• Open Access

Payments for ecosystem services and the fatal attraction of win-win solutions


  • Editor Catherine Tucker

  • Editor in Chief note This article inspired an alternative viewpoint presented by S. Wunder on page 230.


Roldan Muradian, Radboud University, P.O. Box 9104. 6500HE Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Tel: +31-2-4361-3058; fax: +31-2-4361-5957.

E-mail: r.muradian@maw.ru.nl


In this commentary we critically discuss the suitability of payments for ecosystem services and the most important challenges they face. While such instruments can play a role in improving environmental governance, we argue that over-reliance on payments as win-win solutions might lead to ineffective outcomes, similar to earlier experience with integrated conservation and development projects. Our objective is to raise awareness, particularly among policy makers and practitioners, about the limitations of such instruments and to encourage a dialogue about the policy contexts in which they might be appropriate.