Toward more equitable ecosystem investment programs—Adaptation and equity are central to the design and functioning of successful water funds

Ecosystem Services, Leah Bremer, Payments for Ecosystem Services, Environment, Publications

Abstract: Projects designed to incentivize ecosystem management for societal benefits are becoming increasingly popular and are often touted as win–win solutions for social and environmental challenges. Yet, there are important concerns about the equity and justice implications of these programs, and there is strong evidence that a lack of attention to justice can exacerbate or create inequities. We focus on water funds, a subset of watershed ecosystem investment programs that are being scaled globally. We specifically discuss how three long-standing Andean programs have shifted through time toward a greater focus on equity and justice. We argue that these shifts, while imperfect, have been critical to their durability and that, more generally, continued alignment of nature-based investment programs with broader equity and justice concerns is essential for long-term durability and success.


Bremer, Leah L., Kate A. Brauman, and Marta Echavarría. “Toward more equitable ecosystem investment programs—Adaptation and equity are central to the design and functioning of successful water funds.” Conservation Letters (2023): e12974.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization (UHERO) welcomes online comments to stories that are posted on our website or social media pages. Comments are intended to be a forum for open, respectful, and family-friendly discussion. UHERO reserves the right to remove anything posted on our website or social media pages that is deemed inappropriate. All comments are moderated and will therefore have a delayed post time.
Some guidelines (not an exhaustive list) we use when moderating/approving comments include:

  • Do not bully, intimidate, or harass any user.
  • Do not post content that is hateful, threatening or wildly off-topic; or do anything unlawful, malicious, discriminatory or defamatory.
  • Observe confidentiality laws at all times.
  • Do not post spam or advertisements.
  • Observe fair use, copyright and disclosure laws.
  • Do not use vulgar language or profanity.

UHERO may amend this policy from time to time.