Improving the link between payments and the provision of ecosystem services in agri-environment schemes

Mark S. Reed* (Corresponding Author), Andrew Moxey, Katrin Prager, Nick Hanley, James Skates, Aletta Bonn, Chris D. Evans, Klaus Glenk, Ken Thomson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Citations (Scopus)


This paper considers how agri-environment schemes under the Common Agricultural Policy could be adapted to derive a higher return of ecosystem services, by spatially targeting the services most valued by society and providing incentives for cross-boundary management of certain ecosystem services at catchment or wider spatial scales. The paper reviews evidence that spatially targeted, outcome-based payments may be more economically efficient than current approaches, but identifies a number of challenges, including: scientific uncertainty; pricing of ecosystem services; timing of payments; increased risk to land managers; compliance with World Trade Organisation regulations; and barriers to cross-boundary collaboration in the management of ecosystem services at habitat, catchment or landscape scales. Options are reviewed to overcome these challenges, including: the use of pressure-response functions and modelling approaches to establish causal links between management and ecosystem service delivery and reduce the costs of monitoring; non-market valuation techniques to set prices for ecosystem service delivery; insurance schemes; combining funding from public and private Payment for Ecosystem Service schemes; and options to facilitate cross-boundary management of ecosystem services. Using examples from UK peatlands and the Welsh Glastir agri-environment scheme, the paper suggests ways to link payments for management inputs more effectively to the provision of ecosystem services. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-53
Number of pages10
JournalEcosystem Services
Early online date6 Aug 2014
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2014

Bibliographical note

Thanks to Ian Bateman, Sarah Buckmaster, Ros Bryce, Mike Christie, Joris de Vente, Ioan Fazey, Klaus Hubacek, Andrew Midgley, Philip Lowe, Claire Quinn, Alister Scott, Bill Slee and three anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on previous versions of this paper. This research was funded by NERC׳s Valuing Nature Network and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature׳s UK Peatland Programme.


  • Ecosystem services
  • Agri-environment schemes
  • UK
  • Peatland
  • Collaboration
  • Spatial targeting


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