News Articles

imgv2_7

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.

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.

This article was originally posted in the Mitigation Mail newsletter. Click here to read the original.

 

17 March 2015 | Greetings! Since the 1930s, Louisiana has lost an area of wetlands equivalent to the size of Delaware, and it continues to lose a football field of wetlands every hour. If current loss rates continue, by the year 2040 more than one million acres – or nearly another Delaware – of wetlands will be gone – and the carbon stored in these ecosystems will be released into the atmosphere.
But a new study says it’s possible to not only restore the wetlands – but generate a lot of money doing so: Wetland restoration in Louisiana could be worth between $540 million and $1.6 billion dollars over the next five decades, according to the Louisiana Blue Carbon study.

 

The study, supported by Entergy Corporation through their Environmental Initiatives Fund, and prepared in partnership by New Orleans-based Tierra Resources and Portland-based nonprofit The Climate Trust, looks at Louisiana’s potential to produce blue carbon offsets.

 

But the high costs of wetland restoration may surpass the value of carbon finance in projects – which means that project developers are looking at pooling finance from other quarters: stacking environmental credits, eligible types of conservation easements, and federal funds are all on the table.

 

Leveraging finance across ecosystem markets and funding sources is like a unicorn: often talked-about but rarely seen. But activities in the Gulf – and in California, where rice farmers this year for the first time may be able to draw finance for conservation from both a new habitat exchange and the California carbon market – suggest that we may be getting closer to a successful sighting.

 

Conservation finance got more good news with the launch of the European Investment Bank’s new Natural Capital Financing Facility, which will seek to support sustainable ventures – and attract additional investors – with an initial US$135M purse.

 

And it wouldn’t be Mitmail without some lawsuits and colorful language. This month, they’re in New South Wales, California, and Alaska.

 

Enjoy!

—The Ecosystem Marketplace Team

 

If you have comments or would like to submit news stories, write to us at mitmail@ecosystemmarketplace.com.

 

US Gulf Coast Prime For Wetlands Restoration

Since the 1930s, Louisiana has lost an area of wetlands equivalent to the size of Delaware, and it continues to lose a football field of wetlands every hour. If current loss rates continue, by the year 2040 more than one million acres of wetlands will be gone – and the carbon stored in these ecosystems will be released into the atmosphere.

 

But what if there is another way? While a large degree of wetland loss in the Gulf of Mexico is inevitable due to the dual forces of land subsidence and sea level rise, project developer Tierra Resources and utility Entergy are optimistic that wetland restoration is possible in some areas. Tierra Resources estimated that Louisiana has the potential to produce 1.8 million carbon offsets per year, or almost 92 million offsets over 50 years, according to the Louisiana Blue Carbon study. Wetland restoration in Louisiana could be worth between $540 million and $1.6 billion dollars over the next five decades, the study finds.

 

Learn more at Ecosystem Marketplace.

 

Opinion: Can Putting A Price On Environmental Risk Mainstream Corporate Sustainability?

As it stands, some companies take environmental issues and sustainability seriously but the majority don’t. In a new opinion piece, Ivo Mulder, the REDD+ Green Economy Advisor for UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme), argues how quantifying environmental risks in monetary terms may be necessary to convince the bulk of corporations to follow suit.

Read it here.

 

Researchers Say Ecotourism In Protected Areas Delivers 60:1 Annual Return On Costs

The world’s national parks and nature reserves receive around eight billion visits every year, according to the first study into the global scale of nature-based tourism in protected areas. The paper, by researchers in Cambridge, UK, Princeton, New Jersey, and Washington, DC, published in the open access journal PLOS Biology, is the first global-scale attempt to answer the question of how many visits protected areas receive, and what they might be worth in terms of tourist dollars.

 

The authors of the study say that this number of visits could generate as much as US$600 billion of tourism expenditure annually – a huge economic benefit which vastly exceeds the less than US$10 billion spent safeguarding these sites each year.

 

Scientists and conservation experts describe current global expenditure on protected areas as “grossly insufficient”, and have called for greatly increased investment in the maintenance and expansion of protected areas – a move which this study shows would yield substantial economic return – as well as saving incalculably precious natural landscapes and species from destruction.

Learn more.

EU NatCap Financing Facility Is Ready for Business

With the intention of attracting investments from a variety of public and private sources, the European Investment Bank (EIB) launched the Natural Capital Financing Facility last month, one of two pilot projects to grow investments in climate adaptation and energy conservation. The Natural Capital Financing Facility has pockets USD$135M deep for investing in – and attracting investors to – sustainability projects like forestry management.

Read more from Yahoo News.

 

Cozy Relationship Between Government and Mining Company Irks Australian Public

A controversial mine expansion in Australia grew more contentious when a media organization released information suggesting that the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) rubber-stamped offsets for the Warkworth expansion. The organization claimed the OEH approved the mine’s biodiversity offsets for clearing 600 acres of vegetation that contained endangered woodlands prior to actually calculating the value of the offsets. The area proposed for new mining itself was actually set aside as a biodiversity offset for prior impacts. An OEH spokesperson responded by saying that the calculation was done before certifying the mine.

 

Meanwhile, the Labor Party is promising that if elected it would scrap the Coalition’s current biodiversity policy in favor of a policy allowing only “like-for-like” offsets on land “within a reasonable geographic proximity” to the impacted area.

The Sydney Morning Herald has the story.

 

Mitigation Bankers, Locals Spar Over Recreating Wild Lands

Turning developed property back into natural habitat for mitigation purposes has become profitable in places like southern California where so many wetlands have been destroyed. As there is ample opportunity and money to be made, mitigation bankers have been busy buying agricultural land and business properties and converting them into mitigation banks. But owners of a shuttered golf course who are attempting to turn it into a bank have met with opposition from local residents concerned about the effect on local property values. Supporters counter that most opposition stems from misinformation, and that these issues can be ironed out through better community engagement.

Learn more.

 

BSI Unveils a Business Standard on Biodiversity

UK-based standards group BSI just released a new standard for business on biodiversity management. BS 8583 Biodiversity, Guidance for businesses on managing the risks and opportunities lays out a framework for setting targets on a local, national and global level, and managing biodiversity across normal operations, supply chain management, and land/premises management.

Read a press release.

 

Mitigation Roundup

Work is underway at Wildlands’ new San Luis Rey Mitigation Bank in Oceanside, San Diego County, California.

 

Cadiz Inc. saw its 7,400-acre Fenner Valley Desert Tortoise Conservation Bank in California’s San Bernardino County approved early this month.

 

A reservoir in Clitheroe in Lancashire, England, will be restored as a nature reserve, with funds coming from via the Environment Bank’s biodiversity offset pilot work.

 

 

‘Counterfeit’ Credits of Alaskan Mitigation Bank Drive Lawsuit Against the Corps

Last month, a mitigation banker operating out of Alaska sued the US Army Corps of Engineers for what he says is a violation of the Clean Water Act (CWA). The banker, Scott Walther, argues that in 2012 the Corps steered a developer in need of wetland mitigation away from his bank, which is authorized to sell credits to CWA permit holders, to a bank operated by the Matanuska-Susitna borough that Walther says has no business selling credits. Walther says the Su-Knik Mitigation bank’s credits were awarded in violation of the Final Rule. In the lawsuit, Walther is seeking an injunction blocking the Corps from directing CWA permit holders to buy bank credits fro Su-Knik until the bank comes into CWA compliance.

Read it at Law360 (registration required).

 

Can Colombia Create the World’s Biggest Ecological Corridor?

With the cooperation of its neighbors, Brazil and Venezuela, Colombia has plans to create the world’s largest ecological corridor. It would span over 135M hectares of Amazon rainforest ,helping to slow global warming by reducing deforestation and preserving the region’s biodiversity. Norway and Germany are pitching in as well: they have agreed to US$65M worth of finance for an Amazon protection program. He plans to announce the eco-corridor initiative, called ‘Triple A’, at COP21 in Paris later this year.

Learn more.

 

Cali Farmers See Opportunities in Habitat, Carbon

A farmer in California’s Central Valley will leave rice fields flooded for part of this season, to provide habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds, and Chinook salmon. John Brennan, who oversees the 1,700-acre Knaggs Ranch, says he hopes to be able to market these benefits on the Central Valley Habitat Exchange, a new mechanism channeling finance to landowners undertaking voluntary conservation. Funds are expected to come from private and public investors, including some with mitigation or restoration requirements. Brennan also has his eye on the California carbon market: this spring, the California Air Resources Board will likely approve the first standard for carbon sequestration from rice farming.

Learn more at the EDF blog.

 

Locals, Activists Protest to Save Australia’s Native Vegetation Act

The independent review board that recommended that Australia’s New South Wales government repeal the Native Vegetation Act is getting pushback from landowners and a local environmental group. Critics particularly take issue with the review’s suggestion that land conserved under voluntary conservation agreements (VCA) can be used as offsets for biodiversity loss elsewhere. “We are horrified to think that at some time in the future our VCA-protected land in this remarkable rainforest could become a tool to enable vegetation destruction in other areas,” said the secretary of the Gerroa Environmental Protection Society. But supporters of the repeal argue they are looking for fair policy that balances environmental stewardship with economic growth. And the review board claimed the Native Vegetation Act didn’t meet expectations for biodiversity conservation in the state.

The Kiama Independent has coverage.

 

Alberta Starting to Rethink Wetland Incentives

Researchers at the University of Alberta plan to pilot a reverse auction mechanism for wetland restoration in the province. The provincial government will fund the effort, which aims to test out market approaches to restoring wetlands. Offering payments to landowners from a designation restoration fund isn’t working, says U of A’s Peter Boxall: 90% of wetlands around Calgary have been lost, and 70% of wetlands in the ‘white zone’ (e.g. the developed part of Alberta).

The Edmonton Journal has coverage.

 

To Finance Green Growth, Namibia Needs A Little Green

Namibia has taken strides to protect its biodiversity: It’s one of the few countries that have a clause in the constitution targeting biodiversity management. And between 2001 and 2010, it implemented its National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) to international recognition as one of the best first generation plans. Namibia is now undertaking implementing the second phase of its plan, which aims to promote the sustainable use of natural resources by mainstreaming biodiversity conservation across the government and private sector. But funding is a big impediment, the Minister of Environment and Tourism notes, as a conservative estimate for implementing NBSAP2 costs over US$40M. The Minister emphasized the importance of donor aid and exploring innovative finance as means to finance implementation.

All Africa has coverage.

 

Landscape Level Environment Project Saves Three Birds with One Stone in Vietnam

Vietnam is moving forward with a project integrating biodiversity, climate resilience and forestry management. The national government approved the “Integrating Biodiversity Conservation, Climate Resilience and Sustainable Forest Management in Trung Truong Son Landscapes” project, which is comprised of two parts. One is to manage biodiversity and forests in the region’s protected areas and their buffer zones. The other part is to implement landscape conservation at the community-level in the surrounding areas, which will promote sustainable livelihoods and reduce the bad environmental habits that contribute to climate change.

Learn more.

 

CEMEX and BirdLife Renew Partnership

CEMEX and BirdLife International renewed their partnership for another three years. The two groups have worked together since 2007 to improve understanding and monitoring of conservation actions at CEMEX’s quarry sites. The partnership has supported projects in Mexico, the UK, and France, and collaborated on a number of company-level initiatives.

Read a press release.

 

EVENTS

 

 

2015 National Mitigation & Ecosystem Banking Conference

The 2015 National Mitigation & Ecosystem Banking Conference, scheduled for May 5-8, 2015, in Orlando, Florida is the only national conference that brings together key players in this industry, and offers quality hands-on sessions and training as well as important regulatory updates. Proven to be “the” place to gain insights, explore new markets and learn from sessions, the 2015 Conference will continue its focus on educational content – both advanced and basic sessions as well as moderated exchanges and a variety of mini workshops that help to connect bankers, regulators, users and others involved in this industry. Pre and post- event workshops include Primer 101, Stream Banking, Long-Term Stewardship, Financing & Valuation and more. Hear perspectives from bankers, regulators and users, get updated on regulations, legislation and legal challenges, participate in field trips and benefit from the many opportunities to network! With a high attendance this past year, we anticipate a record attendance in Orlando and encourage you to make plans to submit to present, attend, even sponsor or exhibit! Orlando FL, USA. 5-8 May 2015.

Learn more here.

 

SOCAP 15

We are a network of heart-centered investors, entrepreneurs, and social impact leaders who believe in an inclusive and socially responsible economy to address the world’s toughest challenges. Since 2008, SOCAP has created a platform where social impact leaders can connect and present their ideas to a global audience. Our annual flagship event in San Francisco is the largest conference for impact investors and social entrepreneurs and has drawn more than 10,000 people.

6-9 October 2015. San Francisco CA, USA.

Learn more here.

 

2015 Conservation Finance Boot Camp

The Conservation Finance Network at Island Press is pleased to announce the 2015 Conservation Finance Boot Camp training course being held at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies in partnership with the Yale Center for Business and the Environment. Now in its ninth year, this intensive week-long course aims to help professionals utilize innovative and effective financing strategies for land resource conservation, restoration, and stewardship. The course will offer in-depth information on trends and opportunities in public funding, private investment capital, bridge financing and loans, gifts and grants, income from the land, and monetized ecosystem services. There will be a strong emphasis on practical, hands-on tools and lessons from relevant case studies. Attendees will have an opportunity to consult with conservation finance experts on projects or problems from their work. The course will also serve to convene a peer network of committed conservation professionals working on similar issues across the nation. Past attendees have included U.S. and international conservationists, foundation leaders, land trust board members, executive directors, private investors, business executives, and academics. Opportunities for networking will be built in throughout the week in order to foster long-term professional relationships and support networks among attendees and presenters. 1-5 June 2015. New Haven CT, USA.

Learn more here.

 

JOB LISTINGS

 

Program Manager of Marine Ecosystem Services

European Institute of Marine Studies – Plouzané, France

The candidate(s) will work with Linwood Pendleton, the International Chair of Excellence at the European Institute of Marine Studies/Laboratory of Excellence of the Sea/Center for Marine Law and Economics/University of West Brittany to build an international program on policy, management, and science regarding human uses of the sea and coast. The program already has attracted over a million euros of research investment in just the last 6 months. The work of the International Chair focuses particularly on new and innovative science and policies to help better manage the ecosystem services provided by marine and coastal areas and to better coordinate development, conservation, and management to balance the use of living and non-living resources. The International Chair is a fundamental contributor to a proposed United Nations University for the Ocean. Research areas pursued by the International Chair and his team currently include the a Global Environmental Facility project on Blue Forests (i.e. blue carbon), a new European Commission study (ECOPOTENTIAL) that uses Earth Observation and Ecosystem Services data to monitor the effectiveness of protected areas, as well as projects that focus on the impacts of ocean acidification, mapping and visualizing ecosystem services, and managing resources in the high seas and deep sea. The successful candidate(s) will assist the Chair in all aspects of his work including (but not limited to) research, scholarly and popular writing and presentations, seminar and workshop planning, grant proposal writing, and project and grant management.

Learn more here.

 

Land Conservation Manager

The Nature Conservancy – South central Pennsylvania, USA

The Pennsylvania Chapter of The Nature Conservancy seeks a knowledgeable, energetic conservationist for the position of Land Conservation Manager. The position, based in south central Pennsylvania, offers the opportunity to join the staff of one of the largest, most successful conservation organizations in the world. The Nature Conservancy’s global success can be measured by the protection of 117 million acres in over 30 countries. The Pennsylvania Chapter is known in the Conservancy and beyond as a leader in innovative, effective strategies that benefit both people and nature at a scale that matters. The Land Conservation Manager will lead the Chapter’s efforts to protect and restore high priority areas in Pennsylvania, including lands along one of Pennsylvania’s most spectacular and scenic natural features, the Kittatinny Ridge, and lands within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

Learn more here.

 

Environmental Finance Officer

International Union for Conservation of Nature – Vaud, Switzerland

The Environmental Finance Officer will undertake research and analytical work at the interface of economics, development, business and the environment. Contributions will be in the form of applied research (data collection and analysis), drafting of policy papers and reports for knowledge uptake, and providing environmental finance insights throughout IUCN programmes and projects. Broad thematic areas of work include:

 

  • Apply finance analytical tools and financing lenses to issues affecting biodiversity and ecosystems and their management and decision support;
  • Explore and develop innovative public and private sector financial mechanisms to support conservation and sustainable development initiatives;
  • Assess the role and contributions of financial mechanisms in equitable benefit-sharing for vulnerable natural resource dependent communities;
  • Follow the debates and developments on resource mobilization and sustainable finance in global policy fora such as UNFCCC, CBD, SDG, etc.;
  • Promote uptake of existing knowledge and generate new knowledge on environmental finance.

Learn more here.

 

Senior Program Associate, Ecosystem Services

Winrock International – Arlington VA, USA

The Senior Program Associate will be responsible for assisting in the implementation of projects related to ecosystem services including climate change mitigation and adaptation in the agriculture, forestry, and other land uses (AFOLU) sector. Responsibilities will include: performing field data compilation and collection, especially in relation to forest carbon and ecosystem services valuation; analysis and synthesis of data and information on land use and forests; tracking national and international activities in related fields; document and report writing; and assisting in holding capacity building training sessions on subjects related to climate change and ecosystem services.

Learn more here.

 

Program Associate, Ecosystem Services

Winrock International – Arlington VA, USA

The Program Associate will be responsible for assisting in the implementation of projects related to ecosystem services including climate change mitigation and adaptation in the agriculture, forestry, and other land uses (AFOLU) sector. Responsibilities will include: performing field data compilation and collection, especially in relation to forest carbon and ecosystem services valuation; analysis and synthesis of data and information on land use and forests; tracking national and international activities in related fields; document and report writing; and assisting in holding capacity building training sessions on subjects related to climate change and ecosystem services.

Learn more here.

Additional resources

Please see our Reprint Guidelines for details on republishing our articles.