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Incentives for Ecosystem Services

IES Webinar: Tools and methods to support the implementation of ecosystem-based approaches (EbA) to adaptation in agriculture sectors

The Incentives for Ecosystem Services (IES) project presented the IES approach during a webinar on 5...

First Sustainable Rice Conference and Exhibition

The Incentives for Ecosystem Services (IES) project presented the IES approach and moderated a day-long...

Watershed Days: Promoting global good practice in watersheds working effectively with partners

FAO and the World Bank co-organized an event on 22 June 2017 as part of...

Sapienza-ICRAF knowledge-sharing event: From payments to co-investments in ecosystem services

The International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF) and Sapienza University of Rome hosted a...

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