The Potential for Payment of Ecosystem Services in Smallholder Conservation Agriculture

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ECOSYSTEM SERVICES IN AGRICULTURE
The potential for Payment of Ecosystem Services in
Smallholder Conservation Agriculture
Rebecka Malinga and Erna Kruger
CONTENTS
CONTENTS ............................................................................................................................................... 1
1. ECOSYSTEMS .................................................................................................................................... 2
1.1 ECOSYSTEMS AND FUNCTIONS ................................................................................................... 2
1.2 ECOSYSTEM CHANGE.................................................................................................................. 2
1.3 BIODIVERSITY ............................................................................................................................. 3
1.4 AGRO-ECOSYSTEMS AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS ................................................................. 3
2. ECOSYSTEM SERVICES...................................................................................................................... 5
2.1 WHAT ARE ECOSYSTEM SERVICES?............................................................................................. 5
2.2 ECOSYSTEM SERVICES AND BIODIVERSTIY .................................................................................. 6
2.3 ECOSYSTEM SERVICES, HUMAN-WELL BEING AND POVERTY....................................................... 6
2.4 SOCIAL-ECOLOGICAL SYSTEMS.................................................................................................... 7
2.5 ECOSYSTEM SERVICES IN AGRICULTURE ..................................................................................... 7
3. PAYMENT FOR ECOSYSTEM SERVICES (PES) ...................................................................................... 8
3.1 WHAT IS PES? ............................................................................................................................. 8
4. PAYMENT FOR ECOSYSTEM SERVICES AND AGRICULTURE ..............................................................10
4.1 PES IN AGRICULTURE ................................................................................................................10
4.2 POTENTIAL FOR PES IN SMALLHOLDER AGRICULTURE ..............................................................11
4.3 PES AND CONSERVATION AGRICULTURE ..................................................................................11
4.4 CRITERIA AND INDICATORS .......................................................................................................12
4.5 A POTENTIAL PES SCENARIO .....................................................................................................13
5.REFERENCES ...............................................................................................................................13
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1. ECOSYSTEMS
1.1 ECOSYSTEMS AND FUNCTIONS
An ecosystem is usually defined as a natural unit which contains a set of plants, animals, and microorganisms, that
interact with the non-living factors (physical, chemical, geological) in a given area. An ecosystem can range in size
from a tiny pond tothe entire planet (See figure 1). The biogeochemical activities of an ecosystem are called
ecosystem functions, or simply stated ecosystem functions are what the ecosystems do;they produce new plant
material through photosynthesis, break down old plant material and release energy and nutrients through
decomposition, transform and avail nutrients for plants to take up through mineralization. Ecosystem functions are
carried outby a combination of the components that make up the ecosystem; plants, animals, microorganisms and
their surroundings (e.g. soil, water, and the atmosphere), (Ecosystem Servicesand the Environment, 2015).
Figure 1. An ecosystem is a natural unit containing a set of plants, animals, microorganisms and their non-living geological, chemical and physical
surroundings. Here illustrated at three different scales; a fish tank, a farming village and the entire planet.
There are also other types of ecosystem functionswhich are useful to discuss at a landscape scale or level. A
landscape in this context includes not just one ecosystem or vegetation type, but a variety of ecosystems within a
piece of land used and managed by humans. It may be a village with homesteads, crop fields, grasslands, patches of
forests, wetlands and rivers, or it may refer to an entire region with several towns andvillages and the surrounding
vegetation, whether it is cultivatedor natural. Ecosystem functions at alandscape scale can refer to erosion, water
and soil conservation, storm and flood regulation, water and air purification,pollination and pest regulation, as
well as aesthetic appreciation (beauty) and recreation (fun).
1.2 ECOSYSTEM CHANGE
Ecosystems are constantly changing, both due to interactions within the system and due to external environmental
changes, including human activities. A stable and resilient ecosystem will continue to provide ecosystem functions
even if these changes are quite large or severe. All ecosystems however have limits to what they can withstand in
terms of change, before the system flips and begins to function in a different way.
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A grass dominated savanna can cope witha certain grazing pressure, certainrainfall intensity, a certain level of
grass fires, but when the pressures are too high the savanna may become dominated byshrubs, and no longer
provide the functions it usedto. A lake with clear water, healthy sea-grass and plentyof fish can provide
surrounding communities with food and livelihoods through fishing, while over-fishing and nutrient run-off from
nearby agricultural lands may lead to disturbance of the natural food web in the lake and flip or change the system
into a sea-grass dominated (toodense underwater vegetation) lake with poor water qualityandno fish. (Walker et
al. 2006)
1.3 BIODIVERSITY
The fundamental requirement for a healthy natural environment isbiological diversity, or biodiversity. There needs
to be a diversity of genes, species, functions, and vegetation types, even ecosystem types, to maintain the web of
life, to secure ecosystem functioning and withstand externalshocks (extreme weather events, fires or human-
caused disasters). If for example one species or a group of species with a certain function in an ecosystem is wiped
out in a pest outbreak, a biologically diverse system may have other species thatcan replace the lost species and
carry out that function.
The more various species, the more likely it is to be back-up for a lost function. A forest with a variety of natural
tree species is more likely to resist a heavy storm, than a forest plantationwith only one species of trees, not
naturally growing in that area. A natural diverse system has been adapting to the local conditions over a long
period of time, which increases the resilience of the system. It has not been fully established through science
exactly how each ecosystem function depends on biodiversity, but there is enough evidence to show thatit is very
important to maintain biodiversityover the long-term to ensure stable ecosystems.
In the world today, the rate of speciesextinction is so high that we are facing a mass extinction if it is allowed to
continue. Important factors in the loss of biodiversity are over-exploitation or over-use, invasive alien species,
pollution, climate change andhabitat degradation. Habitat degradation can refer tothe elimination or reduced
quality of the places where the species live, search for food and reproduce.
1.4 AGRO-ECOSYSTEMS AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS
In agriculture, the links betweenecosystems and humansare particularly obvious. We dependon the ecosystem to
function in a way that it delivers food, and in turn we alter the ecosystem throughour agricultural practices. We
can influence the food production to a large extent, while we also rely on a number of biophysical processes. There
are also climatic and geological preconditions that make farming possible. Alsosocio-economic factors matter in
farming; People require money andskills to succeed. An ecosystem designed and managed by humans to produce
agricultural goods is called an agro-ecosystem. Agricultural goods are food(plants and animals), fodder and forage
for animals, fibre and biofuels. The increasing demand to feed the world’s growing populationhas ledto an
expansion of agricultural land across the globe. While natural land hasbeen turned into agriculture, there has also
been an agricultural intensification which has broughtabout a tremendousincreasein yields. The development of
high-yielding grain varieties, irrigation systems, chemical fertilizers and mechanization has contributed to a massive
increase in agricultural production. But this global development of agriculture has come at the expense of natural
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ecosystems with various levels of ecologicaldegradation, loss of biodiversity and disturbance of natural conditions.
This has happened in many different biomes across the world including; tropical rainforests, savannas, temperate
woodlands, grasslands and wetlands. The functioning of the ecosystem changes fundamentally.
The direct force of ecological degradation is causedby the land-use change that takes place. Theclimate (from local
to global scale) gets affected when, for example, aforest is cleared and carbon stored in trees will be released into
the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Carbondioxide in the atmosphere is the main contributor to global warming
and climate change. The changes inflows of energy and material (ecosystem functions) that come with land-use
change alter the atmospheric circulation and climatesystem. Thehydrological cycle and nutrient balances change
and this can have effects on downstream ecosystems and wetlands as well as local climate and rainfall.
In addition to the effects of land-use change, certain agriculture practices alsohave negative environmental
impacts; Introducing alien species and planting monocultures significantly threatenbiological diversity. Applying
fertilizer (both natural and artificial) can cause eutrophication in surrounding water bodies and wetlands
downstream, all the way to the oceanthrough run-off of nitrogen, phosphorous and organic matter. Heavily
fertilized fields also contribute toemissionof carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Chemical use can affect
biodiversity and eliminate natural species important for pollination (of grain andvegetable crops and natural
plants)or natural pest control.
Agriculture can have a negative effect on biodiversity in several aspects:
Degradation, modification or fragmentationof habitat.
Changes in surrounding water quality and quantity.
Degradedsoils contain less species than rich soils.
Introducedspecies that are non-native can compete with nativespecies.
Application of pesticideskills natural species not only on thefields.
In conclusion, agriculture is a tremendousthreat toour environment, while we are simultaneously ultimately
dependent on agricultural production forour survival. So, should we carry on producing food while there is all this
knowledge about how it destroys our ecosystems? Fortunately, there are plentyof prospects to bothincreasing
food production and economic viability from agricultural land and improving the ecological health of the agro-
ecosystems. There arenumerous agricultural practices that can be introduced to minimize the above listed
negative impacts of agriculture, see Table 1 for an overview:
Table 1. An overview of agricultural practices with positive effects on ecosystems and biodiversity.
Practices and techniques
Effects
Precision techniques
Increase production, optimize fertilizer and water use,through precise
planning of when, what and where to plant.
Landscape consideration
Maintaining water flows and waterquality and increasebiodiversity through
consideration of landscape features, slope and natural vegetation and
wetlands.
Buffer strips
Protect waterbodiesand wetlands from nutrients andorganic material,
reduces sedimentation andpollutions.
Habitat/landscape mosaic
Patches and corridors of forest and natural vegetation maintain movement
of species in the landscape, increases biodiversity.
Field margins
Natural vegetation in field margins provide pollinators and pest predators
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with habitat.
Agroforestry
Planting of certain tree or shrub species near or within crops and pastures
increase yield, nutrients, air quality and food security,while reducing
erosion and the effects of storm and floods. Providesdiversity of crops and
fibre. Also hasimpact on climate change through carbon sequestration.
Poly culture
Crop rotationand intercropping can reduce pests, improvesoil quality,
reduce nutrient depletion and increasefood security.
Conservation agriculture
Minimum soil disturbance, organic soil cover and crop diversification
increase biodiversity and soil quality, reduce erosion and provide food
security.
Zero-tillage
Avoiding disturbance of the soil through conventional tilling, and instead
relying on organic soil cover to maintain soil microorganisms to balance the
soil nutrients and improve soil structure.
Organic farming
Agriculture without synthetic fertilizers, chemical pesticides and genetically
modified organisms reduces harmful pollution to the environment and
water bodies.
2. ECOSYSTEM SERVICES
2.1 WHAT ARE ECOSYSTEM SERVICES?
In the previous section the human dependency of nature was explained. One way to view and study the human
dependency on ecosystems is through the concept of ecosystem services. Ecosystem services refer to the benefits
that humans obtainfrom the ecosystem, or the goods and services that ecosystems deliver to society. Ecosystem
services include food, fodder,building materials, clean air, fresh water, soil nutrients, soil structure,pollination,
pest and disease control, protection from storms, droughtand floods, as well as recreation opportunities, spiritual,
religious and aesthetic appreciation, etc. (MA 2005).
Ecosystem services can be grouped into four categories, referring to the way they are generatedin the ecosystem
and benefitted by humans:
Provisioning services are goods or products, often with a marked price, that we directly depend on: e.g.
crops, livestock, freshwater, materials for clothes, buildings,medicines, and decorations.
Regulating services are benefits thatwe obtain through the regulation of ecosystem functions, or
ecological/biological processes: e.g. air and water purification, climate regulation, nutrient regulation,
erosion and flood control, pollination and pest regulation.
Culturalservices are non-material benefitsthat humans experience and appreciate and are often difficult
or impossible to assign a monetary value: e.g. cultural diversity, spiritual and religious values, education,
aesthetics, recreation, ecotourism and inspiration.
Supporting services are services that are of crucial importance for the generation of other ecosystem
services and often occur over a long time-period: e.g. soil formation, photosynthesis and nutrient cycling.
The classification system mentioned here is one of the most commonly usedways of describing ecosystem services,
but not the only one. Any classification simplifies the very complex relation between nature, its biophysical
components and ecosystem processes, andthe society, howhumans benefit from it, use what comes out of it, and
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manage the provision of services. Other ways of classifying ecosystem services may be relevant for specific
purposes, or scientific disciplines, but the common denominator is the sense that ecosystems deliver benefits to
humans that are crucial for human well-being.. The concept of ecosystem services promotes a holistic andinclusive
assessment of a landscape or a region which takes multiple aspects into account. For example, an agricultural
landscape is viewedas a unit, which if managed well produces much more than just agricultural goods, but also
provides society with environmental and climatic benefits aswell as opportunities for recreation, aesthetic
appreciation, spiritual or ritual enrichment and cultural diversity.
Ecosystem services are generated by ecosystemsdirectly or indirectly through ecosystem functioning. In some
sense ecosystem services are the same as ecosystem functioning with the added aspect that they are utilized or
appreciated by humans. An ecosystem function can take place evenwhen ahuman is not benefitting from it per se,
and only becomes an ecosystem service when identified as a benefit by humans. However, there is often not a
clear distinction between the benefit and the function. Therefore it is necessary to define and identify ecosystem
services for specific situations; be it a scientific program, a development projector regional landscape planning.
Beneficiaries’ needs and preferences are central. An ecosystem service may be widely used and appreciated in one
place, by one group of people, while it is viewed upon as something undesirable by another groupand/or at
another place. For example, a rabbit may be considered a pleasant part of wildlife enjoyed for viewing or hunting,
while it may be seen as a pest destroying crops elsewhere.
2.2 ECOSYSTEM SERVICES AND BIODIVERSTIY
Biodiversity is crucial for the generation of ecosystem services in similar ways as it is crucial to the maintenance of
ecosystem functionsas described inthe previoussection. The links between biodiversity, ecosystem functions and
ecosystem services can be seen as follows:
Biodiversity → ecosystem functioning → ecosystem services
This is a simplified way of saying that ecosystem services are dependenton ecosystem functioning which in turn is
underpinned by biodiversity. Because the links betweenbiodiversity an ecosystem services are so evident, it is
useful to include biodiversity in ecosystem services assessments.
2.3 ECOSYSTEM SERVICES, HUMAN-WELL BEING AND POVERTY
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA 2005) assessed the state of the world’s ecosystems and their ability to
provide humans with the necessaryecosystem services. It has been established that there has been a long-term
degradationof ecosystems across the globe, and the ecosystem services generation has decreased. Evidence shows
that degradation of ecosystem services oftenleads to substantial harm to human well-being. This is particularly
obvious when an ecosystem service is scarce and the demand of the particular service is high. In such case even a
slight decrease in a service may havesevere consequences to humans. Human well-being is intimately linked to the
provision of ecosystem services in several ways. Food production alone is an ecosystem service that greatly
contributes to the global economy, employment and of course health and food security. Much of the global
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industry relies on provisionof services such as timber, biofuel, marine fisheries and aquaculture, medicinal plants
and wild foods (plants and animals).
2.4 SOCIAL-ECOLOGICAL SYSTEMS
Since humans today are sointerlinkedwith ecosystems, and there are almost no ecosystems on the planet thatare
not influencedby the presence of the human society, it is useful to use the term social-ecological system. Even
ecosystemsthat aregeographically very remote from people are affected by human activities through the climate
alterations and atmospheric pollution caused by humans. A social-ecological system includes ecosystems, the
society and the economy. See figure 2 for an overview of the linkages between ecosystem services, biodiversity and
human well-being etc, within the social-ecological system.
FIGURE 2. Schematic describing the links between biodiversity, ecosystem functioning, ecosystem services and human wellbeing; the
components of a social-ecological system.
2.5 ECOSYSTEM SERVICES IN AGRICULTURE
The primary ecosystem services obtained through agriculture are undoubtedly the agricultural products, the
provisioning ecosystem services. Agriculture uses and alter all components of the ecosystem such asair, soil,water,
biodiversity,as well as human and monetary resources.
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What services farmers depend on, what are the dis-services, how can servicesimprove through practices?
Synergies. Mutual benefits between farmers andnature. More to be written in this section. Figure 3.
Figure 3. Ecosystem services in agriculture. The ecological components water, soil, air and biodiversity. Each component and their interfaces
involve associated ecosystem services which can be enhanced or decreased by agricultural practices. From FAO 2011.
3. PAYMENT FOR ECOSYSTEM SERVICES (PES)
3.1 WHAT IS PES?
Ecosystem services are public goods. There is no ownership attached to ecosystem services, which can lead to lack
of interest by the public to preserve or maintain them. Payment schemes for placing ecosystem services into the
market have been developed in numerous places across the globe. Payment for ecosystem services (PES) is a way
to encourage maintenance and/or restoration of ecosystems to increase the provision of certain ecosystem
services. PES can be used toreverse ecosystem degradation while simultaneously increasing livelihoods, food
security, uplift communities from poverty and increase human well-being (Payments for Ecosystem Services and
Food Security 2011, Payments for Ecosystem Services: Getting started 2008).
A PES scheme includes five components according to a well-accepted definition by Wunder (2005):
A voluntary transaction, in which
a well-definedecosystem service (ES) or a land-use likely to secure that service,
is bought by at least one ES buyer
from at least one ES provider
under the conditions that if, and only if, the ES providercontinuously secures the ES provision.
In order to run a successful PES programcertain aspects have to be inplace. These aspects can be summarized in
six points:
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1.The demandfor an ecosystem service has to be clear and financially valuable to one or more buyers. The
buyer(s) must see an incentive to investin the maintenance of the service and hasto have the financial
strength to pay for it.
2.The supply of the service hasto be threatened but with potential,through certain identified management
practises, to restore and secure the supply.
3.A trusted intermediary is available to assist both parties. The roles of the intermediary are to assistwith
documentationand communication, identifying management practices, monitoring and verification etc.
4.Land tenure and resource user rights have to be clear and enforced.
5.There has to be cross-sectorial coherence between existing policies and laws and the PES requirements.
6.Criteria to for evaluating equitable outcomes for all parties have to be in place. ThePES design hasto
secure fairness and transparency.
The market in which a PES program is designedcan vary. There can be a public payment scheme for private land
owners in which a government agency or public institution carries out paymentsto landowners and/or managers.
The market may be formal, with open trading between buyers and sellers. A formal market can be either
regulatory,where legislations are made for an ecosystem service such asthe global carbon market established
through the Kyoto protocol, or voluntary, through for example good-will where companies aim to reduce their
environmental footprint by trading in carbon sequestering activities. Lastly, the market can be self-organized and
private, where for example private companies or conservationists pay land-owners or land-users to change
management practices to improve the quality of one or more services.
The ecosystem services commonly included in PES programs are water quality, water flow regulation, water
purification, sedimentation reduction, erosion regulation, carbon sequestration, biodiversity conservation, and
landscape values. Although PES programmes often have one focusservice,the management practices identified
and used also enhance a multitude of other services and bring additional benefits forbuyers, producers and the
public as a whole.
Figure 4. SCHEMATICS OF PES: Money+ buyer+ seller+ intermediary +ecosystem service+management practice+benefits
PES has the potential to bridge the three dimensions of sustainability:economic resilience, environmental
integrity and social development. However, the multiple dimensions, the involvementof several parties, inclusion
of legalities, transactions of money, trading with nature etc. opens up for challenges. A PES program is a complex
multidimensional concept thathas to be dealt with accordingly.Several hundreds of PES schemes havebeen
implemented globally over almost 20 years. The schemes have been evaluated across the multiple dimensions and
together contribute to valuable lessons-learnt for future PES schemes. There are several potential pit-falls in the
implementation and success-rate of PES that should be carefully considered. Spatially-explicit cost-benefit analysis
helps to identify areas suitable for a PES scheme. Where areareas with high ecosystem services provision? Where
are areas with high threat to ecosystem services? Where are areas with low opportunity costs for managing
ecosystem services? Social, cultural and motivational drivers may be a challenge and should be tackled in order to
kick off the PES within strong social cohesion and community collaboration. Although there are plentiful risks and
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challenges associated withPES, if prepared and planned in detail and with caution it can provide valuable
opportunitiesfor land owners and land managers. In the next session we exemplify PES in an agricultural context,
by highlighting the benefitsby certain agricultural practices and how PES have been used to improve environmental
conditions and human well-being.
4. PAYMENT FOR ECOSYSTEM SERVICES AND AGRICULTURE
4.1 PES IN AGRICULTURE
PES programs are usually not designed as agricultural programs, although theyoften occur atagricultural lands, in
agricultural landscapes and regions and involve farmers and agricultural communities, becauseof the significant
impact agricultural activities have on the ecosystems and surrounding landscape. Agricultural practices, sometimes
involving several adjacent landowners, are often critical in managing ecosystem services. Mainly soil erosion
regulation,landscape aesthetics, carbon sequestration and biodiversity conservation are found in agriculture
related PES schemes:
Many of the PES schemes in developing countriesare focused on soilerosion regulation. Soil conservation
can involve planting trees in marginal and sloping lands and controlling livestock grazing in natural lands,
bench terraces, sediment pits and drainage ditches, and conservation of remaining forests, natural
vegetation patches and stretches.
Other PES schemes focus onlandscape beauty to attract agri-tourism. The agricultural activitiespromoted
through PES enhance the aesthetic and historical appearance of distinct traditional landscape features
such as stonewalls, ponds, semi-natural habitats, orchards, hedges, cultivate meadows and hedges, tree
lines, flower meadows, cultivationof specific crops etc.
Carbon sequestration is an ecosystem service also suitable for PES schemes within the agricultural
context, sometimeseven with the possibility to trade in the voluntary global carbon market (carbon off-
sets). Carbon sequestration can be enhanced in agriculture in the soil, in perennial plants and through
reduction in greenhouse gasemission (carbon andmethane). Agroforestry where crop land and/or
grazing land is integrated with trees and forests is a common practice inPES schemes aiming to enhance
carbon sequestration. Carbon sequestration in soil is enabled through activities such as conservation
tillage, maintenance of carbon-rich organic matter, improved grassland management and controlled
grazing.
Biodiversity conservation in PES schemes often mean protecting patches of native habitats, maintenance
of soil species and providing connectivity opportunities for wildlife. Synergies are often found in
biodiversity enhancing activities as they may also reduce soil erosion, enhance carbon sequestration
increase landscape aesthetics.
Although traditionally, existing PES schemes focus on a single ecosystem service, there is great potential in rural
areas in developing countries to explore a new generation of PES where a multitude of services are included. The
PES parties will agree on abundle of ecosystem services simultaneously enhanced through a number of
management practices, while also increasing food security and povertyalleviation.
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4.2 POTENTIAL FOR PES IN SMALLHOLDER AGRICULTURE
Smallholder resource-poor agriculture has been highlighted to particularly benefit from PES programmes.
Considering the challenges that has been experienced and documentedin the PES projects so far, FAO has
recommended four aspects that should be considered when setting up a PES project in agriculture for food security
(Payments for Ecosystem Services and Food security 2011):
1.A PES programme should be driven by a strong participatory approach
2.According to a collective vision,a PES programme should be implemented at community level
3.A model of production based on the ecological carrying capacity of agro-ecosystems should be promoted
4.A well-established bundleof ecosystem services should be agreed on including indicators for monitoring
the success
4.3 PES AND CONSERVATION AGRICULTURE
The three principles of Conservation Agriculture (CA) (minimum soil disturbance, organic soil cover and crop
diversification), has the potential to simultaneously enhance a range of ecosystem services and biodiversity, as well
as promote social and economic development. The benefits of CA goes beyond individual farmers and can
positively affect the society as a whole. The benefits of CApractices are completely aligned with the objectives of
PES, which makes CAsuitable to be included in a PES program. The known and well documented benefits of CA are
here described aseither ecosystem services or as socio-economic benefits.
Ecosystem services and biodiversity enhanced through Conservation Agriculture:
Crop production. Increasedyields.
Crop diversity. Crop rotation and/or intercropping.
Livestock production. Grazing of livestockof crop residues and cover crops.
Biodiversity. Soil macro- and microorganisms, main crops, cover crops, surrounding natural vegetation.
Climate regulation. Building up organic carbon in the soil, either inreactive forms or as humus.Reduces
carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Reduced greenhouse gas emissions through removed/reduced
ploughing. Less artificial fertilizer use.
Nutrient cycling.C, N, and P cycling are increased.
Soil fertility. Soil organic matter/soil organic carbon increase, nutrients available to plants.
Water flowregulation.Increased infiltration, reducedsurface run-off.
Soil erosion reduction.Soil loss and SOC loss is reduced.
Water provision. Enhanced groundwater resources.
Socio-economic benefits obtained through Conservation Agriculture:
Food security. Increased yields and diversification of crops.
Cash income. Opportunities to sell parts of the harvest.
Reduced input costs. Fuel costs and/or costs for rental of tractors.
Social organisation. Micro-financesystems, marketing, labour-sharing, local food systems.
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Ecosystem services are often connected in the sense that they may have synergistic or competitive effects on one
another. For example, when you increasethe soil quality it will have synergistic effects on water flowregulation
through increasing the infiltration and reduces surface run-off. In other cases, for example withsome conventional
agricultural methodsother services such as nutrient cycling and biodiversity will be out-competed by monoculture
crop production. Conservation agriculture enhance multiple ecosystem services while also increasing the yield.
4.4 CRITERIA AND INDICATORS
One of the key aspect to a functioning PES program is the identification, monitoring and documentation of
indicators. While the benefits on the environment and human well-being are well established for farmers involved
in conservation agriculture, there are still much research remaining to develop indicators for the measurements of
the positive effects. Ideally, a PES program should include indicators which the farmers themselvescan measure
and document. These indictors should however be scientifically established and work for the specific area, as it may
differ between regions. In table 2 we list ecosystem services and indicators that could be relevantto measure the
outcomes of shifting to conservation agriculture.
Table 2. List of ecosystem services and socio-economic benefits and indicators.
ECOSYSTEM SERVICES
AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC
BENEFITS
VISUAL INDICATORS
Crop production
% germination, growth, weeds, pests
Crop diversity
Number of crops per season
Livestock production
Weeks of grazing from residues and cover crops
Biodiversity
Soil macro organisms, earthworms, crop
diversity
Soil fertility incl. nutrient
cycling
Soil depth, % ground cover, canopy cover
Soil quality and health
Soil aggregate stability, colour, mottling,
porosity, earthworms, soil temperature
Water flow regulation
Soil depth, run-off
Food security
Local perception
Cash income
Reducing input
Social organization
labour-sharing, voluntary associations
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4.5 A POTENTIAL PES SCENARIO
Here we explore a scenarioof a potential PES programme with smallholder agriculture in South Africa and Lesotho,
using the components of Wunder (2005)
A PES programme would include:
a well-definedecosystem service and socio-economic development bundle: food security, biodiversity,
soil and water improvements, cash income and social organization.
is bought by aportfolio of donors and investors interested in rural development and environmental
protection, such as governmental and provincial departments, private actors, e.g. Ezemvelo, WWF, FAO,
Department of Agriculture, international organisations and private good-willers. Funding for the
intermediatepartners(Mahlathini Development Foundation, Growing Nations) for monitoring and
capacity building,cross-site learning events, and year to year payment for farmers for documented
success.
from at least one ES provider: Thefarmers. Voluntary associations. Farmers payed individually so there is
no collective punishmentfor thosenot fulfilling the requirement. Partnership in terms of membership,
learning groups, saving groups.
under the conditions that if, and only if, the ES provider continuously secures the ES provision. Programme
for activities, monitoring, indicators, criteria, control programme developed by the intermediate partners
in associationwith donors.
5.REFERENCES
Ecosystem Services and the Environment. 2015. Science for Environment Policy. In-depth Report 11 produced for
the European Commission, DG Environment by the Science Communication Unit,UWE, Bristol. UK
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA). 2005. Ecosystems and human well-being: desertification synthesis. World
Resources Institute, WashingtonD.C., USA.
Payment for Ecosystem Services: Getting started. 2008. Forest Trends, The Katoomba Group, and UNEP. Nairobi,
Kenya.
Payment for Ecosystem services andfood security. 2011. The Food and Agriculture Organizationof the United
Nation (FAO), Rome, Italy.
Walker, B., D. Salt, and W. Reid (eds.). 2006. Resilience Thinking. Island Press. Washington DC, USA.
Wunder, S. 2005. Payment for environmental services: Some rules and bolts. Centre for International Forestry
Research (CIFOR). Jakarta, Indonesia.