Practitioners in the fields of sustainable development, land management, and biodiversity conservation are increasingly interested in using economic instruments that promise "win-win" solutions for conservation and human livelihoods. However, practitioners often lack guidance for selecting and implementing suitable economic approaches that take the specific local needs and the cultural, legal, and ecological context into account. This paper extracts from the academic debate a series of key aspects to be considered by practitioners who wish to accomplish change of behaviour via economic approaches. The paper then presents a practice-oriented framework for identifying the "ecosystem service opportunities" to conserve biodiversity and improve livelihoods in a specific local setting, and for pre-selecting suitable economic instruments. The framework is illustrated by describing its application in two pilot sites of the ECO-BEST project in Thailand, as part of which it was developed and road-tested.