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From the Editors 

Perhaps the offical political shift on biodiversity policy in the United States arrived late last month when a Donald Trump White House rescinded the Presidential Memorandum on mitigation from 2015 and directed federal agencies to reevaluate how their conservation strategies impact job creation. 

Following this announcement, which was part of an Executive Order on energy independence and economic growth, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke withdrew the Obama-era Order 3330, which called for Interior to develop a department-wide and landscape-level mitigation strategy. 

Washington may not be the biodiversity-friendly spot it appeared to be one year ago, but mitigation industry players are pressing on with their day jobs. Former miners in coal country are finding work repairing streams. Adam Riggsbee of Texas-based RiverBank Conservation continues to restore degraded waterways, creating the "Mona Lisa" of stream restoration, or so we hear.

Conservation finance, and in particular mitigation banking, is a quickly expanding field that offers opportunities for investors to generate great risk-adjusted returns while also having a positive environmental impact,” said Ben Guillon, Chief Executive Officer of CIM and Chief Investment Officer at WRA.

WRA recently consulted land restoration company The Earth Partners on a deal to acquire a portfolio of stream and wetland mitigation banks from Ecosystem Renewal.  

Meanwhile, new research explores the benefits of conservation investments and a renowned ecologist describes the changing face of conservation in China.  

And finally, some exciting news - our State of Biodiversity Markets report is BACK! Are you a project developer, offset buyer, broker, or retailer in the biodiversity offsets and compensation space? We need YOU to tell us what you're up to, so we can provide a comprehensive picture of global markets' size, scale, and opportunities for growth.

Organizations who respond to our survey will have the opportunity to be featured in this newsletter, in a report directory of offsets & compensation suppliers, and in our online project inventories. All data is strictly confidential and reported only in the aggregate.

Submit data on 2016 activity here or get in touch with us to talk about your project. We really, really want to hear from you.

Happy reading,

The Ecosystem Marketplace team.

 
   

Latest News

When Your Day Job Is Restoring Streams And Saving Species

More than 220,000 Americans work in the $25 billion Restoration Economy, but few outside the sector understand how it works. Here’s how one Texas rancher tapped environmental finance to pay off debt from the expansion of his ranch and revive a degraded river that runs through it.

Ecosystem Marketplace has the story.

How Trump’s Budget Hits The Environment, Agency-By-Agency

US President Donald Trump’s proposed 2018 budget deals the environment death by a thousand cuts scattered across at least seven and probably more agencies. Here is a list of the cuts we’ve identified so far, and an open invitation to let us know if we’ve missed anything or gotten anything wrong.

Get the details.

The Right Combination

The COMBO Project is a biodiversity initiative focused on conservation, impact mitigation and biodiversity in four African countries: Guinea, Madagascar, Mozambique and Uganda. Partners in the four-year project seek to leverage the mitigation hierarchy to reduce the impacts of development on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Last month, the Business and Biodiversity Offsets Programme's Community of Practice hosted a webinar on the project to discuss pilot projects with development companies, collecting biodiversity data and landscape level planning.

Check out the webinar.

Amazonian Tribe Shares The Secret Of Treating Snake Bites

The Amazonian Yawanawa tribe has successfully fought off deadly snake bites with medicinal plants for generations. This knowledge is in danger of disappearing, however, which has community health and climate ramifications. That’s why the Yawanawa, with help from Forest Trends and partners, are working to preserve this traditional knowledge with living pharmacies and other activities.

Read more.

Of Milk And Money, Part Five: The Art Of The Conservation Deal

The Forest Trends Supply Change initiative has identified more than 100 companies that plan to include smallholder farmers in their sustainability efforts, but such inclusion is easier to conceive than to achieve. Here’s how Danone, Mars, and a handful of other companies are teaming up with regional NGOs to deliver on that promise.

Keep reading at Ecosystem Marketplace.

HERE’S THE DEAL

Acquiring Opportunity for Wetland Restoration

Following an acquisition of stream and wetland mitigation banks from Ecosystem Renewal, land restoration company The Earth Partners now has an opportunity to protect thousands of acres of habitat for waterfowl and other species. TEP is new to the mitigation banking realm but its executives say they have plans to expand their investments in the space.

Learn more here.

Aiding or Breaking the Private Mitigation Bank  

Efforts are underway in Michigan to develop a mitigation banking system that will sell wetland credits at a lower cost to public entities and some agriculture producers while conserving ecosystems on a larger scale. But some private bankers in the state are concerned that these projects developed by public agencies will cost them credit sales.

Great Lakes Echo has the story.

POLICY WATCH

A Mit Policy Rollback in the US

A March 28 Executive Order rescinded the United States' landmark Presidential Memorandum from 2015 on private investment in conservation and directed agencies to reevaluate the impact their mitigation policies have on job growth. Meanwhile, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke withdrew an Obama-era policy that sought to create department-wide and landscape level strategies to protect species. 

Get details from the National Association of Conservation Districts and JD Supra.

Rethinking Conservation in China

The Chinese federal government is pushing for a level of investment in nature that's completely unprecedented, says Stanford University ecologist and ecosystem services pioneer Gretchen Daily. In an interview last month with Yale Environment 360, she discusses China's use of payments for ecosystem services progrems and conservation challenges in a nation where virtually no land remains undisturbed.

Read Gretchen Daily’s interview.

MARKET MUSINGS

Not All Restoration is Created Equal

Are we good at restoring ecosystems? A watershed ecologist from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, isn't sure we have it figured out. He questions the true equivalency of credits in the restoration industry, and whether trading is indeed delivering no net loss or net gain for the environment.

Keep reading at the Ohio Valley ReSource.

A New Banking Institution Comes to Town

Working Lands Investment Partners is proposing building a wetland mitigation bank in the New York town of DeWitt. The bank will enable both industrial growth and a type of investment that's in limited supply in New York, the investment management firm says.

Read more at Eagle News.

NEW RESEARCH

How Going Green is Good

In the wake of federal orders to rescind biodiversity policies in the United States, authors of a new report explore ways in which conservation and mitigation policy can lead to greater benefits for people. Published by the Center for American Progress, the report provides an overview of recent trends in conservation investments.

Read the report

A Bird’s-Eye View

The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) have begun aerial surveys by helicopter to monitor lesser prairie chicken population trends. WAFWA also released a new report that focuses on the progress the group’s conservation plan has made in the last year.

Read more on the aerial surveys from the High Plains Journal.

The Book of Ecosystem Services

A new eight-chapter book explores theories and methods of ecosystem services mapping. Published by the academic publisher Pensoft and compiled by leading experts in the space, authors attempted to write on the subject in a way that reached beyond the research community.

Science Magazine has more.

   
   

ABOUT FOREST TRENDS' ECOSYSTEM MARKETPLACE

Ecosystem Marketplace is an initiative of Forest Trends, a tax-exempt corporation under Section 501(c)3. This newsletter and other dimensions of our market tracking programs are funded by a series of international development agencies, philanthropic foundations, and private sector organizations. For more information on donating to Ecosystem Marketplace, please contact info@ecosystemmarketplace.com.

 
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