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22nd March 2024 (10 Topics)

Payment for Ecosystem Services: Changing Paradigm of Conservation

Context

Amidst escalating concerns about climate change, the concept of Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) emerges as a potential solution to align economic growth with environmental sustainability.

1: Dimension- Recognizing Ecosystem Value

  • Economic Incentives: PES incentivizes local communities and indigenous peoples for their role as stewards of the environment by assigning economic value to ecosystem services.
  • Transformative Narrative: By acknowledging the invaluable contributions of forests and other ecosystems, PES shifts the narrative from exploitation to conservation, integrating environmental stewardship into economic decision-making processes.
  • Global Significance: PES initiatives worldwide highlight the universal recognition of the need to preserve natural resources and mitigate the adverse effects of climate change.

2: Dimension- Empowering Communities for Sustainable Development

  • Agroforestry and Land Management: PES encourages farmers to adopt sustainable practices such as agroforestry, integrating trees with crops and livestock to enhance land productivity and biodiversity.
  • Sustainable Practices: Encouraging communities to adopt sustainable land management practices, such as agroforestry, fosters biodiversity conservation and climate resilience.
  • Community Ownership: PES fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility among communities, empowering them to actively participate in conservation efforts and ensuring the long-term sustainability of ecosystems.

3: Dimension-Technological Integration and Transparency

  • Monitoring and Accountability: Technological advancements, including satellite imagery and drones, facilitate transparent monitoring of conservation efforts, ensuring fair compensation for communities and promoting ethical practices.
  • Preventing Greenwashing: Robust regulations and ethical standards are essential to combatting fraudulent practices such as "carbon cowboys" and ensuring that PES initiatives deliver tangible environmental benefits.
  • Scaling Up PES: While PES holds promise, scaling up initiatives requires strategic market engagement, innovative financing mechanisms, and strong policy frameworks to mobilize resources effectively and address evolving challenges.

Mains Practice Question

How can Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) contribute to sustainable development and environmental conservation in India?

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