Incentive mechanisms for ecosystem protection on private lands - This study has the objective to bring to the fore the importance of appropriate incentive schemes for the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems on private lands. The analysis describes the effectiveness of the regulations implemented in advanced countries. In particular, first the study presents some examples and discusses the implications of the actual legislation in developed countries for the protection of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Then, the study analyses the legal doctrine regarding compensation, and the available economic instruments for ecosystem services protection. Finally, the study presents the best economic tools capable to align private behavior with the social goals of protecting the services offered by the ecosystems and favoring the participation of private owners to projects for sustainable production and conservation. Special attention is paid to the institution of Community Foundations using as models those implemented in the United States. JEL: Q57, Q58 Key words: biodiversity, conservation, ecosystems, community foundations, economic incentives, private lands.