This paper attempts to elucidate the current challenges to the implementation of Costa Rica’s Payments for Environmental Services (PES) for agroforestry. By interviewing important stakeholders in program implementation, the study found differing visions and priorities for agroforestry development in the country. PES for agroforestry was viewed by the government as a tool to increase the accessibility of PES to smallholders, as well as to generate forest cover in agricultural lands. However, agroforestry experts from the academia and private NGOs critizised the scheme for its narrow focus on increasing tree cover and minimal regard on the quality of agroforestry farms. In theory the main goal of PES is to ensure the sustainable provision of environmental services, but it has been argued that increasing tree cover alone does not necessarily guarantee service provision. To improve the situation a quantification of the services provided is needed, in order to implement a performance-based payment scheme. This would not only ensure that the program meets its goal of sustaining the environmental services provided by forests but will also satisfy the various concerns of multiple stakeholders.
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