Environmental service payment

By Henry Phillippe Ibanes de Novion, biologist

The payment or compensation for environmental services involves the transfer of resources (monetary or other kinds) to those who help maintain or produce environmental services. As the benefits of these services are obtained by everyone, it is fair that the people who contribute to the conservation and maintenance of environmental services receive incentives. It is not enough to charge those who pollute a river or deforest headwater regions: remuneration is required for those who voluntarily ensure the supply of services.

Below we provide the definition of an environmental service and other examples presented by Federal Deputy Anselmo de Jesus from the Workers Party of Rondônia in his law bill  No. 792 of 2007.

Article 1. Environmental services comprise flows of matter, energy and information from the stock of natural capital, which combined with built capital and human services produce benefits for human beings, such as:

I - the assets produced and provided by ecosystems, including food, water, fuel, fibres, genetic resources and natural medicines;

II - services obtained from the regulation of ecosystemic processes, such as the quality of the air, climate regulation, water regulation, water purification, erosion control, regulation of human illnesses, biological control and risk mitigation;

III - non-material benefits that enhance the quality of life, such as cultural diversity, religious and spiritual values, traditional and formal knowledge, inspirations, aesthetic values, social relations, sense of place, value of cultural heritage, leisure and ecotourism;

IV - services needed to produce all the other services, including primary production, soil formation, oxygen production, soil retention, pollination, habitat provision and nutrient recycling.

Article 2. Anyone who voluntarily works to apply or develop the benefits set out in Article 1 of this law will be entitled to payment or compensation, as established under the regulations.