Best Practices for Implementing Payment for Ecosystem Service Programs for Watershed Wildfire Protection

Date of Award


Document Type

Capstone Project


Environmental Policy & Mgmt

Degree Name

Master of Applied Science


Environmental Policy & Mgmt


Jerry Barker


Wildfire; Prescribed fire; Watershed; Watershed wildfire protection; Hazard fuels; Fuels reduction treatments; Payment for ecosystem services; PES; Best management practices


Aggressive fire-suppression policies in the 20th century, as well as the effects of climate change, have resulted in severe wildfires that increasingly pose risks to municipal watersheds and the ecosystem services that they provide. The fuels treatments that can mitigate these risks are often underfunded, and consequently, many communities are seeking alternative mechanisms to fund these treatments. Watershed payment for ecosystem service (PES) programs are among these mechanisms. Drawing on relevant literature and on interview results with ten stakeholders in six fire-related watershed PES programs, this capstone examines how PES programs are designed and implemented. In addition, this capstone presents a set of best management practices for stakeholders interested in developing and implementing PES programs for watershed wildfire protection.

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