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Protecting The City’s Water: Designing A Payment for Ecosystem Services (Pes) Program for The Santa Fe Municipal Watershed

Ecosystem services are the conditions and processes through which natural ecosystems supply benefits to people and communities. Typically, these benefits are not included in conventional markets and are thus unpaid for by recipients. Over the last decade, research has demonstrated that healthy forested watersheds provide numerous economically important services to society. Municipalities, water districts, and other agencies are now aligning economic forces with conservation in ways that explicitly link human and environmental wellbeing (Daily and Matson 2008). Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) programs have gained importance worldwide as a new source of income for land acquisition, restoration and conservation activities. These programs provide clear economic incentives for environmental stewardship by landowners and promote greater awareness among consumers of the valuable services provided by ecosystems. As such, PES programs are one method of achieving watershed protection above and beyond what can be accomplished by regulations alone.

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