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Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 665; doi:10.3390/su10030665

Can Payments for Ecosystem Services Improve the Management of Natura 2000 Sites? A Contribution to Explore Their Role in Italy

Department of Biosciences and Territory, University of Molise, 86100 Pesche, Italy
Department Architecture and design, Sapienza University, P.le Aldo Moro, 5, 00185 Roma, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 9 November 2017 / Revised: 23 February 2018 / Accepted: 26 February 2018 / Published: 1 March 2018
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Financing protected areas is crucial for guaranteeing the flow of ecosystem services (ES) provided by natural and semi-natural ecosystems, which are the basis of human well-being. In the last two decades, together with traditional conservation tools, innovative instruments, such as PES (Payment for Ecosystem Services), have been proposed and implemented all over the world in order to improve management effectiveness in biodiversity conservation. In this paper we identified and categorized 33 PES case studies in 19 Natura 2000 sites developing the hypothesis that a PES approach may contribute to improving the effectiveness of conservation actions at different spatial and administrative levels. We found that in these areas, farmers and foresters often allow the maintenance of natural and semi-natural ecosystems through their economic activity. Through PES schemes their important role can be formally acknowledged, both in environmental and economic terms. PES schemes are also a tool for involving more stakeholders, particularly local companies, residents and tourists in conservation actions. So PES can actually improve Natura 2000 sites’ management and increase the availability of financial resources in favor of conservation actions. However, careful attention must to be paid to the supporting role of public authorities, generally crucial for the success of a PES. View Full-Text
Keywords: PES; biodiversity; conservation; Natura 2000; Italy; management effectiveness PES; biodiversity; conservation; Natura 2000; Italy; management effectiveness

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Marino, D.; Pellegrino, D. Can Payments for Ecosystem Services Improve the Management of Natura 2000 Sites? A Contribution to Explore Their Role in Italy. Sustainability 2018, 10, 665.

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