Payments for Environmental Services (PES) are praised as innovative policy instruments and they influence the governance of forest restoration efforts in two major ways. The first is the establishment of multi-stakeholder agencies as intermediary bodies between funders and planters to manage the funds and to distribute incentives to planters. The second implication is that specific contracts assign objectives to land users in the form of conditions for payments that are believed to increase the chances for sustained impacts on the ground. These implications are important in the assessment of the potential of PES to operate as new and effective funding schemes for forest restoration. They are analyzed by looking at two prominent payments for watershed service programs in IndonesiaCidanau (Banten province in Java) and West Lombok (Eastern Indonesia)with combined economic and political science approaches. We derive lessons for the governance of funding efforts (e.g., multi-stakeholder agencies are not a guarantee of success; mixed results are obtained from a reliance on mandatory funding with ad hoc regulations, as opposed to voluntary contributions by the service beneficiary) and for the governance of financial expenditure (e.g., absolute need for evaluation procedures for the internal governance of farmer groups). Furthermore, we observe that these governance features provide no guarantee that restoration plots with the highest relevance for ecosystem services are targeted by the PES.