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Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions
February 2012

Stacking Ecosystem Services Payments: Risks and Solutions

Stacking Ecosystem Services Payments: Risks and Solutions

Healthy ecosystems provide many services to society, including water filtration, biodiversity habitat protection, and carbon sequestration. A number of incentive programs and markets have arisen to pay landowners for these services, raising questions about how landowners can receive multiple payments for the ecosystem services they provide from the same parcel, a practice known as stacking. Stacking can provide multiple revenue streams for landowners and encourage them to manage their lands for multiple ecosystem services. However, if not well-managed, it may also lead to a net loss of services.