Two of the main motives for people to be engaged in the Mexican Payment for Environmental Services (PES) programme are forest conservation and the income received from the programme. We explore the socioeconomic conditions that support choosing these motives. We used data from a 2012 nationwide survey, processed through logit models. Significant factors influencing the desire to conserve as a motive were family welfare improvement, land use change intention, and training. Those affecting income as a motive were formal education, indigenous people participation and training. Finally, factors related to both conservation and income, as a motive, were formal education, training, PES influence in water management, and land boundary conflicts. Income and conservation are not mutually exclusive motives for engagement in the programme, given that in developing countries income from PES may reduce the socioeconomic pressures triggering land use change, and has a role in conservation efforts, already present in many rural communities.