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Incentives for Ecosystem Services

Launch of FAO publication: The State of the World's Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture

FAO's publication, the State of the World's Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture, will be launched...

2nd Global Conference of the One Planet (10YFP): IES side event

IES organized a side event during the 2nd Global Conference of the One Planet (10YFP),...

Webinar: A review of local finance for forest and landscape restoration

The Incentives for Ecosystem Services (IES) approach was included within an international webinar, "Local finance...

CBD COP14 Agriculture Day - Agriculture and Biodiversity: walking hand-in-hand toward a sustainable world

FAO jointly organized Agriculture Day during CBD COP 14, Sharm El Shiekh, Egypt -- Agriculture and Biodiversity: walking hand-in-hand...

Incentives for Ecosystem Services (IES) are packages of measures that aim to support farmers in the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices that will benefit the environment, and improve long-term food security.

Without incentives, farmers are limited in their ability to invest the time and capital to change agricultural practices and overcome technical, cultural or financial adoption barriers to sustainable production. These incentives encourage farmers to protect and deliver more ecosystem services through better management of crops, livestock, forests and fisheries, and conservation of endangered species and protected habitats.

To overcome these barriers, an IES package can create an umbrella of programmes to support farmers' transition to more sustainable agricultural production. Public policies to improve farm productivity can be combined with those that reward conservation practices. Both can see its results maximized by partnering with green business strategies such as ecological value-added markets, and civil society initiatives that support improved livelihoods and social protection.

Example of an integrated IES package

Improved productivity:

  • Investment in improved livestock breeds and seed varieties
  • Pasture management
  • Improved soil fertility through reduced agro-chemical input
  • Increased access to higher-value markets and rural credit
  • Development of rural enterprises and alternative livelihoods


Soil and water conservation:

  • Soil erosion control measures
  • Improved irrigation systems and water management

Forest conservation:

  • Protection of forest habitats
  • Reforestation and restoration of vegetation
  • Development of agroforestry systems


Protection of sensitive habitats:

  • Zoning of habitats to create vegetative buffers
  • Fencing of springs to protect from grazing
  • Restoration of river banks and wetlands