In distinguishing between providers and beneficiaries of ecosystem services (ES), one of the key contributions of the ES framework has been the acknowledgement that the benefits of ecosystems go beyond their physical boundaries. Providers of ES are normally the stewards of the resource base. Beneficiaries are agents whose economic performance or livelihoods are affected by those services (which often are appropriated ‘free of charge’). Providers and beneficiaries normally belong to different social groups, but their welfares are interconnected through ES, the provision of which depends on decisions taken by multiple agents. The possibilities of coordination between these two groups (to align their interests) are very much conditioned by the allocation of rights and the types of ES (how they are produced, provided and consumed).