This article was originally published on Asian Development Bank.


…The most successful of these payment for ecosystem services schemes in Brazil is the Bolsa Floresta program. Initiated in 2007, Bolsa Floresta is widely considered as the biggest payment for ecosystem services program in the world. The program rewards families living in protected areas who agree to support traditional environmental services provided by tropical forests and commit to zero deforestation.

The program is divided into four interconnected components:

  • Bolsa Floresta Income aims to improve the economic development of communities living near protected areas by giving them annual investments to support income-generating activities which are in line with the program’s management plan. Examples of such as sustainable eco-tourism, aquaculture, small-livestock breeding, and natural honey production.
  • Bolsa Floresta Social aims to improve the quality of life of local communities, investing in social infrastructure such as education, health, communication and transportation. This is done in collaboration with public sector institutions.
  • Bolsa Floresta Association aims to empower local communities by supporting associations for the residents in order to strengthen the organization and social control of the Program.
  • Bolsa Floresta Family is a cash component that gives monthly rewards to the female representative of households that have formally committed to uphold forest management practices, including zero deforestation.

The program’s underlying strategy is to make standing forests more valuable than if they were cut. This means redirecting economic activities away from environmentally destructive activities such as logging. In order to do so, people in beneficiary communities need to educated on how to manage forest ecosystems more wisely so they can shift to land use practices that are more sustainable…”

Read on at: Asian Development Bank.