INVALUABLE overall objective was to clarify the potential of market-based instruments (MBIs), especially payments for ecosystem services (PES) and biodiversity offsets (BO) to better integrate biodiversity & ecosystem services (B&ES) into public policies, based on appropriate institutional arrangements.

Cloud 2 (8)The project was structured in three packages (see at the end of this page) :

  1. Market-based instruments: theory and discourses (Work Package 1)
  2. Impacts: payments for ecosystem services & biodiversity offsets (Work Package 2)
  3. Science-Policy Interface: knowledge integration (Work Package 3)

To reach such an ambitious objective, the following, complementary, sub-objectives were stated:

  • Conducting an historical account of the concept of MBIs for B&ES, including payments for ecosystem services (PES) and biodiversity offsets (BO), with a focus on institutions, epistemic communities, social networks and individuals that have played a key role in their development or have opposed them
  • Elaborating a comprehensive conceptual framework to define MBIs for B&ES, their theoretical characteristics, strengths and weaknesses, and identify their scope of application
  • Investigating empirical impacts of PES and BO at the local level: a) changes in governance structures and in the role of stakeholders; b) level achieved of environmental efficiency, social equity, legitimacy, and poverty alleviation; c) modifications in agents’ motivations for conservation
  • Providing an overview of existing science-policy interface (SPI) bodies in the particular field of MBIs for B&ES  at various scales (global, national, local), and assessing their effectiveness through case studies
  • Analysing legislations which support better design and implementation of MBIs in conservation policies, in particular through the use of economic valuation
  • Applying, and studying the impacts of, an innovative participatory modelling tool (‘Quick Scan’) to explore scenarios of integrating MBIs in public policy


After three and half years of activity, INVALUABLE results on PES and BO have contributed to allow researchers, decision-makers as well as practitioners to better grasp and clarify the very concept of market-based instruments, and the latter’s potential advantages and limits for biodiversity and ecosystem services conservation. Hopefully in the future, this will help to better design and implement fair and efficient conservation policies at the international, national and local levels.

Look for more details in the INVALUABLE Project’s Leaflet: INVALUABLE Project brochure Apr 14