News Articles

This Week in Mitigation Mail: A Look at Country Programs

While it’s no longer the International Year of Biodiversity, news on financial incentives for biodiversity conservation has not slowed. One noticeable change is less emphasis on global or multilateral initiatives and more news percolating from the country-level.  Also inside Mitigation Mail is the latest update on Speciesbanking.com, a portal to information on biodiversity offset and compensation programs.

NOTE: This article has been reprinted from Ecosystem Marketplace’s Mitigation Mail newsletter. You can receive this summary of global news and views from the world of Biodiversity automatically in your inbox by clicking here.

7 February 2010 | While it’s no longer the International Year of Biodiversity, news on financial incentives for biodiversity conservation has not slowed. One noticeable change is less emphasis on global or multilateral initiatives and more news percolating from the country-level. Like the UK, which is in the midst of drafting a biodiversity policy. Or Vietnam, which has had successful experience in a pilot Payment for Forest Environmental Services mechanism   and a new Environmental Compensation Decree.

No matter where you live, SpeciesBanking.com will soon be your global portal to information on biodiversity offset and compensation programs around the world as we launch an expanded information portal next month. Along with the US conservation banks already featured on SpeciesBanking.com, we’ll add information on the programs and policies that drive offset, compensation, and banking around the world as well as details on individual biodiversity banks.

If you – like 2,500+ other readers – value Mitigation Mail as a monthly source for biodiversity markets headlines and analysis, help Ecosystem Marketplace (a project of 501c3 Forest Trends) keep its news briefs free. For a suggested $150 / year donation, you or your company can be listed as a Mitigation Mail Supporting Subscriber (with weblink) for one year.

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Finally, we were just informed by Lexis-Nexis that our blog EKO-ECO.com has been nominated as one of the candidates for the LexisNexis Top 50 Environmental Law & Climate Change Blogs for 2011. Lexis has asked for comments from our readers. If you’d like to support our nomination, please leave a comment at the following link.

Read on for more news on incentives for biodiversity conservation.
—The Ecosystem Marketplace Team

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

News

Obama Salmon Joke Highlights Complexity of Coastal Ecosystem Services

US President Barack Obama told his now-famous salmon joke on Tuesday to illustrate the silliness of unnecessarily complex regulation, but the joke says more about the complexity of coastal ecosystems – and the challenge of keeping them intact in the face of growing development – than it does about regulatory dysfunction. It’s a challenge that must – and can – be met by getting the private sector involved in protecting the nature along our coasts.

Read the article here

Beyond Timber: New Economic Opportunities for Southern US Forests

The Southern US could permanently lose tens of millions of acres of forest to development over the next 30 years, which means the loss of ecosystem benefits, including timber, water purification, and recreation opportunities. The World Resources Institute (WRI) has identified some economic incentives that can help the South mitigate the loss of these benefits.

Read more here

Mapping the Value of Watershed Services

More and more cities are coming to realize that they can slash water treatment costs by investing in the maintenance of distant forests and valleys – thereby laying the foundation for a more sustainable water strategy by improving the forest’s ability to capture, store, and filter rainwater. New tools are helping them maximize their investments by identifying the most environmentally valuable pieces of forestland.

Read about the mapping efforts here


Mitigation News

Know how to integrate biodiversity considerations into climate change talks? Tell it to the UN(FCC).

The UN is trying to promote increased dialogue between the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), with the Secretariat of the CBD inviting submissions from parties to the UNFCCC on how to input biodiversity considerations into climate change talks. Submissions are due February 21.

Submit your comments here

New Report: Roots in the Water: Legal Frameworks for Mangrove PES in Vietnam

Forest Trends and the Katoomba Group, as well as partners at GTZ and SNV, are delighted to announce the publication of a report on legal and regulatory frameworks for mangrove management and payments for ecosystem services (PES) in Vietnam. Our research found that mechanisms and political will increasingly exist for PES in mangroves, as well as for ensuring that benefits flow to local people. However, challenges remain. Our study suggests that a sector-based approach cannot ensure effective mangrove management, as disparate interests conflict and erode mangrove protections. Rather, an inclusive, ecosystem-based, cross-sectoral approach to mangrove management is needed. Fortunately, both integrated approaches and PES are increasingly feasible within Vietnam’s mangrove areas, given the support of the national Government in exploring conservation incentives and innovative management arrangements.

For an English translation of announcement click here
And download the report here

New Report: Contracting for Forest Carbon: Elements of a Forest Carbon Purchase Agreement

Forest carbon projects provide an important tool for preventing and reversing deforestation. While there is the potential for significant benefits, these transactions present challenging issues and legal questions. As a result, transaction costs and legal fees remain significant and unpredictable. Moreover, for sellers who are new to commercial transactions, time and costs of reaching agreements can be high, and adverse effects a serious concern. In an effort to provide easily accessible information on the contractual aspects of forest carbon agreements, The Duke University School of Law Environmental Law and Policy Institute, Forest Trends, and the Katoomba Group created have issued a new report.

The report provides contracting parties with important background information for contract negotiation and drafting, as well as a familiarity with contractual language and format, via a step-by-step discussion of the clauses of an emission reductions purchase agreement (ERPA). The discussion highlights issues that will arise and options for negotiation, while sample contract clauses illustrate the discussion.

Download the report here

Biodiversity in the UK

We covered developments in the UK’s potential biodiversity offsetting policy last month, noting that the new government coalition and their mandate for reduced government regulation may be the perfect setting for the introduction of that kind of conservation mechanism. General pros and cons of the potential biodiversity offset rules are reviewed in a good article from PropertyWeek.com.

Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) was pushing things forward, hosting a seminar to discuss the scope for implementing biodiversity offsets. DEFRA reiterated their preference for a voluntary approach – no surprise with their mandate for reduced government. UK-based Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, however, aren’t on board with a voluntary system: “we do not consider the voluntary, opt-in system outlined will match the Government’s commitments and aspirations in respect of halting and restoring biodiversity loss” (2 February RSPB response to DEFRA). DEFRA plan on releasing a white paper in the spring of this year.

Read the article from Propertyweek.com here
DEFRA website on biodiversity offsetting
And read about POST’s seminar here

How to measure your firm’s biodiversity footprint

There has been a noticeable increase in awareness among businesses and the public about a payment for ecosystem services as a conservation model. The Guardian’s David Burrows has written an article pointing out why businesses should be interested in biodiversity conservation, rounding up sustainability consultants and citing the bible of business and biodiversity, the TEEB reports.

Read the article from The Guardian here

Implementation of the ‘new conservation paradigm’

The Convention on Biological Diversity’s Programme of Work on Protected Areas and the Durban Action Plan, often called “the new conservation paradigm”, are aimed at taking into account the rights of indigenous peoples and communities who depend on protected lands for their livelihoods. However, the implementation of those measureshas drawn criticism for being carried out incompletely. In advance of a World Conservation Congress summit in Korea in 2012 that continue the Programme a meeting was held New Zealand to address the issues the Programme has faced so far

Read about the ‘new conservation paradigm’ here

Yasuni: Will countries really pony up to pay avoided profits of *not* developing oil and gas?

Ecuador has been working on a deal to forego oil and gas profits from drilling in the Yasuni National Park (…and the carbon emissions that would have resulted – estimated at 407 million metric tons of CO2) and in exchange, rich countries would pay to protect biodiversity. For background on this project, see this August 2009 Ecosystem Marketplace story http://www.ecosystemmarketplace.com/pages/dynamic/article.page.php?page_id=6925&section=home&eod=1. From Ecuador’s point of view, it’s no sweetheart deal – $3.6 billion is half of what they expected to reap from oil and gas development.

 

August news articles indicated that Germany had pledged $383 million, Spain reported to be putting up $250 million, and Belgium, Italy, France, Sweden, and Switzerland were said to be interested in contributing. However, our local source notes that Germany has withdrawn its offer and only about $1,520,000 has been collected. Kelly Swing, director of the Tiputini Biodiversity Station at University of San Francisco de Quito, notes: “Out of fear that we might jinx it, most [environmentalists] haven’t even been willing to hint at its possible failure… President Correa says he will evaluate its accumulation rate in a few months. If more money does not come, he could withdraw the offer.”

Read the article from Nature here

US$4.46 million in Payments for Forest Environmental Services (PFES) in Vietnamese pilot program

Vietnam has been piloting a Payments for Forest Environmental Services (PFES) mechanism, with support from the Asia Regional Biodiversity Conservation Program (a USAID project). The project was piloted from 2009-2010 in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong. US$4.46 million in payments were collected from hydropower plants and tourism businesses in Lam Dong and a water company in Ho Chi Minh City. The funds were put into a forest protection and development fund which disbursed payments to “22 forest management boards and forestry businesses as well as 9,870 mostly ethnic households to conduct forest protection activities. These activities have resulted in enhanced of more than 200,000 hectares of threatened forest. Last year, the average annual payment per household was $540- 615, an almost 400 percent increase over previous forest protection payments by the Vietnamese government.” The PFES mechanisms is expected to go national this year, improving “more than 12 million hectares of forest and the improvement of livelihoods of over 20 million people, many the most marginalized and poor.

Read more here

Green Economy has that… je ne said quoi

In IUCN’s January World Conservation magazine, David Huberman discusses the recent darling of the environmental world – the idea of a “green economy.” What grew from a reaction against the traditional economic model that preceded the global economic collapse has now attracted government (Korea, Germany, South Africa) and multi-lateral adoption. But just what the “green economy” *is* is still up for debate. The UNEP, who launched a ‘Green Economy Initiative,’ have no definition of the idea.

Read more here

Trash master makes room for critters

The waste, recycling, and bio-energy company, Waste Management, has met its wildlife habitat goal ten years ahead of schedule. In its 2010 sustainability report, the company claims that it has received Wildlife Habitat Council certifications at 100 landfills, up from 24 certifications in its 2008 report. The company has also increased the number of acres it sets aside for conservation and wildlife habitat up to 25,000. WM claims it is North America’s largest recycler and aims to triple the amount it manages to more than 20 million tons a year by 2020. The report also claims that WM produced more than 60 percent of the country’s renewable energy from landfill gas and 23 percent of its energy from waste-to-energy projects. Although WM appears to be making significant strides in improving its environmental performance, it still has not achieved its goal of zero environmental compliance violations but improve from 95 violations in 2008 to 86 in 2009.

Read more here

Conservation’s catch-22: No money to buy more acres

Conservationists find themselves in a bit of a conundrum: the economic downturn has on the one hand made available land coveted by conservationists, but on the other hand reduced the means of conservation organizations to acquire that land. In Florida, as tax revenues have fallen, organizations are looking to private philanthropy to pick up the slack, but there has been a downturn in private donations as well. In an effort to raise funds, some local governments are looking to create wetland mitigation banks, allowing them to sell credits that would fund the purchase of more conservation land.

Read about the conundrum here

Scientists: Denmark’s pledge to biodiversity a fiasco

To most people, Denmark is probably seen as an environmentally friendly country, with progressive policies designed to conserve nature. But Denmark’s Biodiversity 2010: Status, Development and Threats, a report released by the National Environmental Research Institute, paints a different picture: despite lip-service for its commitment to sustainability, Denmark has faced increased biodiversity loss – a trend that is seen globally. While the report hasn’t generated any policy changes that will reverse the trend, it is sure to strike a chord with the eco-conscious Danes.

Read about Denmark’s biodiversity troubles here

New Environmental Compensation Decree in Vietnam

Decree No. 113/2010/ND-CP on environmental compensation was issued on December 3, 2010. This announcement mentions that metrics have been developed to calculate damages and determine compensation, which would go into a government fund to be distributed to remediation measures. While it is unclear exactly how this decree relates to Vietnam’s 2009 Biodiversity Law, Ecosystem Marketplace will following up with further details in the future.

Chesapeake case studies on bundling forest benefits

“Bundling” and “stacking” are often discussed in theoretical policy debates. In A Sustainable Chesapeake: Better Models for Conservation, we find a compilation of 31 case studies from across the Chesapeake Bay watershed that provides a detailed look at conservation-finance experiences on the ground, offering how-to guidance on ways in which nitrogen nutrient reduction, riparian ecosystem restoration, carbon sequestration, and no-till farmland, can be overlaid to with legal context and novel funding streams for farmland preservation. One case study in particular, Earning Multiple Credits for a Forested Riparian Buffer, provides a successful example for stacking and bundling multiple forest ecosystem services.

Hat tip to the Forest Carbon Newsletter
Access full report or download individual chapters from the Conservation Fund’s website here

US MITIGATION NEWS

Levee district project to build wetlands moving forward

The parish government of Houma, Louisana are scheduled to continue their project to build a barrier of wetlands along Bayou Terrebonne. The district is building 73 acres of wetlands at a cost of US$8 million (that’s a cost of over $100,000/acre) to offset damage from a section of levee that is under construction near Cocodrie.

Read more about the Houma project here

US: Updated draft national wetland plant list available for review and comment

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is asking for public comments on its updated National Wetland Plant List (NWPL). The list of wetland plants gives wetland ratings that are used by federal, state agencies, the scientific and academic communities, and the private sector in wetland delineations, the planning and monitoring of wetland mitigation and restoration sites. Comments must be recieved within 60 days.

Read more here
Read the public notice here

Wetland mitigation activities at Center Bayou exceed 2,800 acres

Resource Environmental Solutions received Army Corps of Engineers approval to sell credits from the Center Bayou Wetland Mitigation Bank in Grant Parish, Louisiana to service Haynesville Shale operators and infrastructure providers.

Read more here

EVENTS

EU Announces Information Sessions on Environmental Financing through LIFE+

LIFE+ is the Financial Instrument for the Environment of the European Commission. The next call for proposals will be launched in February 2011, with up to €265.36 million available for co-financing projects under three headings: nature and biodiversity; environment policy and governance; and information and communication. Information sessions will be held on: 25 February 2011 in London, UK; 1-2 March 2011 in Brussels, Belgium; and 2 March in Luxembourg.

Read more here

Ecosystem Markets: Making them Work

WRI and AFF host the fourth annual national conference on ecosystem markets. June 28 July 1, 2011, Madison, Wisconsin. The National Conference on Ecosystem Restoration- August, 2011.

 

Read more about the conference here

UNEP-FI Global Roundtable “The Tipping Point: Sustained Stability in the Next Economy”

UNEP FI’s 2011 Global Roundtable is the perfect opportunity to cast a spotlight on what the sustainable development agenda means for the world’s finance, investment and insurance sectors. 19-20 October 2011, Washington, DC.

 

Read more here

JOBS

Business and Biodiversity Offsets Programme Administrator, Forest Trends

Forest Trends is seeking a Business and Biodiversity Offsets Programme Administrator (BBOP) to administer their ambitious and growing international programme. Note that the deadline for applications is 4 Februrary 2011.

 

Read more about the position here

 

Green-e Marketplace Analyst, Center for Resource Solutions

Center for Resource Solutions and Green-e Marketplace are seeking a full-time Green-e Marketplace Analyst to assist with program implementation and management.


Read more about the position here

Manager, Environment & Conservation Assessments,The Walt Disney Company

The Walt Disney Company is seeking a Manager, Environment & Conservation Assessments, to work on a variety of environmental projects spanning Disney’s diverse global operations.

 

Read more about the position here

 

KPMG – Multiple Openings

KPMG is seeking individuals for several positions within their expanding Climate Change & Sustainability Practice and Infrastructure Practice.

 

Read more about the positions here

 

Environmental Consulting & Management Specialist, CH2M HILL

CH2M HILL is seeking an Environmental Consulting & Management Specialist for their Calgary, Alberta, office.

 

Read more about the position here

WWF Global – Multiple Openings

WWF Global has several openings in different locations within the WWF network.

 

Read more about the positions here

Additional resources

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