Paying for the Environmental Services of Silvopastoral Practices in Nicaragua

Paying for the Environmental Services of Silvopastoral Practices in Nicaragua


The Regional Integrated Silvopastoral Ecosystem Management Project uses funds from the Global Environmental Facility(GEF) in piloting the use of payment for ecosystem services to encourage adoption of silvopastoral practices in Nicaragua, Colombia, and Costa Rica. This paper presents the results of the project implemented in Nicaragua.

Conclusions & Takeaways

Silvopastoral practices include: integration of fodder shrubs and grasses, leguminous herbs, and trees, using live fencing, and creating fodder banks for livestock. Benefits of silvopasture practices include: promoting diverse wildlife, providing food to birds, create biological corridors, sequester carbon (13-15 tons per hectare per year),decrease erosion and hydrologic runoff. Inhibitors of practicing silvopasture can be cost. Planting high density trees on pasture can cost up to $400/ha, and fodder banks from $170-$300,ha. Before the project 63% of the Matiguas-Rio Blanco project site was in conventional pasture, half of which was degraded pasture with no tree cover. PES provided to farmers are based on net increase of ESI over the course of 4 years, with the hypothesis that the most difficult part of getting farmers to integrate silvopastoral practices would be the initilal conversion. Degraded pasture decreased by 68%, annual crops by 52%. Pasture with low tree density increased by 19% and high tree density by 23%. Fodder banks doubled and live fences increased by 160%. Interestingly much of the land use change was executed by the poorer farmer participants in the project.



Pagiola S, Ramírez E, Gobbi J, et al. Paying for the environmental services of silvopastoral practices in Nicaragua. Ecological Economics. 2007;64:374–385. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2007.04.014.


  • World Bank, Washington DC, USA
  • Nitlapan, Universidad Centro Americana, Managua, Nicaragua
  • CATIE, 7170-CATIE, Turrialba, Costa Rica
  • Fundación CIPAV, Cali, Colombia