Journal of Resources and Ecology ›› 2010, Vol. 1 ›› Issue (4): 319-.DOI: 10.3969/j.issn.1674-764x.2010.04.004

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Payments for Grassland Ecosystem Services: A Comparison of Two Examples in China and Germany

Sandra UTHES1, LI Fen2, ZHEN Lin3 * and  CAO Xiaochang3,4   

  1. 1 Leibniz-Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Eberswalder Strasse 84, 15374 Müncheberg, Germany;
    2 Beijing R&D Centre, Shenzhen Institute of Building Research Co. Ltd., Beijing 100044, China;
    3 Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    4 Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2010-11-02 Revised:2010-11-28 Online:2010-12-30 Published:2010-12-30
  • Contact: ZHEN Lin

Abstract: The degradation of grass-dominated ecosystems and grassland abandonment have become widely spread phenomena across the world. Payments for environmental services (PES) are seen as an innovative approach to stop these trends by making payments to land users in return for adopting practices that secure ecosystem conservation and restoration. Designing efficient PES requires that possible challenges are effectively managed, such as the lack in linearity and immediacy of environmental effects, unexpected monitoring and enforcement costs and possible socio-economic objectives (adequate compensation, equity). The aim of this article is to compare government-financed PES for grassland ecosystem services in two contrasting regions (Xilingol League, China and Brandenburg, Germany) in order to facilitate knowledge exchange on PES design and implementation and the transfer of best practices. Our particular interest is in how different PES mechanisms work, which actors are involved and what characterizes success and failure cases. The comparison shows that both PES programs are not very effective in providing environmental services due to lack of participation of affected farmers (both regions), insufficient monitoring and control (Xilingol) and inappropriate management prescriptions (Brandenburg), which should be improved in future programs.

Key words: grassland ecosystem services;, payments for environmental services;, eco-compensation;, land degradation, agri-environmental measures