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The Grand Experiment To Save Appalachia’s Forests

The Southeastern United States produces 12 percent of the world’s wood, pulp, and paper – fueling an economic engine that’s pulverizing forests faster than it’s restoring them. Here’s how environmental NGOs like the Dogwood Alliance are teaming up with retail giants like Staples to try and prevent that engine from overheating.

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Will Biodiversity Proponents
Embrace Business in 2013?

Last year’s Biodiversity COP once again failed to engage the private sector on any meaningful level, let alone embrace market-based financing mechanisms for addressing habitat loss – largely because the private sector, as the leading destroyer of habitat, is largely seen as the enemy in all this. Failure to engage, however, is not a solution, says Joost Bakker of the Global Nature Fund.

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2012: The Year In Biodiversity

Biodiversity marked 2012 with the creation of the IPBES and discussions on candidate species as well as some new plans and tools to be used in the future. Here are some of the several noteworthy biodiversity highlights Ecosystem Marketplace covered over the last year.

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This Week In Biodiversity: It’s Climate Time!

Environmental risk has been brought to the fore with a new tool that assesses climate change risk as well as a report examining ecological risk in sovereign credit.  Meanwhile, Forest Trend’s Business and Biodiversity Offset Program has helped develop the first-ever lender-required biodiversity offsets in Costa Rica.   

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Indigenous Leaders Embrace REDD,
With Or Without Carbon Markets

In Doha, more than a dozen indigenous leaders spoke in favor of the “Indigenous REDD” program, which aims to save more than four million hectares of endangered rainforest using an ecosystems-based valuation approach that doesn’t necessarily harness the carbon market.

Biodiversity Payments Can Help
Communities Fight Climate Change

Dr. Jonah Busch of Conservation International (CI) thinks findings from his recent study, which conclude it is more efficient for biodiversity as well as for carbon to have biodiversity conservation incorporated into REDD+ than it is to create separate markets for biodiversity, is worth discussing during REDD+ negotiations in Doha.   

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Are Nature Reserves Working?
Take A Look Outside.

A recent study done by a team of over 200 field biologists examined the many intricate parts of protected areas looking to find why some areas are more successful than others.  The study also includes methods and solutions to preserving species and ecosystems in the future.

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Colombia Mega Dam Will Destroy
Habitat for Threatened Birds

A recently discovered species of wren is under threat along with the endangered Military Macaw from the construction of what is expected to be Colombia’s largest power station. Bird conservationists voice their concern by offering a possible solution to prevent the dam from destroying the birds’ habitat as well as reminding Colombia’s government of the birds’ value to the local economy.

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Check Assesses Companies Impact On Biodiversity

More and more companies are recognizing the need to reduce environmental liability by reducing their impact on biodiversity, but few know how to measure it.  The European Business and Biodiversity Campaign’s new Biodiversity Check aims to change that. Here’s how.

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NSW Biobanking Review: The Method And The Market

Two years ago New South Wales’ launched its Biobanking scheme.  The Office of Environment and Heritage is claiming success and now the first official review has been launched making a note of the methodologies and environmental outcomes but largely commenting on the functionality of the market.   

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Unlikely Group Moves
To Save Birds’ Shrinking Habitat

Land developers have been scrambling to keep the Lesser Prairie Chicken off the endangered species list, but the bird’s habitat is shrinking dramatically.  Now a motley mix of conservation groups, industries, and landowners have embraced a voluntary program to save the habitat and avoid the listing.

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The Opportunities And Challenges of Candidate Conservation Agreements

While it’s laudable striving to avoid listing species, without a very real fear of listing, many ‘voluntary’ efforts would dissolve. Alternativly, it would be tragic to allow CCAAs to make everyone feel and sound like species were being conserved adequately, while in reality populations teeter and crash as stakeholders celebrate that at least new agreements stem the tide of species conflict in communities.

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This Week In Biodiversity: Biodiversity Goes Big

In this week’s MitMail, TEEB comes to China in an attempt to better understand environmental values and impacts and Houston receives a Texas-sized stream bank that will help manage stormwater issues. Meanwhile, mangroves (might) save the world.

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Should Israel Embrace Biodiversity Financing Programs?

Israel’s biodiversity is under threat from a list of sources that include urbanization, water scarcity and habitat loss. To beat this threat, a group of scientists, government officials, market experts and others are examining biodiversity financing programs from around the world to implement in Israel that will improve conservation.

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The Rise of Candidate Species:
Good News For Conservation Banking?

Environmentalists and businessmen alike are scrambling to keep species from becoming candidates for endangered status, and a conservation banking-based approach could provide land-intense businesses a system to voluntarily rescue threatened species before they reach the tipping point.

This Week In Biodiversity: Filling In The Funding Gap

While the Inter-American Development Bank looks at ways to preserve biodiversity in Latin America and the Caribbean using public and private investments, a new version of the Little Biodiversity Finance Book is launched. Also, natural capital proved to be a popular topic at Rio+20.

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Biodiversity Book Published On WED

The Little Biodiversity Finance Book, published by the Global Canopy Programme, has been released online today, World Environment Day. The book, which draws on Ecosystem Marketplace research, examines current funding as well as options to increase finance meet critical global biodiversity conservation targets.

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Bridging the Biodiversity Finance Gap

The Little Biodiversity Finance Book, published by the Global Canopy Programme, has been released online today, World Environment Day. The book, which draws on Ecosystem Marketplace research, examines current funding as well as options to increase finance meet critical global biodiversity conservation targets.

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This Week In Biodiversity: Are We REDD-y?

The first ever methodology for creating wetland carbon projects has recently been made public, while the CBD discussed safeguards and indicators under REDD+. World Biodiversity Day on May 22 was celebrated with a marine and coastal biodiversity theme.

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Massive Ugandan Experiment Asks: Does PES Really Promote Sustainable Land Use?

Most take it as a given that payments for ecosystem services promote good land stewardship, but do they really? A massive project in Uganda aims to answer that by dividing 1400 households into two groups, each of which is being trained in sustainable land use, but only one of which is getting payments.

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Coming To Grips With
The Water-Energy-Food Nexus

Climate change as well as resource scarcity has led environmental conferences and conventions to ask if a water-energy-food, “nexus,” with transparent trade-offs, could be complementary to climate compatible development and useful in managing natural resources.

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Follow the National Mitigation and Ecosystem Banking Conference

Mitigation and Ecosystem Bankers from across the US are gathering in Sacramento, California for the country’s biggest gathering of folks involved or interested in wetland mitigation banking, conservation banking, and issues at the very cutting edge in the non-carbon market world. Becca Madsen of Madsen Environmental is providing day-by-day on the Eko-Eco Blog

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CBD Refines Focus on Biodiversity/Deforestation Nexus

A key scientific working group within the Convention on Biological Diversity deliberated painstakingly last week on a REDD+ recommendation that ultimately emphasized national REDD+ approaches for safeguards and indicators relating to biodiversity – an emphasis that works in tandem with the UNFCCC.

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REDD, Geoengineering, and Coordination Top UN Biodiversity Agenda

The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity is holding a key scientific meeting in Montreal this week to examine everything from the integration of forest carbon into biodiversity to ways of better managing scientific information to the promises and pitfalls of geogenineering.

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IPBES Launch Tops Off Busy Month in Biodiversity

More than 90 Governments launched the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) this past weekend, creating a structure through which biodiversity science can better inform policymaking around the world. The event caps off a busy month in biodiversity, which we’ve encapsulated in our most recent Mitigation Mail newsletter.

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UN Launches Biodiversity Platform for Science and Policy

The earth is losing species at rates not seen for eons, in part because policymakers and scientists aren’t talking to each other.  The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services aims to change that.

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42 Earth Days
40 Years of Ecosystem Markets

Today we celebrate the 42nd Earth Day – an event that also marks nearly 40 years of ecosystem markets.  Here’s a look at some of the highlights we’ve achieved since April 22, 1970.  We’ll leave the low-lights for another day.

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UN Biodiversity Boss Dias Sees More Engagement With Cities, Private Sector

When Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias was appointed Secretary of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity in January, he took responsibility for implementing the CBD’s new ten-year strategic plan.  In a wide-ranging interview with Ecosystem Marketplace, he discusses the plan, the future of biodiversity, and the role of offsetting.

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Supreme Court Rules Against EPA in Wetlands Case

The US Environmental Protection Agency has long responded to violations of the Clean Water Act by issuing administrative compliance orders, which can’t be challenged until the EPA initiates enforcement actions. But last week the Supreme Court found in favor of an Idaho couple who argued that they shouldn’t have to wait til enforcement to get their day in court.

This Week in Biodiversity: A Candidate Species Marketplace Gains Steam

At Ecosystem Marketplace, we’ve been following with interest recent developments in candidate species conservation banking. A ‘candidate species’ is a species that’s recognized as at-risk but not yet officially listed under the Endangered Species Act as threatened or endangered. 

Candidate Species Banking: Insights from a Pilot Initiative

The US Department of the Interior is proposing rulemaking on incentives for voluntary wildlife conservation on private lands, including the creation of a new "Candidate Species Marketplace"  that focuses on at-risk – but not yet officially protected – species. A new pilot led by the World Resources Institute and Advanced Conservation Strategies explores the potential for candidate conservation banking.

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Labels, Markets, and the Law: Salmon Scores a Triple

Ecosystem markets and eco-labeling both aim to incentivize good environmental behavior, and now they’ve been combined into the “Incentives Trifecta”, which aims to promote good stewardship of salmon habitat by using eco-labels to drive consumer demand, ecosystem markets to provided additional income, and regulatory assurances to provide a degree of security. 

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Indigenous Groups Launch Ground-Breaking Environmental Regime

The Brazilian state of Acre has implemented a comprehensive legal framework to support compensation and payments for ecosystem services, and indigenous groups are among the first to begin implementing it. Here’s a look at how the program is being rolled out.

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This Week in MitMail:
Building a Better Market

The last month has been a little – dare we say – controversial for the conservation markets. This month’s MitMail digs into critiques of Australia’s new national Biodiversity Fund, the talk around a tradable quota proposal for whale harvesting, evidence that we’re not doing wetland restoration very well, and some heavyweights asking if we are focusing too much on markets.

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Major Corporates Come Clean on Forest Risk; Big Oil Doesn’t

Companies around the world depend on products that either come from or relate to forests, but few have quantified their dependence.  That’s changing as more and more companies examine their supply chains – with surprising implications for the future of forests and corporate profitability

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Collins, Costanza, Others
Warn of Myopic Focus on Markets

Ecosystem markets have helped bring the value of nature’s services into our economy, but University of Oregon pioneer Robert Costanza and former Office of Ecosystem Services and Markets boss Sally Collins say we need to explore new mechanisms. That’s kicked up plenty of dust on the Ecosystem Commons.

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Three New Standards Aim to Promote Biodiversity Conservation

Biodiversity is notoriously difficult to measure, which makes it difficult to conserve.  Three complementary standards aim to change that by providing guidance for practices from offsetting to sustainable land use to managing protected areas and their surroundings.  Here is a quick overview of the new standards and their goals

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Supreme Court to Hear EPA Water Policy case on Monday

The US Environmental Protection Agency has long responded to violations of the Clean Water Act by issuing administrative compliance orders, which can’t be challenged in court until the EPA initiates enforcement actions.  An Idaho couple says that’s not fair, and their challenge has gone all the way to the Supreme Court.  The case is scheduled to be heard Monday.

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Ensuring Mitigation by Insuring Banks

Mitigation bankers are on the hook financially for projects that fail to deliver the promised environmental benefits, but the systems that cover financial assurance not only tie up cash but fail to generate payments that benefit the environment.  A new insurance mechanism may prove both more cost-effective and greener.  

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2011: The Year in Biodiversity

The first year of the United Nations Decade of Biodiversity was a busy one for Ecosystem Marketplace—including the launch of the Species Banking.com and an update to the State of Biodiversity Markets report.  Here are the highlights from Ecosystem Marketplace’s coverage of a busy year—as well as a chance for you to weigh in on the top stories of the year.  

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This Week in Biodiversity: Bring on the Bean-Counters

As year one in the UN Decade on Biodiversity draws to a close, we think things are looking up. After being bombarded all year with bad news about accelerating biodiversity loss, economic pains, and government one-step-forward, two-steps-back, this month’s Mitigation Mail ends 2011 on a high note.  Read on for the latest from the world of biodiversity – including a reader poll on 2011’s top biodiversity stories.

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New Guide for Measuring Social and Biodiversity Impacts of REDD

REDD talks have gotten bogged down in Durban on the question of how to ensure that the people and species living in the forests don’t get short shrift.  It’s an issue that voluntary markets have been dealing with for years, and this new tool can make the job easier.

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This Week in Biodiversity: Biodiversity in a REDD+ World

At the Ecosystem Marketplace, we’re finding ourselves looking south and for good reason: as work continues on a REDD+ framework, we’re eagerly waiting to see how biodiversity protection might fit into a large-scale forest payments program in developing countries.  Read this week’s MitMail for details on this and more.

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This Week in Biodiversity: Offset Action Down Under

We’re not sure what they’re putting in the water Down Under, but we like it. Quite a few stories on biodiversity market development in Australia popped up this month, from policy developments at both state and national levels to offset requirements in action at proposed projects in Western and Southern Australia.

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Infrastructure: From Shades of Grey to Shades of Green

US President Barack Obama has called for a massive increase in spending to revive our crumblng built infrastructure, but he’s so far failed to mention the equally threatened and far more basic "green infrastructure" that provides our air, water, and food. Ricardo Bayon argues that a little bit of strategic investment here can go a long, long way.

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Rimba Raya Debacle Casts Pall Over Indonesian REDD

Bureaucratic machinations on the part of Indonesia’s Ministry of Forestry have knocked the wind out of a pioneering forest carbon project that had become one of the first to attract big-league financing, lured in part by the promise of a profitable carbon market. Many are now left wondering about the future of REDD and its risky business.

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This Week in Biodiversity: $100 million in Conservation Easements

August is normally a pretty slow news month, but we’re seeing lots of interesting projects these days.  Like the Forest Stewardship Council piloting ecosystem service management indicators in their certification.  And landowners recieving $100 million in conservation easements for 24,000 acres of Florida wetlands.  Plus, the Ecosystem Marketplace and Mission Markets webinar is now available for streaming.

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Cap-and-Trade Beats Slash-and-Shirk Any Day

Nobody wants a regulatory apparatus that is bloated, inefficient, and opaque, but most of us do want clean air, clean water, and a sustainable economy.  Ecosystem markets can support all of these goals in a way that’s lean, efficient, and transparent – something that self-described “fiscal conservatives” should be championing.  So, why aren’t they?

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This Week in Biodiversity: Looking Ahead

As the summer nears its end, our news roundup finds the biodiversity markets looking ahead. With the deadline for Nagoya ratification set for this time next summer and an end to the recession (hopefully) in sight, governments and market participants are laying the groundwork for things to really start to get moving in the near future.