This synthesis report presents highlights from six projects which are part of the joint Hivos-IIED PES Learning Trajectory Programme in five countries – Guatemala, Indonesia, Kenya, Nicaragua and Peru – that are exploring the use of carbon projects in smallholder farming. Through this research IIED and Hivos explore the feasibility of payments for ecosystem services (PES) as incentives to promote a shift to sustainable smallholder agriculture. Results from this research are published in the Payments for Ecosystem Services in Smallholder Agriculture series. ~~We focus on practical learning from existing smallholder and community PES projects linked to energy and agroforestry activities. Working with local partners and project practitioners, we analyse the opportunities, challenges, strategies and potential ‘no-go’ areas in a pre-selected group of smallholder projects and analyse them within the global context of wider learning on what works and what does not in PES. Based directly on lessons drawn from our partner studies, we adapt the LINK methodology tools developed by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), to understand if and how PES and carbon approaches can help smallholders successfully enter and benefit from existing markets.