The past few decades have seen the rise of global incentive programs offering payments to landowners to help reduce tropical deforestation. Until now, assessments of these programs have largely overlooked decreases in forest diversity. In what might be a first of its kind study, University of Missouri researchers have integrated forest imaging with field-level inventories and landowner surveys to assess the impact of conservation payments in Ecuador’s Amazon Basin forests. They found that conservation payment programs are making a difference in the diversity of tree species in protected spaces. Further, the species being protected are twice as likely to be of commercial timber value and at risk of extinction.