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On World Wetlands Day: The Allure And Elusiveness Of Mangroves As Carbon Sinks

Wetlands, and especially mangrove forests, sequester far more carbon per square mile than do tropical forests, and they also provide shelter for fish, protect the coast from storm surges, and keep coral reefs alive. On World Wetlands day, we examine the unappreciated value of these critical ecosystems.

Voluntary Buyers Spend Nearly $4.5 Billion on Offsets Over Last Decade

The voluntary carbon markets have served as the testing ground for compliance programs all over the world, even moving forward when efforts to implement mandatory cap-and-trade programs stalled. This has led to the voluntary markets having an influence that extends well beyond the nearly one billion offsets transacted over the last decade, according to Ecosystem Marketplace’s latest State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets report.

Opinion Rivaling Gold: Ecological Assets Outperform Traditional Commodities

After completing a price trend comparison between environmental products and traditional commodities, a long-time analyst of ecosystem markets says compensatory credits for wetland and species conservation are outperforming commodities like corn and farmland and even gold-giving a more literal meaning to the term ‘green gold.’ Here is the analysis.

Is Private Investment And Coastal Management A Good Or Bad Match?

Nicolas Pascal, of the BlueFinance project, a data collection initiative aimed at developing finance mechanisms for marine conservation management, says market mechanisms have potential to fill a big part of a funding gap that exists in marine conservation. But its practical experience in coastal environments is limited and so more know-how is needed to spur private investment.

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.

Venturing Into Uncharted Territory: Applying Net Positive Impacts For Biodiversity In Forestry And Agriculture

For many land-use sectors, the mitigation hierarchy is an effective way to manage the possible loss of biodiversity that comes with development. However, it isn’t used in several significant sectors like agriculture and forestry. That may be changing as new research finds that using the hierarchy can lead to net positive impacts for biodiversity within some of these missing sectors.

Global Forum To Highlight Solutions To Water Shortages, Stress And Scarcity

The world is overwhelmed by water stress and scarcity and sustainable water management in many forms is an absolute necessity. The good news is water practitioners are developing innovative solutions to water challenges that will be shared this week during the multi-sector, high level and collaborative World Water Forum.

Climate Plans and the Role of Land Use: A Running Tab

As countries submit their plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions – commitments known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, or INDCs – ahead of this year’s international climate negotiations, the role of forests and land use in this agreement is still developing. This article will be updated often to offer summaries of how land use is included (or not) in INDCs as they are submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

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.

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.

The Environmental Mortgage: Connecting The Dots Between Microfinance And Ecosystem Services

While microfinance models have been hugely successful on a global scale in providing the means for people to escape extreme poverty, they aren’t often used to finance payments for ecosystem services projects that offer many poverty alleviating benefits. Despite it being risky and costly, both sectors see potential in working together on a larger scale

This Week In V-Carbon: One Step Forward, One Step…

After becoming the first indigenous people in the world to generate REDD+ (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) offsets, the Paiter-Surui Amazonian tribe is now looking back on its experience. While the tribe agrees that the carbon project has been successful, there is less support for the mechanism to dispense finance. Read this and more below.

Water, Energy, Food: Nexus Thinking Catches On, But Nexus Spending Lags

The tremendous demand human society has for water, food and energy is only expected to increase. And as sectors search for ways to apply integrated solutions that address the needs of all three sectors, they are too often leaving out a critical component – nature – says Ecosystem Marketplace’s most recent report on watershed investments.

2014: The Year In Voluntary Carbon

Major corporations such as Chevrolet and Disney supported voluntary carbon offset projects under new methodologies, some of which they helped develop. But 2014 is ending with a lack of clear policy signals on the international level, although national and subnational programs continue to move forward at an encouraging pace.

This Week In Forest Carbon: A Blast From The Past

Indonesia’s federal government has embarked on the most ambitious REDD program of any major forested nation, but it’s not easy to implement such a program in a land of a thousand islands spread across two million square kilometers. Ecosystem Marketplace’s fifth installment of the REDD in Indonesia series takes a look at the early days of REDD, back in 2007.

World Bank Initiative Moves Talk On Water Energy Nexus To Action

Moving from talking about the interlinked thinking behind the water-energy nexus to implementing its approach is a tricky transition. World Bank Economist Diego Rodriguez says the new Thirsty Energy initiative aims to do just that, however, by providing governments with the necessary tools and guidance.

This Week In Forest Carbon News…

Ecosystem Marketplace’s carbon team is in the final stages of data collection for the upcoming forest carbon markets report. Meanwhile, a local Colombian community attempts to use the REDD mechanism (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) to preserve its rainforest.

California Wildfires Kill More Than Trees, And That May Help Us Prevent Them In The Future

One year ago this month, the infamous Rim Fire started burning in northern California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. It raged for two full months and destroyed hundreds of homes and ecosystem services. Then something peculiar happened: the fire slowed when it hit the more naturally-managed Yosemite forest, offering one more key to help us manage our forests in a changing climate.

Stunning High-Resolution Map reveals Secrets Of Peru’s Forests

A colorful map of Peru’s landscape has been drawn from research assessing the nation’s aboveground carbon stock. The map portrays carbon density with different colors allowing viewers to see the diversity of Peru’s land in a whole new way and also see the value in preserving its ecosystems.

Study Says Carbon Finance Saves Forests By Promoting Indigenous Rights

Forest carbon critics often contend that REDD finance will disenfranchise indigenous communities, but now the World Resources Institute and Rights and Resources International have published a new study saying the opposite may be true. Instead of threatening forest communities, REDD appears to be supporting them.

Does Brazilian Deforestation Drive Drought In The United States?

California regulators overseeing the state’s cap-and-trade program now have one more reason to recognize offsets generated by saving endangered rainforest in Latin America. On Monday, they learned that the destruction of trees in the Amazon rainforest will probably slash rainfall in the United States, depriving drought-choked California of even more drinking water.

Three Images That Illustrate The Challenge Of Life On A Managed Planet

You can’t separate people from climate change. We caused it, and we will suffer from it. The UK’s weather service, the Met Office, recently tried to summarize the interplay between people and the planet in one wall poster, and the result is a stark reminder of the fact that we now live on a managed planet.

Biodiversity Backers Continue Push For Convergence In June

New guidance from the Center for Biological Diversity aims to integrate biodiversity safeguards into sustainability standards while a study finds REDD+ isn’t delivering the positive outcome for wildlife as originally thought. Also, Ecosystem Marketplace continues to unfold its series on saving Indonesia’s forests and orangutan habitat from palm oil development.

Examples, Dialogue And Clearer Policy Needed In Biodiversity Offsetting

Highlights including video footage from last month’s conference on ‘no net loss’ of biodiversity, which brought together a multitude of sectors to discuss avoiding, minimizing, restoring and offsetting biodiversity loss, are now available. The event, held at the London Zoo and hosted by BBOP, was the first of its kind.

Todd Lemons: Ecosystem Entrepreneur

When Todd Lemons showed up on Birutė Galdikas’s doorstep in 2007, she had no idea who he was or why he’d come all the way to the island of Borneo on a hunch. They ended up forging a partnership that created the Rimba Raya REDD project, saved the Seruyan Forest, and provided a template for others to follow suit.

Voluntary Carbon Market Stalls, But Buyers See Silver Lining

Carbon market participants mulled findings from the State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2014 report at a presentation in Washington DC. Although overall volume declined as certain offset projects transitioned into regulated markets, the participants were buoyed by the momentum in favor of projects that have strong benefits beyond just emission reductions.

This Week In V-Carbon News…

Ecosystem Marketplace’s State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2014 report took center stage this week. Panelists playing various roles in the marketplace came together in Washington, DC to discuss findings from the report – and where we go from here. Meanwhile, FIFA scored big with its commitment to a sustainable World Cup, and NASA will try again to launch its Orbiting Carbon Observatory.

This Week In Biodiversity: Global Summit On No Net Loss In London

Natural capital accounting is generating a lot of attention lately with a new report warning companies of the perils of ignoring natural capital risk while the World Bank-led WAVES initiative is noting some advancements in the space. And BBOP is back from the London Zoo with feedback on the no net loss of biodiversity summit.

Carbon Market Participants: We Must Raise Awareness, Spark Private-Sector Demand

Companies selling carbon offsets to corporate buyers welcome governments’ growing role as a source of offset demand itself, as seen in the “State of Voluntary Carbon Markets” report launched last week – but say that effective public climate policies, not demand, are what’s needed to jump-start markets, and that the voluntary carbon sector itself must be more creative on the messaging front.

The Water-Energy-Food Nexus: Interlinked Solutions For Interlinked Challenges

We can’t prevent global shortages of drinking water while providing enough food and energy to meet the needs of a growing population in a climate-constrained world if we don’t understand the linkages between water, energy and food security. Here’s a look at how our demands for energy, food and water all drive each other, and how we can prevent them from driving in the wrong direction.

This Week In Forest Carbon News…

Early findings from our State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2014 report show that REDD projects more than doubled their transaction volumes from 2012 to 22.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, at a $94 million value. REDD also got a boost last week when US Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the US Agency for International Development (USAID) will guarantee the Althelia Climate Fund at $133.8 million.

Corporate Buyers Stick with Voluntary Carbon Offsetting in Transitional Year

It was a topsy-turvy year in voluntary carbon, with some volume migrating to California’s cap-and-trade market and new government entities coming in on the buy side. Through it all, most corporate buyers who used offsets in the past continued to do so, but newcomers were hard to find. Here’s a preview of our latest "State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets" report.

This Week In V-Carbon News…

Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace has released the initial findings from our annual report, State of the Voluntary Carbon Market 2014. In other news, the Gold Standard has quantified the value of the co-benefits and the CDP reports that US corporations consider climate change risks to be more urgent than just a few years ago.

This Week In V-Carbon: Countdown to Carbon Expo in Cologne

The 2014 State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets report is set to launch on May 28th at Carbon Expo in Cologne, Germany. Join us to hear the latest trends gathered from a global pool of offset suppliers and other experts. Meanwhile, in the news, Russia announced plans to meet its 2020 emissions reduction target, possibly featuring a voluntary offsetting component, while South Africa has rolled voluntary standards into its carbon tax.

Voices From Denver: Mitigation Bankers Discuss New Measures And Role Of NGOs

Thursday at the National Mitigation and Ecosystem Banking Conference saw a lot of talk on species conservation specifically for the greater sage grouse and the recently listed lesser prairie chicken, with some disagreement over the best approach. Meanwhile, Ecosystem Marketplace chatted with new NMBA president Wayne White on the coming year.

CIFOR Says Tenure And Funding Still Dog REDD

The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) recently surveyed 23 subnational forest carbon projects in Brazil, Peru, Cameroon, Tanzania, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Their findings? Project proponents are driven to save forests, but a lack of demand and unclear tenure remain their biggest challenges.

Latest Science Reconfirms:
Trees Are Key To Curbing Climate Change

The IPCC says we need carbon capture and storage (CCS) if we’re going to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2°C, but trees remain the only CCS "technology" that can deliver on a meaningful scale. Jonah Busch of the Center for Global Development dissects the latest IPCC report and offers his own meta-analysis of studies on the causes of global deforestation.

Your Donut Is Killing Our Forests, Here’s How To Make It Stop

We all consume palm oil every day – in our soaps, our snacks, and our gas tanks – and much of it comes at the expense of peat forests, which means we’re pumping millions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year. A new consumer scorecard can help you stop it. Here’s how. 

Buying Hope And Time For Coral Reef

Between now and August, we’ll be examining the economic benefits of coral reefs and financing mechanisms designed to help preserve them. Here’s a look at the other side of that equation: what it costs to maintain them, and the challenge of meeting that cost through conventional means.

This Week In Water: Nature And The Nexus

Ecosystem Marketplace is gearing up for the 2014 State of Watershed Payments report. The report will cover the water energy food nexus and watershed investments among other topics. Meanwhile, EM is also preparing for Katoomba XX in Lima Peru where discussions will focus on aligning climate policy with other commitments that support resilient ecosystems and societies.

Carbon Rights And Tenure:
The Debate Continues

Do global efforts to pay developing countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation aid in the fight for community and indigenous rights, or impede it? The Fifteenth Dialogue on Forests, Governance & Climate Change, hosted by the Rights & Resources Institute, brought together a mix of voices – and they weren’t always in harmony.

Indonesian Fires Bring More Haze to Southeast Asia

Unseasonal forest fires in Indonesia are causing respiratory problems and generating carbon emissions. The World Resources Institute uses the new Global Forest Watch tool to find out why and how these fires can be prevented.   

This Week In Water: Landscapes Thinking In Action

Ecosystem Marketplace is taking an up-close look at the landscapes approach to nature and conservation starting with two Katoomba Meetings this spring, which will help prompt  cross-sector collaboration. Meanwhile, EM monitors landscapes thinking activities in Yorkshire, England and the US. 

Google Offers A View Into Forest Growth-Or Loss-In Real Time

The lack of reliable data on forests has long been a major challenge in the battle against deforestation. But a new tool powered by Google aims to provide real-time information on forest clearing and empower local communities and other stakeholders to fight back.