In the face of rapid biodiversity loss worldwide, highlighted in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, new approaches to promote conservation are urgently needed. The challenge is to find new sources of finance for biodiversity conservation and to develop strategies that conserve endangered species and habitats while enhancing livelihoods for those people living closest to biodiversity.
Payments for environmental services (also known as payments for ecosystem services or PES), are payments to farmers or landowners who have agreed to take certain actions to manage their land or watersheds to provide an ecological service.
Community-based initiatives for biodiversity and poverty reduction, where biodiversity is sustainably managed by communities for nutrition, health, cultural and other needs, receive little official support and recognition. Their wider adoption is often hampered by unsupportive policy environments.
Protected areas are an essential tool for conservation, and are the cornerstone of national and international conservation strategies. Yet the financial and political sustainability of these areas is in doubt.