Taking Stock: Payments for Forest Ecosystem Services in the United States

Author(s): D. Evan Mercer, David Cooley, and Katherine Hamilton

Published: February 2011

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Publication Type: Journal Article

This report compiles data on a wide range of payments for forest-based ecosystem services, including government conservation incentive programs, voluntary markets and compliance-driven ecosystem service markets such as wetland mitigation credits. According to the report, U.S. forest land owners received more than $1.9 billion dollars in payments for ecosystem services (PES). Furthermore, the report states that because of the lack of data for some markets and payments, this figure is likely a low-end estimate. In addition, more than 80 precent of all forest-based PES money in the U.S. came from non-governmental sources, including payments for wetland mitigation, hunting leases, conservation easements and carbon offsets. The remaining 20 percent came from government incentive programs such as the Conservation Reserve Program or the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.