Incentivising landowners to supply ecosystem services remains challenging, especially when this requires long-term investments such as reforestation. We investigated how landowners perceive, and would respond to, different types of incentives for planting diverse native trees on private lands in Lebanon. Mixed-methods surveys were conducted with 34 landowners from mountainous villages to determine past, present and future land-use strategies. Our aim was to understand landowners’ attitudes towards three differently structured hypothetical Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) contracts options; their likely participation; and the potential additionality they would provide. The three schemes (results-based loan, action-based grant, and results-based payments) differed in their expected risks and benefits to landowners. Although the results-based loan did deter uptake relative to the lower risk action-based grant, results-based payments did not significantly increase uptake, suggesting asymmetric attitudes to risk. Qualitative probing revealed economic, social (e.g. trust) and institutional factors (e.g. legal implications of planting forest trees on private land) that limited willingness to participate in the results-based PES. This study demonstrates the importance of combining qualitative and quantitative methods to better understand landowner perceptions of incentives and risks, particularly in challenging socio-political contexts.