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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.


Gender Integration in REDD+: From Promises to Practice

Gender mainstreaming in REDD+ has taken a tremendous leap forward in recent months with the introduction of practical tools and standards that measure the consideration and integration of gender in REDD+ activities at both the national and subnational levels. Here is a look at some of the tools that have emerged in the first half of 2013 and the policies driving their creation.


Credits From First African
Government Backed REDD+ Project Go On Sale

The Makira REDD+ project in Madagascar, which aims to protect 400,000 hectares of forest, announced its carbon credits are for sale becoming the first of its kind to put credits on the carbon market. Devastated by illegal rosewood logging just a few years ago, the Makira REDD+ project is part of Code REDD, a group of projects with high standards on conserving biodiversity and supporting local livelihoods.


Almir Surui: Perseverance Under Pressure

Brazil’s Paiter-Surui and cosmetics giant Natura made history last month when Natura bought the first-ever indigenous REDD carbon offsets from this once-isolated people.  That transaction capped six years of development on the part of the Surui, but the events that led to it have been brewing for decades. Here’s how persistence, persuasion, and positive thinking paid off for Chief Almir Narayamoga Surui and the planet.


The Peru Carbon Fund:
A Peruvian Standard For Peruvian Forests

The Peru Carbon Fund’s new PCF Standard aims to generate something it calls “Carbon Capture Certificates” for people who plant native trees on previously deforested land. It’s a novel approach that allows for landowners to reforest and harvest while accessing carbon payments.


This Week In Forest Carbon: A Beautiful Arrangement

Latin America’s largest cosmetics company recently purchased 120,000 tons of carbon offsets from a REDD project in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest that is led by an indigenous tribe. This transaction marks the first sale of forest carbon offsets developed by indigenous people and can be used as a template for other indigenous peoples as well as companies looking to meet their Corporate Social Responsibility requirements.


Brazilian Cosmetics Giant Buys
First Indigenous REDD Credits

The Paiter Suruí people of the Amazon announced today that cosmetics giant Natura Cosméticos has purchased 120,000 tons of carbon offsets that the Suruí developed by saving endangered rainforest. It’s the first sale of forest-carbon credits developed by indigenous people, and one that provides a template for indigenous people across the Amazon.


In The Colorado Delta, A
Little Water Goes A Long Way

This Week is World Water Week and a coalition spanning the US-Mexico border is a perfect example of this year’s theme-water cooperation. The group is thinking outside the box to restore the Colorado River delta – using water rights markets, recaptured wastewater, and a groundbreaking new federal deal – that’s breathing new life into an ecosystem widely assumed to be gone forever.


How Forest Carbon Projects
Protect Themselves From Political Risk

Following the landmark use of political risk insurance on a REDD+ project in Cambodia, project developers elsewhere have also tapped into the insurance – most recently on a bamboo reforestation project in Nicaragua. Despite these examples of early mover activity, awareness of political risk coverage and how it can help finance carbon offset projects is still very limited. 


Building A More Resilient Gulf

Tierra Resources’ new carbon methodology could help close the financing gap for wetlands restorations projects on the Louisiana Gulf Coast, offering an extra push for private landowners. Entergy, the major utility in the region, sees more than one reason to be involved.


Cookstoves Program Aims To
Spread Devices Across Africa And Asia

This year’s State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2013 report showed that carbon markets are funneling more and more money into projects that distribute low-carbon cookstoves. Now, a new initiative seeks to propel the adoption of these offset projects even further, with an eye toward contributing to the dissemination of two million improved cookstoves by 2017 in Southeast Asia and West Africa.


This Week In V-Carbon: Alternatives In Africa

At the African Carbon Forum earlier this month, Ecosystem Marketplace presented its findings from the State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets report in Côte d’Ivoire. While African nations have historically focused on CDM projects, interest in voluntary carbon projects has grown, showcased by a record $66M in offsets occurring in 2012 alone.


Indigenous Groups, NGOs, And Major
Corporates Line Up Behind REDD+ in Cali

More than four dozen representatives of major corporations, global NGOs, and indigenous communities from around the world have signed a letter of support for including carbon credits from programs that save endangered rainforest in California’s Climate Policy – provided those credits meet certain criteria.


This Week in Forest Carbon: Lessons From Vietnam

A new Forest Trends brief compares and contrasts case studies from two villages in Vietnam to highlight the implications of illegal logging on REDD+ and FLEGT as well as the role of community participation and land tenure agreements in forest governance. Meanwhile the Ecosystem Marketplace Carbon Program gears up for its final round of data collection in preparation for the 2013 State of the Forest Carbon Markets report.


Small Scale Illegal Logging In Vietnam:
Implications for FLEGT And REDD+

Key results from a Forest Trends paper on the government of Vietnam’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) and the country’s REDD+ initiatives finds that illegal logging can only be curtailed with policies promoting small scale forest use and management that benefit the local communities. 


Disney Helps Dreams Come
True In Peru’s Alto Mayo Forest

With the help of a $3.5 million donation from Disney, Conservation International has been able to develop a REDD+ project in the dwindling Alto Mayo Protected Forest in Peru. The project has generated 3 million tons of emissions reductions so far, and delivered a host of benefits for the local populations.

2013 Voluntary Carbon Markets Report
Now Available For Download

The 2013 State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets Report is now available for download, and will be formally presented today, June 20th, from 4:30pm to 6pm at the law offices of Baker & McKenzie in Washington, DC. The much-anticipated report brings to light key findings to explain why voluntary markets are doing so well while UN markets are suffering.


Perseverance Pays Off For
Massive Indonesian REDD Project

Five years in the making, the Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve Project has overcome seemingly insurmountable political challenges to become one of the largest-ever REDD projects to see its emission reductions verified under the Verified Carbon Standard by proving that it reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than two million tons in one year – and may reduce nearly 120 million by the time it finishes.


Can Katoomba 18 Help
The Miyun Reservoir?

More than 200 delegates to Katoomba 18 from as far away as Peru, Switzerland, and Ghana will be spending the next three days in China’s troubled Miyun Reservoir. Their aim: to trade experiences, share lessons learned, and make recommendations to project developers at Miyun on designing and implementing effective watershed investments.


Replicating Policy That Works:
PES In Mexico

Since environmental services’ emergence as a concept in 1997, there have been many efforts to internalize the idea and transform theory into practice. Here, we look at the concept’s evolution into public policy in Mexico where academic literature plays a role in environmental issues and developing countries’ need for the right tools is realized. 


Kenyan Farmers Boost Yields With Payments For Watershed Services

For two years now, flower growers along the shore of Kenya’s Lake Naivasha have been paying farmers in the hills 40 kilometers away to adopt sustainable agriculture practices. They’re doing it to save their lake, but it’s also helping farmers lift themselves out of poverty.


Empowering Women,
One Carbon Ton At A Time

A new standard aims to carve out a space in the voluntary carbon market for projects that empower women by getting them involved in carbon offset and renewable energy project development. The standard puts women in control of the income generated from the credits giving them the opportunity to invest in several poverty alleviating initiatives such as education and health care.


PWS In Kenya: How WWF And CARE Found Common Ground In High Hills

Subsistence farmers in the hills above Kenya’s Lake Naivasha face an uncertain future, and climate-change has only made it worse. Here’s how WWF and CARE teamed up to harvest payments for watershed services that might help those farmers through the coming bad years – and, in the process, save the lake below.


Engaging With Indigenous
Peoples On REDD+

Over 30 representatives of Indigenous Peoples worldwide have gathered at a Forest Carbon Partnership Facility’s (FCPF) workshop on REDD+ which, Benoit Bosquet of the FCPF says was less focused on the possible worrying impacts and more on how Indigenous communities can benefit and become active participants in the REDD+ process.


The Business Of Climate-
Adaptation: Keeping It Fair

Climate change will disrupt the global economy in ways none of us really know, and companies that properly adapt to it will survive and perhaps even thrive. But the tools for profiting currently lie in the countries that created the mess – not those that will suffer. Here’s how the Higher Ground Foundation and others hope to level the playing field.


Kenyan Flower-Growers Use Watershed Payments To Save Their Lake And Their Livelihoods

Flower growers in Kenya’s Rift Valley have gradually reduced their runoff to keep their water clean, but subsistence farmers high in the hills can’t afford to implement such actions. WWF is spearheading a payments for watershed services program designed to fix that by asking downstream users to support sustainable agriculture efforts in the catchments.


Through Almir’s Eyes:
A Day In The Life Of A REDD Pioneer

In an effort to support their groundbreaking REDD project, the Amazonian Paiter-Surui People have been patrolling their forest in search of illegal loggers.  Last week, Chief Almir Surui and a small band of his fellow tribesmen received a tip about illegal logging on the territory.  Rachael Petersen accompanied them on the expedition and filed this report.


Community Carbon Pools Help
Vietnamese Villagers Get Ready For REDD+

Forest communities stand to benefit tremendously from REDD+, but only if tenure rights are incorporated into the decision-making process and benefits are shared across the community. That’s why Fauna & Flora International is piloting Community Carbon Pools across Asia. Here’s a look at how the program works in Vietnam.    


Linking Smallholders to Modern Markets

Picking up flowers at the supermarket is an easy task for the average consumer, but the journey that those flowers take to get on those shelves is complicated.  For most smallholder farmers, this means their products will never end up on those shelves.  But a new project from the International Institute for Economics and Development is trying to change that.


Suing to Stop Climate Change

While governments drag their feet on climate change, to what extent can nuisance lawsuits and other types of legal actions fill the gap?  FIELD hosts a climate justice panel discussion.


Key Redactions on Safeguards in New Draft of REDD+ Partnership Workplan

The REDD+ Partnership is convening alongside the official Cancun climate negotiations to establish a Work Program through 2012.  But despite reported consensus among Partners about the need for safeguards, the latest draft released by the Partnership removes many of the guidelines for safeguards that were in earlier drafts.


First-Ever African Soil-Carbon Deal Signed at Hague Investment Fair

Small-holder farmers in Kenya are changing their farming practices and earning carbon credits. This is a result of the first soil carbon project approved in Africa, which seeks to improve food security, help address climate change, and improve the lives and livelihoods of rural dwellers who today live in poverty.


EM Podcast: Planting Empowerment (and Spreading the Wealth)

Project developer Planting Empowerment earns carbon credits by leasing – rather than buying – degraded forest so that local owners can share more fully in the benefits of restoration.  Maria Bendana speaks with co-founder Chris Meyer about the future of REDD, the challenges of small-scale restoration, and the benefits of leaving forests in local hands.


Special Report: Carbon Payments and Ghana

Cocoa is one of Ghana’s most important exports, but current farming techniques wreak havoc on both soil and surrounding forests.  This is not only unsustainable for cocoa, but also contributes to global warming and biodiversity loss. EM examines efforts to promote sustainable cocoa farming by tapping into the global carbon markets.



Brazilian States Seek Direct Access To International Climate Finance

Farmers, indigenous tribes, and environmental NGOs across Brazil say they need direct payments for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) if they are going to help halt climate change, but the federal government remains opposed. Can a new declaration of consensus promote change at the top?


Guaraqueaba: Where the Buffalo Roamed

If efforts to save the tropical rainforests by Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) ever yield large-scale results, it will be in part because of demonstration projects like those in Brazil’s Guaraqueçaba Environmental Protection Area. Ecosystem Marketplace takes stock of three projects launched over the past decade by two NGOs and three corporate donors in the GEPA.

Fifth in a series leading up to the 14th Katoomba Meeting in Mato Grasso, Brazil.


Zapalinam: Connecting Cities and Watersheds in Mexico

The people of Saltillo, Mexico, voluntarily pay to support the watershed of the surrounding mountains – and with it, their own drinking water. Ecoystem Marketplace examines this innovative Payments for Watershed Services (PWS) scheme. Third in a series leading up to the 14th Katoomba Meeting in Mato Grasso, Brazil.


Wanted: Forest Carbon Projects for

Forestry advocates believe that halting the destruction of tropical rainforests is one of the easiest and most effective ways to slow global warming, and that’s led to a surge in development of projects designed to capture carbon in leaves, stalks, and bogs, but no centralized information hub for keeping track of all the activity – until now. Introducing:


Social Carbon Joins the Party

Brazilian NGO Ecológica has been promoting the social benefits of carbon projects since long before "non-carbon" attributes became fashionable. Now, with voluntary carbon offset projects being judged (and priced) as much for their impact on local communities as for their impact on carbon emissions, they’re taking their methodology global by teaming up with international market players and joining the gaggle of standards with links to registries.


Gore, Maathai Address Forestry Offsets

Former US Vice President Al Gore and fellow Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai offered their views on avoided deforestation earlier this week. Gore said the time was right for avoided deforestation credits in cap-and-trade schemes, and Maathai supported the use of market-based solutions in principle – but stressed the need to link them with poverty reduction.


How Much for this Mountain Forest?

The downward flow of water from the Eastern Arc Mountains of Africa generates up to half of Tanzania’s power and provides nearly all of Dar es Salaam’s drinking water. As logging and agriculture move up the slopes, however, they destroy the natural ecosystems that support the ancient catchments – resulting in torrents in the wet season and trickles in the dry. Can valuing those ecosystem services lead to their salvation?


Making Wildlife Pay in Northern Tanzania

Ecotourism and sustainable trophy hunting have delivered verifiable conservation benefits in parts of Africa, but scaling up has proven difficult. Now, an innovative pilot scheme in Tanzania is trying an alternative approach: paying communities directly to protect wildlife habitats. The Ecosystem Marketplace examines this promising new model for wildlife conservation.


Bay Stakeholders Look to Offset Nutrient Footprints

Several market-based programs are in the works to promote actions designed to reduce the amount of nutrients entering the Chesapeake Bay. The Bay Journal recently took stock of various projects on the table, and their findings are reproduced in the Ecosystem Marketplace.


Chesapeake Bay Water Scheme Gains Traction

Can water markets help revive the Chesapeake Bay? Perhaps – but only if each of the six Bay states and the District of Columbia agree to recognize discharge reductions in one state as credits in another. The Ecosystem Marketplace examines a voluntary initiative led by Forest Trends and the Katoomba Group designed to do what politics-as-usual has so far failed to accomplish.


Dorjee Sun: Rockin’ for REDD!

When not raiding illegal Indonesian logging operations with the Governor of Aceh or hanging ten off the Australian coast, Dorjee Sun is cutting carbon offset deals – among them the world’s largest avoided deforestation project to date. The Ecosystem Marketplace talks to one of the environmental movement’s true mavericks.


Payments for Ecosystem Services: Download the Primer

Payments for Ecosystem Services encourage entities that benefit from ecosystem services to pay for maintaining those ecosystems – but how? At the Biodiversity Conference (COP 9) in Bonn, Germany, Forest Trends, the Katoomba Group and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) have jointly unveiled a nuts-and-bolts primer designed to answer that question.


Ugandan Water Markets: What Businesses Know (and Don’t)

Water markets can help provide a solution to Uganda’s looming water crisis – but only if buyers understand the stakes and the dynamics. Alice Ruhweza, East and Southern Africa Katoomba Group Coordinator, says Ugandan water users understand the crisis but haven’t yet explored market-based solutions. The Ecosystem Marketplace summarizes her findings.


Mbaracay: Lessons in Avoiding Deforestation

Nearly two decades ago, a small Paraguayan NGO teamed up with a global environmental NGO and a mid-sized American energy provider to save a chunk of rainforest from the sawmills by offsetting greenhouse gas emissions. The Ecosystem Marketplace revisits one of the world’s first carbon offset projects: the Mbaracayú Forest Nature Reserve. Second in a three-part series.


Ecosystem Farming

Following its success with an innovative "Working for Water" program, South Africa has begun experimenting with a whole new approach to conservation and restoration; an approach that has scientists "mapping" ecosystem services and land-users "farming" them. The Ecosystem Marketplace takes a closer look at these recent developments and considers whether or not "trading" will be the next new verb for ecosystem services in the RSA.