This paper conceptualizes the REDD+ policy framework as the world's largest experiment in Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES). REDD+ promotes the commodification of ecosystems' carbon storage and sequestration functions on a global scale and it is consistent with market-based conservation approaches and the 'neoliberalization of nature'. REDD+ is therefore problematized on the grounds that, first, eases a transition from an ethically informed conservation ethos to a utilitarian one that simplifies nature and undermines socio-ecological resilience; second, relies on a single valuation language that may crowd-out conservation motivations in the short and long term; and, last, is sustained on a 'multiple-win' discourse that in practice lacks procedural legitimacy in many developing countries and reproduces existing inequities and forms of social exclusion. The argument is developed drawing on PES literature and insights from critical theorists and practitioners of nature conservation. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.