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Ecosystem Marketplace, Marketplace Mitigation Mail

January 29, 2009

From the Editors

The Ecosystem Marketplace's Mitigation Mail
Conservation and Wetland News You Can Bank On

It's been a slow month for biodiversity markets, with low attendance at a Biodiversity and Ecosystem Finance GreenPower conference recently held in New York City and light news days on the web. Ecosystem Marketplace picks up the slack, with original articles putting the spotlight on mitigation banking in Florida (see: Sheri Lewin: The Tie That Binds , and Will Florida Panthers Boost Species Banking? ).

We see West Coast-East Coast links of regional ecosystem market development in a collaborative project called Marketplace for Nature, which brings together efforts in the Willamette (Oregon) and Chesapeake Bay (multi-state watershed stretching from New York to Virginia). Oregon presses ahead with a draft bill on ecosystem services making its way through the state legislature--more on this as the bill moves forward.

No news is... no news, at least for the changes to the US Endangered Species Act pushed through late in the Bush Administration. The LA Times reviews the Obama administration's options for blocking or overturning the changes to the act. Also being challenged are Bush administration shrinkages in critical habitat area of 18 endangered species, in a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity .

In the international arena, the European Union released a mid-term report on the implementation of the EU Biodiversity Action Plan and say they're not likely to hit 2010 biodiversity goals unless major additional efforts are pursued.

For those of you interested in developments in the forestry carbon market, Ecosystem Marketplace recently launched the first phase of ForestCarbonPortal.com , an online information clearinghouse for the terrestrial carbon markets. Although still under construction, the site is active and can be viewed here .

A conference to add to your calendar: the 12th annual National Mitigation & Ecosystem Banking Conference, May 5-8, 2009, Salt Lake City. The conference will focus on "Banking under the New Rule." Learn more and register here .

Enjoy details of these and other biodiversity market stories below.

—The Ecosystem Marketplace Team

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


News

Wanted: Forest Carbon Projects for ForestCarbonPortal.com

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: ForestCarbonPortal.com .

Go to Article


Profile of Sheri Lewin: The Tie That Binds

Not that long ago, wetland banking was just an interesting idea backed by a gaggle of nature-minded entrepreneurs looking to make a buck by saving valuable swamps and marshes. Today, it's a bona fide industry, with sub-sectors and service providers all across the United States. Now species banking looks set to do the same, and it's Sheri Lewin's job to keep them all on the same page.

Go to Article


How to Save the Amazon Rainforest

by Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com

Everyone agrees the tropical rainforests are worth more alive than dead, but our economic and political systems still fail to reflect that, with devastating results. Rhett Butler of mongabay.com takes stock of the emerging market mechanisms for protecting the world's largest rainforests.

Go to Article


Will Florida Panthers Boost Species Banking?

With 93 established banks, California is the undisputed national champion of species banking. So what's up in Florida? It's got significant development pressure, plenty of threatened and endangered species, and a strong wetland mitigation market, yet only two species banks on the ground. That could change soon; Ecosystem Marketplace has the story.

Go to Article


Five Hidden Challenges to Ecosystem Markets

by Dr. Morgan Robertson, University of Kentucky

Fans of the Ecosystem Marketplace often complain of being slammed by the left for cavorting with markets and by the right for snuggling up to government. One prominent social scientist says an important challenge may come from ecosystem market supporters themselves, who fail to recognize the assumptions underlying their own worldviews and those of potential allies.

Go to Editorial by Dr. Morgan Robertson, University of Kentucky


Ecosystem Markets Finish Year on (Relatively) High Note

The global recession may have taken the wind out of prices for carbon offsets in 2008, but the mechanisms necessary for building a truly functioning market for ecosystem services also began falling into place this year. Ecosystem Marketplace takes a brief look at some of this year's highlights.

Go to Article


Mitigation News
Down on palm oil = up on mitigation? (1/26/09)

Blog: Mongabay.com

Writing in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution (vol. 24, no. 2), scientists claim "disinformation campaigns" by palm oil industry downplays threat to forests in Southeast Asia: "A prohibition on the conversion of primary or secondary forests to oil palm is urgently needed to safeguard tropical biodiversity. Until that happens, oil palm might well be the single most immediate threat to the greatest number of species."

Read story here


Oil and gas development conserves land where development would follow (1/24/09)

New Scientist –USA

The Nature Conservancy has developed computer modeling that predicts where development will occur after oil and gas companies develop resources. The modeling allows oil and gas companies to target conservation of habitat to areas under threat of development, thus matching mitigation more closely with impact.

Read story here


Dollars for critters: report on US state and federal spending on endangered species (1/20/09)

Associated Press--USA

States and 31 federal agencies spent $884 million in one year on efforts to save over 1,100 endangered species, according to 2006 figures just released by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Since 1988, Congress has required an annual report of state and federal dollars spent on a species-by-species basis. Top most expensive species since reporting began include: the Mojave desert tortoise, salmon in the Pacific Northwest, and the Stellar sea lion. The range of spending in 2006 was wide: from just $6 spent on a rare plant in Utah (Barneby reed-mustard) to $39 million on the pallid sturgeon.

Read story here


Group sues to expand endangered species critical habitat to former area (1/15/09)

The Desert Sun--CA, USA

The Center for Biological Diversity filed seven lawsuits against Bush administration reductions in critical habitat of 18 endangered species.

Read story here


Tropicana pure premium rainforest (1/15/09)

Tropicanarainforest.com website

Drink a glass of OJ, save a hundred feet of rainforest--that's Tropicana’s new voluntary Rescue the Rainforest promotion that I discovered while sippin' the sweet stuff. The deal works by visiting a website, registering (aka delivering customer information?), and entering a code from special subtly-marked cartons of juice. Tropicana is partnering with CoolEarth to deliver the rainforest protection while working with local communities in the Ashaninka Corridor in Peru. CoolEarth's website says they've protected 5,000 acres so far.

Tropicana's promotion website
CoolEarth website


Bibliography of effects of agricultural practices on fish and wildlife (1/14/09)

Environmental Defense Conservation Incentives Newsletter

"Effects of Agricultural Conservation Practices on Fish and Wildlife is a bibliographical guide to recent scientific literature. Cited works provide information on conservation programs and practices specifically designed to improve fish and wildlife habitat and also those intended for other purposes, such as water quality improvement. Part of a multi-volume set, the guide was developed by the Water Quality Information Center at USDA's National Agricultural Library."

Access Effects of Agricultural Conservation Practices on Fish and Wildlife here
Read newsletter story here


Overview of ecosystem markets (1/13/09)

ENN

Provides an overview of market-based approaches for environmental conservation and published figures on market volumes, including New Carbon Finance's estimate of the carbon market ($118 billion in 2008, to grow to $150 billion in 2009), and Ecosystem Marketplace's estimates of the regulated biodiversity offset market ($3.4 billion annually) and water markets ($500 million by 2010).

Read story here


"Buy, Sell, Trade!" ecosystem services role-playing exercise (1/12/09)

World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) Press Release

The WBCSD and the IUCN have developed a role-playing exercise to help participants understand potential benefits and drawbacks of ecosystem markets. The "game" is free and available online.

More information here


Extreme animal relocation (1/9/09)

A Conservation Blog

In a very strange collision of the wildlife and communications world, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and Salt Lake Tribune have released a testosterone-filled YouTube video highlighting wildlife management and relocation efforts. The opening scene sets the weirdness level at factor 5 with a clip of bighorn sheep wrangling/wrestling, accompanied by metal guitar. Some of the department's relocation/management efforts: bison, mountain goats, moose, and bighorn sheep.

See video here


Wildlands Inc. ready to help Obama infrastructure projects (1/9/09)

PR-Inside.com

Wildlands Inc. says they're ready to provide wetland and species credits to speed delivery of the Obama administration's infrastructure plans in the federal stimulus package.

Read press release here


WRI offers Corporate Ecosystem Services Review Training (1/09)

World Resources Institute (WRI) Press Release

WRI is offering a training on their methodology to devise strategies for managing risks and opportunities related to a company's relationship with ecosystem services. The Corporate Ecosystem Services Review (ESR) training will be offered to consultants on February 10-11, 2009, in Washington DC and via video conferencing.

For information and to register


USDA seeks comments on incentive programs, offers money through grants programs (1/09)

USDA website

The 2008 Farm Bill reauthorized programs providing incentives for landowners for wildlife habitat management, wetland restoration, etc. Some amendments to programs have been made, including: Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) payments extended to non-industrial private forestlands and organic producers; increased EQIP payments to historically underserved producers; exclusion of non-agricultural, non-forested and publicly-owned lands from eligibility for the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP); an additional 10% of the WHIP budget can be used for protection/restoration of "essential" plant/animal habitat. The publishing of interim rules in the Federal Register provides an opportunity for public comment.

The USDA also announced $20 million will be available for Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) in fiscal year 2009.

Read about the programs open for public comment here
Read about CIG grant funding here


Secondary market for conservation easement tax credits available in New Mexico (1/09)

New Mexico Conservation Cooperative website--NM, USA

New Mexico landowners can earn up to $250,000 in tax credits when donating land or conservation easements. These tax credits can be used to reduce the landowner's own tax liability, but it might take years for a taxpayer to use their credits against a state tax liability. Now, there's another option--cash in the tax credit by selling it to someone else to let them reduce their state income tax liability. The option became available in January of 2008, with the first credits being transferred in the final months of the year. It's a brave new-ish world of transfer markets for conservation tax credits. Ecosystem Marketplace previously reported on the precedent set in Colorado and Virginia .

New Mexico Conservation Cooperative website


Marketplace for Nature – developments on voluntary regional markets (1/09)

Internal documents

Two regional ecosystem marketplace efforts in the Willamette and Chesapeake watersheds in the US have joined forces to cooperate on developing a voluntary marketplace for landowners to sell ecosystem services to buyers interested in offsetting their ecological footprints. The cooperative project, deemed Marketplace for Nature, intends to develop a marketplace where buyers and sellers can find each other to transact in credits that offset or mitigate ecological footprints with on-the-ground projects.


EU unlikely to meet 2010 biodiversity goals (12/08)

European Commission press release

"In 2006, the European Commission produced an Action Plan to halt biodiversity loss by 2010, setting out concrete actions and outlining the responsibility of Community institutions and Member States. Today's report is an overview of progress, and represents the last real opportunity for stock-taking before 2010. The report studies four main policy areas: biodiversity in the EU, the EU and global biodiversity, biodiversity and climate change, and the knowledge base. A summary of progress in each Member State is included for the first time.

The main conclusions are that an enormous effort will be required if the EU is to meet its 2010 target, and that intensive efforts will be needed, at the level of both the European Community and the Member States, if the EU is to even approach its objective."

Read press release here
Access reports here

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