Watershed-based payment for environmental services in Asia


M. Huang; S.K. Upadhyaya

Type of Document:
Research Report


SANREM CRSP, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Date of Publication:

Place of Publication:
Blacksburg, VA


Few mature PES programs actually exist in Asia. While premature to conclude just how effective these schemes are, this assessment provides an Overview of the lessons learned and best practices of watershed-based PES programs emerging in Asia to date.

This assessment is based on a literature review of both published and unpublished materials, and interviews with PES professionals in Asia. Approximately 30 watershed-based PES case studies in Asia were identified (see Appendix A). However, only 15 of these case studies provide sufficient detailed information for analysis. The largest number of PES case studies comes from Indonesia and the Philippines where watershed management has taken on less of a command and control approach and thus, the enabling conditions for establishing PES schemes based on Wunder s (2005) definition is potentially greater.

A number of factors appear to influence the development of PES programs in Asia, five of which are discussed in this assessment. First, governance structures in Asian countries vary from command-and-control to more decentralized, participatory approaches to watershed management. Such governance structures, in turn, shape the regulations and the required capacities of local and national-level institutions to support a PES framework. Second, in much of Asia, population density is high and land holdings per household are relatively low, potentially increasing PES transaction costs. Third, most forest and agricultural land in Asia are state-controlled with individuals or communities possessing weak property or usufruct rights, thus bringing into question the voluntary component of the PES definition. Fourth, as within most developing countries, the lack of hydrological data to establish a relationship between land use patterns and environmental services raises issues of how the conditionality aspect of PES is being met. Finally, the level of awareness of the PES concept across Asia is relatively low. As will be highlighted throughout this assessment, these contextual factors influence the design and development of PES programs in Asia.

(Excerpt from Introduction)

Additional Bibliographic Information

SANREM CRSP Working Paper No. 06-07

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