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Leveraging Payments for Ecosystem Services: Poplar River First Nation leads the way with innovative conservation

As the steward of its traditional territory for generations, Poplar River First Nation (PRFN) has an immense opportunity to undertake and lead on nature-based and land-management projects.

The community wants to maximize the potential of nature-based solutions to support climate and biodiversity co-benefits and create positive socioeconomic outcomes for both PRFN and Manitobans more generally. PRFN's successes could spur the adoption of nature-based solutions and innovative conservation efforts by other communities, including the 70% of Indigenous communities in Canada that are located in the boreal forest.

PRFN has been working for years on management planning for its traditional territory. A critical next step is for the community to develop third-party partnerships to pursue payments for ecosystem services (PES). Through PES, PRFN's forest management strategies can better contribute to community and regional socioeconomic and environmental well-being.

Entering into a PES agreement with potential funders is a way to ensure financial sustainability to support the community through socioeconomic and environmental stewardship. To illustrate how such an agreement might look, this study provides a working draft of a possible PES agreement between PRFN and a buyer of the goods and services. This agreement is drawn from several established national and international examples of PES agreement frameworks, and its main point of reference is the guidance documents from the Katoomba Group, an international working group dedicated to advancing payments for ecosystem services including watershed protection, biodiversity habitat and carbon sequestration.

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