected areas, that would permit generation of services, especially those related to the maintenance of breeding sites, feeding and migratory routes (Jacquet et al. 2010).

Finally, as a society we are facing the reality that marine resources are limited and our activities threaten the permanence of them. Incentives for the conservation of marine ecosystem services, without failing to observe and consider the criticisms, are a tool that requires pilot projects to allow us to learn and improve their implementation. However, up to now the implemented efforts have promoted the urgency to better manage natural resources and to design actions in multidisciplinary spaces. 

The challenge of marine ecosystem services is to be recognized and considered in the decision making process. This implies that to determine marine conservation areas, as well as zones of fishery management, there should be a clear strategy for their protection and "use". 


Jacquet, J; Pauly, D; Ainley, D; Holt, S; Dayton, P; Jackson, J. 2010. Seafood stewardship in crisis   NATURE, Vol 467.

Brown, K., Daw, T., Rosendo, S., Bunce, M. & N. Cherrett. 2008.  Ecosystem services for poverty alleviaton: marine and coastal situation analysis. UEA, Cefas, CRCP, MDC, ORI, WCS.


Return to main bulletinBack to Top   |   PROJECTS

Innovative mechanisms for coral reef conservation: Payment for environmental services in Akumal, MX

By: Paul Sánchez-Navarro, Centro Ecológico Akumal Director
Akumal, MX

Coral reefs, marine ecosystems and biodiversity services are the basis of the economy in the Mexican Caribbean. Akumal, the “place of the turtle” in Maya, has four tranquil bays, mangroves, underground river mouths and a rich mix of coral and marine species which makes this a unique spot in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef system. 

The Centro Ecológico Akumal (CEA) has been successful in creating a community based program in marine management. Here in Akumal, Payments for Environmental Services (PES) are being implemented in an innovative fashion to fund on-the-ground conservation actions. 

CEA is currently partnering with the MARES Program of Forest Trends to develop these marine PES schemes. By combining the use of these economic tools with policy tools for natural resource management, CEA will be able to improve and even restore ecosystem health while delivering livelihood support to communities in Akumal.    

To read the complete article:


Fishermen Working for Conservation

Eduardo Rolón
Director de Políticas Públicas - Public Policy Director
Comunidad y Biodiversidad A.C. 

Puerto Morelos, MX

With the help of "Comunidad y Biodiversidad AC" the Fishermen's Cooperative Society of Puerto Morelos has ceded part of their fishing rights for the establishment of a marine reserve, covering an area of 3527 hectares within the National Park of Puerto Morelos Reef. The park is 35 kilometers from the Cancun resort and is part of the tourist corridor known as the Rivera Maya. These actions will help restore over-exploited fisheries and will allow for the conservation of the beautiful ecosystems which house the reef and which sustain a high volume of tourism in the area.  A fundamental part of these actions is to seek to consolidate funding to maintain conservation efforts of the fishermen of Puerto Morelos. 

With the support of the MARES program of Forest Trends, Comunidad y Biodiversidad AC are analyzing the creation of a voluntary scheme of payments for environmental services (PES) for the aesthetic beauty enjoyed by both domestic and foreign tourists who visit the reef and national park.


Return to main bulletinBack to Top   |   TOOLS AND METHODOLOGIES

Blue Carbon - The Role of Healthy Oceans in Binding Carbon

By: Nelleman C., Corcoran, E., Duarte, C. M., Valdés, L., et al.

This interactive book questions focuses on incorporating marine and coastal ecosystem management into policy decisions. It includes a series of animations and graphics to help understand the function of marine ecosystems.

"The objective of this report is to highlight the critical role of the oceans and ocean ecosystems in maintaining our climate and in assisting policy makers to mainstream an oceans agenda into national and international climate change initiatives. While emissions' reductions are currently at the centre of climate change discussions, the critical role of the oceans and ocean ecosystem has been vastly overlooked." 

In order to implement a process and manage the necessary funds for the protection, management, and restoration of ocean carbon sinks, the following actions are proposed:

  • Establish a global blue carbon fund for protection and management of coastal and marine ecosystems and ocean carbon sequestration.
  • Immediately and urgently protect at least 80% of remaining seagrass meadows, salt marshes and mangrove forests, through effective management.
  • Initiate management practices that reduce and remove threats, and which support the robust recovery potential inherent in blue carbon sink communities.
  • Maintain food and livelihood security from the oceans by implementing comprehensive and integrated ecosystem approaches aiming to increase the resilience of human and natural systems to change.
  • Implement win-win mitigation strategies in the ocean-based sector.

To view the book:


Carbon Sequestration and Storage: Recommendations of the International Coastal 'Blue Carbon' Working Group

Minimizing Carbon Emissions and Maximizing Carbon Sequestration and Storage by Sea Grasses, Tidal Marshes, Mangroves

The International Union for Conservation of Nature, Conservation International, United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission joined in Paris, France in February 2011 for the first convening of the International Working Group for Coastal "Blue" Carbon. The Working Group was created as an initial step in advancing the scientific, management and policy goals of the Blue Carbon Initiative. A key results of the meeting is a set of recommendations for the protection of coastal services.

The Coastal "Blue" Carbon International Scientific Working Group recommends:

  • Enhanced national and international research efforts: Building on existing scientific data, analysis, and available technologies, a coherent and programmatic global data gathering and assessment effort is needed.
  • Enhanced local and regional management measures: Existing knowledge of the large carbon stocks, sequestration potential, and emissions from degraded or converted coastal ecosystems is sufficient to warrant enhanced management actions now.
  • Enhanced international recognition of coastal carbon ecosystems: Current international actions to reduce the impacts of climate change do not recognize the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the degradation of coastal wetlands or the role of healthy coastal ecosystems in sequestering carbon dioxide.

Emily Pidgeon, CI, epidgeon[at]
Dorothée Herr, IUCN, Dorothee.HERR[at]
Luciano Fonseca, IOC, l.fonseca[at]

Click to read the full recommendations:


Payment for Ecosystem Services: Getting Started in Marine and Coastal Ecosystems. A Primer.

Published by the Marine Ecosystem Services (MARES) Program of Forest Trends, this primer defines payments for ecosystem services (PES) and specifically discusses how PES deals work in the marine and coastal environment.

The topics include:

  • Basic background on marine and coastal ecosystem services
  • Steps to developing PES projects
  • The opportunities and risks of PES schemes, to enable accurate feasibility assessments for applying these new market-based mechanisms
  • Considerations of PES for poverty reduction
  •  Resources for additional reference and reading

There is also a draft version of this primer in Spanish.

They are both available at:


Return to main bulletinBack to Top   |   PUBLICATIONS

Green Payments for Blue Carbon: Economic Incentives for Protecting Threatened Coastal Habitats

Authors: Brian C. Murray, Linwood Pendleton, W. Aaron Jenkins, and Samantha Sifleet

"This report examines the critical question of whether monetary payments for blue carbon—carbon captured and stored by coastal marine and wetland ecosystems—can alter economic incentives to favor protection of coastal habitats such as mangroves, seagrass meadows, and salt marshes. This idea is analogous to payments for REDD+ (reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation), an instrument of global climate policy that aims to curtail forest clearing, especially in the tropics. Like payments for REDD+, incentives to retain rather than emit blue carbon would preserve biodiversity as well as a variety of other ecosystem services at local and regional scales."

Download Executive Summary:

Download entire publication:


Mangroves for REDD?

Published Online 3 April 2011

Nature Geoscience, Letters

Daniel C. Donato, J. Boone Kauffman, Daniel Murdiyarso, Sofyan Kurnianto, Melanie Stidham, and Markku Kanninen

DOI: 10.1038/NGEO1123

"Mangrove forests occur along ocean coastlines throughout the tropics, and support numerous ecosystem services. The areal extent of mangrove forests has declined by 30–50% over the past half century due to coastal development, aquaculture expansion and over-harvesting.

Carbon emissions resulting from mangrove loss are uncertain, owing in part to a lack of broad-scale data on the amount of carbon stored in these ecosystems, particularly below ground. This study quantified whole-ecosystem carbon storage by measuring tree and dead wood biomass, soil carbon content, and soil depth in 25 mangrove forests across a broad area of the Indo-Pacific region. These data indicate that mangroves are among the most carbon-rich forests in the tropics, containing on average 1,023Mg carbon per hectare. Combining this data with other published information, mangrove deforestation is estimated to generate emissions of 0.02–0.12 Pg carbon per year—as much as around 10% of emissions from deforestation globally, despite accounting for just 0.7% of tropical forest area."

Blue Carbon: An Oceanic Opportunity to Fight Climate Change

By: Robynne Boyd

The Sea is another opportunity to protect our planet.

This article published in Scientific American, emphasizes the importance of oceans in the process of climate change mitigation. It provides basic data and definitions for mangroves, marshes, and marine ecosystems. The publication asserts the importance of preserving these natural resources to prevent the release of large quantities of CO2.

According to the author, 35% of mangroves, 30% of marshes, and 20% of sea grasses have been destroyed due to human activity. In Sacramento, California, for example, approximately 1800 square kilometers have been altered in the mouth of the San Joaquin River, releasing a total of 2 giga tons of CO2 over the last 100 years. Dan Laffoley, Senior Advisor, Marine Science and Conservation for the Global Marine and Polar Programme within the IUCN reports that an estimated 10 - 15 million tonnes of CO2 are released from this area each year.

Finally, the article explores the potential for mangroves in carbon markets, outlining current activities taken by mangrove landowners such as the construction of shrimp ponds. 


The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity

By: Pavan Sukhdev, Heidi Wittmer, et al. (TEEB 2010)

 “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity” includes important data related to marine and coastal ecosystem services. For example, the document highlights the critical importance of the world's coral reefs. According to the publication, coral reefs are home to between 1 to 3 million global species, despite representing only 1.2% of global surface.

The TEEB report focuses on the coral reefs of Hawaii, which deliver benefits to the state estimated at  $360 million per year for services in fishing, tourism, and erosion protection.  At present this value includes economic activities such as recreation, fishing; however, the calculation has not yet taken into account coral services such as protection against natural disasters, maintaining and regulating ecosystems, etc.

To read the complete article and publication:


What do we call PES?

Shelley BG
Ann NY Acad Sci. 2011 Feb;1219:209-25. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2010.05941.x.

"Researchers, policy makers, and practitioners have used various terms to describe instruments that reward the stewardship of ecosystem services that benefit "external" actors. Payments for environmental services, or PES, has been the predominant name. However, critics have challenged both the payments and environmental components of this nomenclature, most commonly proposing markets, compensation, or rewards as alternatives for the former, and ecosystem for the latter. Additional questions arise regarding what to call the agents directly involved in the transaction: sellers and buyers, or stewards and beneficiaries? This review of the modulating use of terms and the arguments about which best fit theory and experience points to the key policy and ethical issues at stake as PES programs face critical and timely questions about the direction they will head. The author contends that the choices of terms will influence that direction and proposes a new alternative-rewards for ecosystem service stewardship (RESS)-that better encompasses pro-poor options."

Analyzing PES with GIS in Honduras

Journal of Sustainable Forestry
Volume 30, Issue 1 & 2, 2011, Pages 79 - 110
Authors: Pablo Martinez de Anguita; Samuel Rivera; Jose Manuel Beneiteza; Fernando Cruzad; Fany M. Espinalad
DOI: 10.1080/10549811003742225

Authors of  "A GIS Cost-Benefit Analysis-Based Methodology to Establish a Payment for Environmental Services System in Watersheds: Application to the Calan River in Honduras" used a combination of cost-benefit analysis, hydrological, and GIS-based methods to design and implement a PES system in a Honduran watershed. Results suggested that local residents were willing to pay for water provision both using money and community labor.  On a methodological level, these results attest to the value of including GIS-based landscape planning and cost-benefit analysis in a methodology for designing and implementing PES systems.

Return to main bulletinBack to Top   |   PAST EVENTS

2nd International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC2)

Making Marine Science Matter
May 14-18, 2011
Victoria, Canada

Organized by the Marine Section of the Society for Conservation Biology, IMCC is geared towards bringing scientists, managers and policy makers together for discussions and for developing science-based products to inform policy decisions and implementation to protect and conserve marine resources. The meeting is focused on developing innovative solutions to current conservation challenges. Topics covered include:

  • Innovative techniques and technology for marine conservation
  • The human dimension of marine conservation
  • Advancing marine conservation through International treaties
  • The changing Arctic
  • Marine conservation awareness and outreach
  • Climate and the changing oceans
  • Sustainable fisheries and aquaculture
  • Conservation at the land/sea interface
  • Effective Marine Spatial Planning

International Workshop: "Environmental functions of forests and their role in poverty reduction"

        By: Roxana Valdéz y Eduardo Franco

“Where you see a problem I see an opportunity, I strongly believe that there is a great opportunity to restore degraded ecosystems in Bolivia”.
- John Liu

John Liu, senior research fellow and the director of the EEMP foundation in China, released a documentary called “Hope in a Changing Climate” which demonstrates  the restoration of the Loess Plateau in China. 

John Lui presented the documentary in the International Workshop “Environmental functions of forests and their role in poverty reduction” that took place in Santa Cruz, Bolivia and was organized by  Fundación Natura Bolivia and Red de Aprendizaje sobre compensación de Servicios Ambeitnales (RACSA). 

More information:

Watch the movie:


Marine Katoomba Meeting I & II

The first-ever Marine Katoomba Meeting was held in February 2010 at the Moore Foundation in Palo Alto, California to galvanize the community of practice and assess the state of knowledge of payment for ecosystem services and other innovative financing mechanism for protecting our coasts and oceans. This inaugural meeting brought together over 150 experts and practitioners in marine community from around the world to share experiences and the scientific knowledge around developing new financing tools and approaches and expanding the use of market-based mechanisms to marine and coastal ecosystem services. The marine ecosystem services explored include as coastline stabilization, beach maintenance and production, fish nursery functions of mangroves and seagrass beds, coastal water quality and ocean carbon storage. The meeting concluded with a panel discussing what is needed for bona fide markets to emerge.

Resources from the meeting, such as audiocasts, presentations, and articles,, are available at:

Expert interviews can be found at:

Following this initial meeting, a second focused, private meeting titled, “Moving Market-based Strategies for Protection of Marine and Coastal Ecosystem Services from Concept to Reality” was held in November 2010 in La Paz, Mexico. This meeting launched the draft Marine Markets Matrix and Spanish version of the Marine PES Primer, presented the vision for a Marine-Water Portal to integrate freshwater and marine PES strategies, and brainstormed different mechanisms for protecting mangrove ecosystem services, particularly, fish nursery habitats, carbon sequestration, and biodiversity offsets.

For more information, please contact Winnie Lau, wlau[at]


PSA initiatives in Brazil

The seminar sponsored by the Coordination of Biodiversity of the Ministry of Environment (London) focused on the issue of payment for environmental services (PES) through the experiences and information generated in projects being developed in several regions Brazil by entities such as federal, state and local governments, businesses and NGOs. The presentations are available at the following link:


Global comparative analysis of REDD initiatives

This event was conducted by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR - acronym in English), in collaboration with the Instituto Centro de Vida (ICV). The purpose of the meeting was to reflect the current status and challenges in the implementation of REDD +. The seminar was part of a CIFOR project that is monitoring the REDD+ actions of nine countries.


First Workshop in Marine Ecosystem Services in San Andres, Colombia

Juliana Castaño and Winnie Lau, MARES Program, Forest Trends

The MARES Program (Marine Ecosystem Services Program) of Forest Trends held for the staff of CORALINA (Corporation for the Sustainable Development of the Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina) the first workshop on Marine Environmental Services in San Andres Island (Colombia) from 4 to 6 April as part of the project "Protection of Biodiversity in the Southwest Region of the Caribbean". In order to build a foundation for developing a payment for environmental services (PES) scheme, this workshop provided basic knowledge on marine and coastal ecosystem services and included a description of the steps necessary for designing a PES project in marine coastal areas. Thirty people attended and began identifying potential actors and management activities for this PES on the Island.


Return to main bulletinBack to Top   |   FUTURE EVENTS

World Conference on Marine Biodiversity

The event will be held from the 26 to the 30 of September of 2011 in Aberdeen, Scotland (United Kingdom) and registration will be received until the 2nd of September 2011.

The conference will emphasize the importance of protecting and properly managing marine resources for the future of mankind. It will also open discussion of the impact of changes in biodiversity as a result of direct and indirect human impact.

The objectives of the conference are:

Review our knowledge of marine biodiversity and its role in marine ecosystem functioning 

Assess the most critical threats to marine systems and consider management strategies 

Discuss sustainable development and socio-economic impacts on the marine sector 

Identify future research priorities

For further information:


International PES Conference: mechanisms for governance of natural resources

3 - 5 August 2011

This workshop is organized by: Government of Mexico State, Secretary of Agriculture, Catalonia Centre of Forest Technology, and the REDIPASA network (SinergiA partner). The event will focus on lessons learned from PSA application in Latin America, governance mechanisms, and public-private institutional partnerships. The overall goal of the conference is to increase stakeholder interest and participation in PSA, and to establish cooperation between European and Latin American countries on PES transactions.

Subjects for discussion will be integrated into four areas:

  • Evaluation and monitoring of PES schemes
  • PES in Protected Natural Areas
  • PES as a mechanisms for environmental and forest governance
  • Forest management and climate change

Details on the event are available here: Congreso PSA 2011.pdf and here:
For questions please contact: Alberto-Villavicencio Angeles angeles.alberto[at]


Return to main bulletinBack to Top   |   THE NETWORKS

About Us


The Amazon Initiative (IA)

The Amazon Initiative International Consortium for the Conservation and Sustainable use of Natural Resources in the Amazon (AI) was launched in 2004, in line with the policy framework of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO), with the objective of elaborating and implementing collaborative programs that identify and promote sustainable land use systems in the Amazon. Founding members of the AI include six agricultural research institutions of member Amazonian countries, four centers of the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), and the Inter-American Institute for Agricultural Cooperation (IICA) through its Procitrópicos program. The AI promotes and implements training and consulting activities along with its primary research foci. In 2008, the AI launched its Amazon Initiative Eco-Regional Program (PER-IA) which aims to contribute to the improvement of rural livelihoods and conservation of Amazonian ecosystems through research for development. Currently the AI coordinating office resides in the Brazilian Eastern Amazon Agricultural Research Cooperation (EMBRAPA).

The Network of Environmental Services Practitioners (RISAS)

The Network of Environmental Services Practitioners – RISAS – was established in 2005 as a partnership of organizations and professionals dedicated to discussion, analysis and research into the financial mechanisms available for ecosystem services protection and restoration. The organization’s mission is to provide a network open to individuals and institutions involved in financial initiatives supporting ecosystem services conservation. Based in Quito, Ecuador, RISAS’ sphere of influence extends throughout the Andean region. The network uses different tools usch as meetings, emails, workshops, the website and this newsletter, to support learning and discussion around current themes and experiences related to financial mechanisms for conservation and protection of environmental services.

Katoomba Group

The Katoomba Group

An initiative of Forest Trends, the Katoomba Group is a global network of practitioners working to promote the use and improve capacity for payment for ecosystem services (PES). Since its founding in 1999, the Katoomba Group has addressed key challenges to developing markets and payments for ecosystem services, from enabling legislation through establishment of new market institutions to testing methods for successful project design. The organization has held 15 global conferences and dozens of training workshops, published and contributed to key publications and tools, and supported the development of PES schemes, among them the BioCarbon Fund at the World Bank and the Mexican PES Fund. It has also advised national policy discussions on financial incentives for conservation in China, Brazil, India, Colombia, and other countries. In 2005, the Katoomba Group launched the Ecosystem Marketplace, a leading source of information on environmental markets. In 2006, the Tropical America regional Katoomba was formed to strengthen regional PES capacity and facilitate ecosystem services transactions throughout Latin America.


The ‘Compensation for Environmental Services’ Learning Network ((RACSA)

RACSA was established in 2006 to promote dialogue around the use of economic incentives to achieve conservation objectives and improve the wellbeing of Bolivia’s poor. Through learning and networking events , and the exchange and diffusion of information in digital and print format, RACSA seeks to increase understanding of compensation for environmental services and climate change and promote the development of successful policies and initiatives. RACSA’s members include governmental, non-governmental, private, and civil society actors dedicated to the development of environmental services in Bolivia. For more information, please visit the website of the Fundación Natura Bolivia, which currently coordinates RACSA, at



REDIPASA is a network of researchers from Latin American countries that are involved in PES, the management of hydrological catchment areas, rural development and management policies, and natural resource conservation. Researchers work together and exchange experiences to: standardize criteria, design and execute joint research projects; produce studies that propose mechanisms to improve PES and PES methodologies; and monitoring, evaluation, and methodologies of experiences adapted to different situations. REDIPASA aims to provide regional managers with tools to facilitate rural development and environmental sustainability over a wide area, by, compensating rural inhabitants (who are often impoverished) for conservation measures. The network also hopes to develop PES models that can be replicated and expanded elsewhere in Latin America.

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

GIZ was established on 1 January 2011. It brings together under one roof the long-standing expertise of the Deutscher Entwicklungsdienst (DED) gGmbH (German Development Service), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH (German technical cooperation) and Inwent – Capacity Building International, Germany. As a federally owned enterprise, GIZ supports the German Government in achieving its objectives in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development. They are engaged in international education work around the globe, operating in more than 130 countries worldwide.


Espanol Portuguese Conservation Strategy Fund, CSF, is an international non-profit environmental organization that focuses on economic issues affecting the conservation of biodiverse ecosystems throughout the world. CSF finds solutions to the world’s conservation challenges through the strategic use of economics. Since 1998, CSF has delivered a unique combination of training and field studies aimed at improving conservation policy and management.  More information can be found at
Espanol Portuguese Valorando Naturaleza is an initiative of Forest Trends' Ecosystem Marketplace, a leading source of information about economic incentives and markets for ecosystem services. Utilizing our broad network of collaborators and journalists working in the region, Valorando Naturaleza provides original news coverage and in depth analysis; daily news aggregation; profiles and opinion pieces by leaders in the region; listings of events, job openings, fellowships, courses, requests for bids and other opportunities; and a library. We offer a free service to make publicly accessible reliable information about policy, finance, science and other topics related to environmental incentives, helping make conservation and pollution reduction a foundation of our economic and environmental systems. Our platform informs and connects businesses, decision makers, researchers, and community groups.
Espanol Portuguese The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, a federal agency, aids the government of the Federal Republic of Germany in its work to reach objectives in the area of international cooperation for sustainable development. It also acts at a global level in international education.  The main commissioning party of the GIZ is the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). GIZ operates in various areas, ranging from fostering economies and employment to the protection of the environment, from natural resources and climate, and extending to governance and democracy, construction of peace, security and reconstruction and management of civil conflict, food security, health and basic education.  In Latin America GIZ contributes to the implementation of various projects and cooperates particularly in the priority area of environmental management, theprotection of biodiversity and sustainable rural development.  
Communties & Markets
Espanol Portuguese Forest Trends’ Communities and Markets Initiative supports community rights and livelihoods based on integrated natural resource management approaches, building local capacity to benefit from ecosystem services and other economic incentives. Forest Trends' Communities and Markets Initiative seeks to link communities to environmental markets, working to create the awareness and capacity for communities to participate and benefit from payments and compensation schemes in recognition and retribution of their stewardship role of ecosystem services. We support communities' land tenure rights as their right and the basis for securing their cultural identity and economic development, and as a pre-condition for their successful participation in environmental markets.

Espanol Portuguese REDISAS, the Network of Interested Parties in Environmental Services, is a formal network established in 2005 as an initiative of Ecodecisión (EMPRESA SOCIAL, working in Latin America developing mechanisms through analysis of scientific, technical and environmental information about threatened forests and landscapes to demonstrate te tangible value of nature) with collaboration of various people and institutions interested in the topic of environmental services, compensation for conservation of nature and conservation of biodiversity. REDISAS promotes a platform for reflection and analysys about incentives to protect and recuperate biodiversity, which looks to disseminate learning and experiences in Ecuador and Latinamerica about mechanisms used in the sustainable management of natural resources.
Espanol Portuguese RACSA, the Learning Network about Conservation of Environmental Services, is a grouping of civil society organizations, public institutions, NGO's municipal authorities and other actors interested in learning about initiatives to conserve environmental services and improve the wellbeing of the poorest in Bolivia. The Network generates a space to debate ideas, lessons learned and reflect. It is composed of representatives of Fundacion Avina, ICEA, SBDA, FAN and Fundacion Natura Bolivia. 
Espanol Portuguese The Center for Development Research (ZEF) is an international and interdisciplinary research center of the University of Bonn. Broadly, ZEF research focuses on Political and Cultural Change, Economic and Technological Change and Ecology and Natural Resources Management in developing countries. ZEF runs a highly recognized international doctoral program that is open to qualified individuals, especially from developing countries.