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Ecosystem Services in the New York City Watershed

Nine years ago, New York City launched a revolutionary project to protect its drinking water by protecting the ecosystem services of its watershed. Ecosystem Marketplace checks up on the most famous ecosystem services project in the world.

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Seedlings And Children: Taking Care Of Our Common Future

The Paiter-Surui indigenous group in the Amazon rainforest was nearly wiped out from years of disease and deforestation. But now, with help from the IKEA Foundation and nonprofit Forest Trends (publisher of Ecosystem Marketplace), the Surui and Yawanawa tribes are thriving again under sustainable economies that allow them to maintain their centuries-old culture.

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New Conservation Bank Aims
To Save The Roaming Sage-Grouse

The greater sage-grouse might not be officially listed as endangered, but conservation of the bird is in full swing. This spring, conservation banking officially entered the fray with the creation of the first sage-grouse bank in Wyoming, a venture spanning thousands of acres that suggests a shift in species banking as well as in overall conservation strategy.

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Things White People Like – As Told By A Hadza Tribesman

When the Hadza hunter-gatherer people of northern Tanzania decided to slow deforestation in the Yaeda Valley, they turned to carbon markets. First, they had to do something they’d never done before: secure rights to the land they had been inhabiting for for 40,000 years

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Brazilian Ecosystem Services Matrix Brings Transparency To Environmental Finance

Brazil is not only a hotbed of ecosystem services, it’s also testing grounds for the market-like payments for ecosystem services approach to conserve and manage these natural services. And now, a new initiative launching this week provides a comprehensive way to track, understand and scale these programs using an interactive mapping and database system.

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REDD Dawn: The Birth Of Forest Carbon

Governments around the world will have pledged more than $7 billion to support "REDD", which is an acronym for "Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation" of forests. The acronym covers a broad set of activities that aim to slow climate change by saving endangered forests and keeping carbon locked in trees. In this series, we examine the history of REDD and the evolving role of indigenous people.

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Jurisdictional REDD: Long Deferred, Soon Delivered

Forest-carbon projects are now conserving as much forested land as you’ll find in all of Malaysia. It’s a stunning achievement, but one that needs to get big fast if we’re to make a dent in global greenhouse gas emissions. Fortunately, jurisdictions like the Brazilian state of Acre are developing "jurisdictional REDD" programs to do just that.

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Choco Darien: What Forest Carbon Can (And Cannot) Achieve

Colombia’s civil war had the perverse effect of protecting the forests in and around the Tolo River, but peace brought loggers and cattlemen, while poverty drove desperate forest people to begin chopping trees. Here’s how they used REDD to fight deforestation and build the foundation for a more sustainable future.

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Lima To Invest $110 Million in Green Infrastructure And Climate Adaptation

The city of Lima made headlines around the world when it announced it was funneling some of its water fees into a program to restore pre-Incan structures that capture excess rainwater in the rainy season and redirect into the mountain, so that it’s available in the dry season. That program, however, is just a small part of a massive green infrastructure program that could serve as a model for cities around the world.

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Lima To Invest $110 Million in Green Infrastructure And Climate Adaptation

The city of Lima made headlines around the world when it announced it was funneling some of its water fees into a program to restore pre-Incan structures that capture excess rainwater in the rainy season and redirect into the mountain, so that it’s available in the dry season. That program, however, is just a small part of a massive green infrastructure program that could serve as a model for cities around the world.

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Emerging From The Darkness: New Process Aims To Tackle Black Carbon

Soot and smoke no longer blanket London and other Western cities like they once did, but these and other forms of “black carbon” continue to plague families in developing countries. Now a new Gold Standard methodology will offer clean cookstoves projects the chance to access a new source of funding for reducing these emissions.

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This Week In Biodiversity: Choose Your Own Adventure

The argument over voluntary approaches to conserve at risk-species like the greater sage-grouse isn’t waning. Meanwhile, new research applying the mitigation hierarchy to the agriculture and forestry sectors finds net positive impacts for biodiversity are possible and a separate report finds commodity subsidies driving deforestation vastly outweigh conservation finance to protect forests.

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This Week In Forest Carbon: REDD Gets Sweeter

The Tambopata REDD, based in Peru, aims to pair carbon finance with sustainable cocoa production with help from a $7 million investment by Althelia Climate Fund. Rather than rely on carbon finance long term, the project is designed to use offset sales as the start-up capital to set up the sustainable cocoa production – which over time will become the main revenue stream for farmers.

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Where Chocolate Meets Carbon: One Peruvian Project Finds The Sweet Spot

The Althelia Climate Fund’s $7 million investment in the Madre de Dios region of Peru aims to support 1,100 farmers on sustainable cocoa production and protect a biodiverse national reserve. It’s a marriage of avoided deforestation and sustainable commodity production that is projected to pay off in more ways than one.

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The Tolo River Community Project: The Importance Of Inclusion

Four years ago, the Tolo River People of Colombia voted to use carbon finance to save their forest. That decision, however, came after three years of debate, and it presaged an even longer process of development and implementation. Here’s how the Tolo River people built their REDD project and prepared to sell offsets.

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Jurisdictional REDD: Getting To Scale

Forest-carbon projects are now conserving as much forested land as you’ll find in all of Malaysia. It’s a stunning achievement, but one that needs to get big fast if we’re to make a dent in global greenhouse gas emissions. Fortunately, jurisdictions like the Brazilian state of Acre are developing "jurisdictional REDD" programs to do just that.

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Why Denver Spends Water Fees On Trees

Five years ago, Denver teamed up with the US Forest Service to funnel money it collects from water fees into forest restoration that will protect the city’s water supply. Ecosystem Marketplace covered the program’s launch in 2010 and checked back in for World Water Day to find the partnership is making significant progress treating more forestland at a lower than expected cost

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This Week In Biodiversity: EM Tracks the Co-Financing Unicorn to the Gulf

It was a good month for conservation finance as a study on the potential of wetland carbon offsets in Louisiana found that the state’s blue carbon could be worth between $540 million and $1.6 billion over a five year period. And in California, farmers may be able to leverage finance from both the carbon market and a habitat exchange.

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What Do A Seed And A Website Have To Do With Stopping Climate Change?

Sustainably produced forest products have the potential to mitigate climate change, preserve biodiversity and enhance local livelihoods. But their value is underappreciated. Now, an online network called CanopyBridge, which brings together the sustainable sellers with interested buyers, is bringing these products to global markets.

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US Gulf Coast Prime For Wetlands Restoration: Study

Louisiana’s disappearing coastlines are propelling renewed efforts to preserve the areas that can be saved before it’s too late. A new study finds the carbon markets could potentially contribute up to $1.6 billion toward this effort, if the offsets generated by wetlands restoration projects are eventually welcomed into the compliance markets.

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Coalition Of 600 Defends Paiter-Surui, Questions Reporting Of Critics

The Amazon Working Group, a grassroots network of 600 associations representing smallholder farms, fishermen, rubber-tappers, and indigenous people, on Friday became the latest association of forest people to criticize Brazil’s powerful Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI), which it accuses of fomenting division among indigenous people to undermine projects it disagrees with, including Surui REDD.

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New European Carbon Exchange Bets On Revival Of Spot Trading

The European Environmental Markets, a new spot trading platform for European Union Emissions Trading System participants, is betting the problems that have plagued the granddaddy of carbon trading programs are a thing of the past. CEO Adrian Rimmer hopes the launch of the new platform marks a new wave of investing and interest in the European market.

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Surui Outline Management of Carbon Funds for Community Projects

One year after money began flowing from the Surui Forest Carbon Project, the association that administers the project says funds have been used to support 20 different activities in support of climate and community goals, from fish farms to marketing of locally-produced handicrafts.

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Study Sees $1.6 Billion For Blue Carbon In Louisiana Wetlands

As Louisiana’s wetlands and mangroves retreat, the low-lying state becomes more and more susceptible to hurricanes and other coastal disruptions. Fortunately, mangrove forests also pull massive amounts of carbon out of the atmosphere and store it in the ocean floor. A new study says that carbon finance could provide up to $1.6 billion for wetland restoration in that state.

Ontario Inches Towards Carbon Pricing, Explores Ag And Forestry Offsets

The Canadian province of Ontario looks poised to follow the lead of other jurisdictions in Canada and in the United States by implementing a carbon pricing program, with provincial regulators asking for opinions on what type of program should be implemented. Also on the list is a possible role for the agriculture and forestry sectors, as regulators seek advice for their potential inclusion as carbon offsets.

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This Week In V-Carbon: Punxsutawney Phil Predicts EM’s Survey Launch

Ecosystem Marketplace’s annual carbon markets survey launched this week and will be available through March 4, which is also the groundhog’s timeline for cold winter weather. That’s a shorter time frame than in previous years but in order to provide a greater range of reports throughout the year, the carbon team has condensed data collection periods.

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This Week In Water: The Water Stewards At The Bottom Of The Pyramid

The main objective of microfinance is to alleviate poverty which is why the socio-economic benefits of payments for ecosystem services projects imply the potential of collaboration between the two sectors. And speaking of poverty alleviation, Bolivia has developed a conservation mechanism it says helps the poor while hurting the deforester

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Colorado Shrinks The Risk Of Wildfire With Investments In Watershed Services

The severity and frequency of wildfires has regions like the US West scrambling for solutions. New research presented during a webinar shows Colorado is taking advantage of the watershed investment approach as more water providers in the state adopt Denver’s celebrated investments in watershed services project that simultaneously protects the city’s water supply and reduces wildfire risk.

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Putting A Price On Nature Can Benefit The Poor If Done Right

Although payments for ecosystem service programs have social aspects that can benefit the poor, all too often local communities are ignored. But Bolivia may offer a solution with a holistic approach-known as the Bolivian mechanism-that can balance environmental protection with poverty reduction. However, the trade-off between social and ecological goals isn’t eliminated entirely with this approach.

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This Week In Forest Carbon: Indigenous REDD Explored

Two steps forward: Green Assets’ South-Carolina based improved forest management project received its first forest carbon offset issuance for the California market, and Finite Carbon registered new compliance projects in New York and New Hampshire. Two steps back: The first national-level REDD+ Agency in Indonesia may be absorbed into a climate change mitigation directorate, and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has appointed a “chainsaw queen and a climate change denier to top posts.

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Women Key to Scaling Adoption Of Clean Cooking Solutions

As their primary consumers and users, women are ultimately the target customers of almost all cookstoves and fuels distributors. Less common, but no less important, is women’s inclusion throughout the clean cooking product supply chain. Here is how some enterprising organizations are engaging women from the bottom up.

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Putting A Price On Nature Can Benefit The Poor If Done Right

Although payments for ecosystem service programs have social aspects that can benefit the poor, all too often local communities are ignored. But Bolivia may offer a solution with a holistic approach-known as the Bolivian mechanism-that can balance environmental protection with poverty reduction. However, the trade-off between social and ecological goals isn’t eliminated entirely with this approach.

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Paiter-Surui Take Stock Of Community Fund Charged With Managing Finances

In late 2013, the Paiter-Surui indigenous people of the Amazon earned carbon offsets for protecting their forest, and the Surui Fund – which is a governance apparatus developed to manage community finances – began disbursing that income internally in 2014. Some village and clan leaders, however, say the Fund isn’t functioning as it should, and have called for a review.

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Women Key to Scaling Adoption Of Clean Cooking Solutions

As their primary consumers and users, women are ultimately the target customers of almost all cookstoves and fuels distributors. Less common, but no less important, is women’s inclusion throughout the clean cooking product supply chain. Here is how some enterprising organizations are engaging women from the bottom up.

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This Week In Biodiversity: Congress Enters The Sage-Grouse Battle

Congress became an official participant in the greater sage-grouse debate when its latest spending bill blocked funding for an Endangered Species Act listing for the bird. Reaction to the decision has been mixed with conservationists and agency officials indicating the voluntary incentives and the state level conservation plans as solid means to protect the grouse without a federal listing status.

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This Week In V-Carbon: The Lima Call For Climate Action

The climate community went to Peru and left with the Lima Call for Climate Action, the Green Climate Fund finally found a fraction of its funding and carbon dioxide fades into obscurity like a childhood celebrity.

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Avoided Deforestation Could Land On Green Climate Fund’s Fast Track

The Green Climate Fund gained momentum during the international climate negotiations here in Lima, Peru, surpassing the $10 billion mark and securing landmark financial commitments from both developed and developing countries. Now the race begins to assess and finance the first projects, including possibly REDD+, ahead of the Paris climate talks in December 2015.

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Green Climate Fund Passes $10 Billion Threshold

Today, Belgium helped the Green Climate Fund reach its $10 billion goal with a $60 million contribution. Because far more funds are needed to address the enormous challenge that is climate change, reaching the $10 billion mark is as much a symbolic achievement as it is financial, analysts say.

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COP Boss Pushes Simplified, Less Prescriptive Text In Bid To Move Climate Talks Forward

Peruvian Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal whittled 50 pages of text down to seven on Thursday, removing all options he deemed overly prescriptive, and he did so twice: once in the morning and once at night. The first time, someone accidentally posted his proposal on the UNFCCC web site. The second time, it went up officially

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Developing Nations Issue Challenge To Deliver On Pledge To Save Forests

Building on the New York Declaration on Forests, more than a dozen developing countries have thrown down the gauntlet for developed countries to support their efforts to increase the ambitions of their climate plans, paying particular attention to financing and scaling up efforts to reduce deforestation. Several developed countries say they stand ready to meet the challenge.

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Christiana Figueres: Up Close And Personal On Carbon Markets

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres sees a key role for markets in verifying that the emissions reductions promised by countries in upcoming climate plans are actually achieved. The new bottom-up approach to the climate negotiations means that the era of carbon market experimentation underway in California, China, South Africa, and other places is likely to continue.

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New Climate Deal Could Tap Existing Offset Programs

The existing Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation offset programs could and should be folded into the post-2020 international climate agreement being negotiated in Lima this week and in Paris in 2015, according to market observers. But they need some work first.

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This Week In V-Carbon: Your Guide To COP 20

The 20th meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is underway in Lima, Peru and Ecosystem Marketplace is on hand to cover it. This year, the process has been turned on its head as countries transitioned from trying to negotiate a top-down agreement to building a bottom-up framework based on “Intended Nationally Determined Contributions,” or INDCs.

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INDCs, REDD+, And The Alphabet Soup Of COP 20

Year-end climate talks begin today in Lima, and last year’s map won’t help you understand them. That’s because the aim is no longer to create a one-size-fits-all global agreement, but to come up with a set of ground rules that lets countries attack the problem in their own way, within reason. It’s a path full of pitfalls and promise, and here’s how to navigate it.

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Indigenous Leaders Call Foul On Once-Revered Catholic Organization

Brazil’s Missionary Council for Indigenous Peoples (CIMI) has arguably done more than any other single organization to help indigenous people demarcate their lands, but many indigenous leaders say their onetime protector has become paternalistic and possessive. Last week, after CIMI attacked the Surui Forest Carbon Project, indigenous leaders took to Facebook – and launched a campaign that could go all the way to the Vatican.