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Special Collection

Rewarding the upland poor for saving the commons? Evidence from Southeast Asia

Collection launched: 24 Nov 2020
The Southeast Asian uplands provide livelihood opportunities for more than 100 million people. Many of these are poor smallholder farmers who are economically, socially and politically marginalized, suffer from tenure insecurity and have few options other than drawing on the uplands’ natural resources to sustain their living. Sustainable resource management practices, such as community forestry, paddy rice terracing, and in-situ conservation of plant and animal genetic resources through local ecological knowledge, have generated a range of valuable environmental services (or ‘positive externalities’) that have remained often unnoticed and largely unrewarded by downstream dwellers, urban citizens, national governments, and international donors. Can payments for environmental services (PES) be used to reward poor smallholder farmers in the Southeast Asian upland poor for saving the commons?