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Incentives for Ecosystem Services

FAO Committee on Agriculture (COAG)

IES jointly organized a side event with the Netherlands Water Partship (NWP), together with the...

Stockholm Water Week 2016

The IES approach and incentives spectrum was presented during the session: Ecosystem degradation and livelihoods:...

9th Session of the Intergovernmental Technical Working Group for Animal Genetic Resources

The Ninth Session of the Intergovernmental Technical Working Group for Animal Genetic Resources for Food...

FAO Regional Policy Dialogue: Ecosystem Services from Sustainable Agriculture for Biodiversity Conservation

The FAO East African Regional Policy Dialogue was held on 25-26 May 2016 in Nairobi,...

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 protect 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.

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