Paying farmers for environmental services

    | June 30, 2014

    Download this story

    This week’s story from Kenya talks about a community that is undertaking certain activities in exchange for receiving carbon credits. The activities include tree planting, beekeeping, and fish farming. This project is one example of paying farmers to provide environmental services which benefit the community. Indeed, by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, these activities benefit the whole world.

    In 2009, FRI published a script on paying farmers for environmental services. The script reported on a project in Malawi operated by a variety of international organizations and the government of Malawi. The project trained farmers to grow trees in order to store carbon. The trees benefited farmers directly by providing timber and firewood, but only after they had matured in a number of years. Until the trees matured, the project paid farmers for the use of their land and for properly managing the trees. The amount of the first payment depended on the numbers of trees a farmer planted, while subsequent payments depended on the number of surviving trees.

    Tree planting is a long-term project, and the benefits often take years to become apparent. A forest produces more than just wood: what does your community think?