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.
Backed by the Ugandan National Environment Management Authority, the Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust, the United Nations Environment Program’s Global Environment Facility (UNEP-GEF), it’s the first project of its kind. The data on real versus expected results on biodiversity and livelihoods will generate vital information regarding the actual benefits of PES schemes involving rural communities in Uganda. The experiment’s results also will be used to inform the type of conservation scheme best suited to the Ugandan context. And evidence about PES effectiveness will help the government to develop a replication strategy in other areas at risk of deforestation. The project began in April 2010 and will conclude its pilot phase in April 2014.
On the local level, if this project is successful, it has the potential to generate significant additional and sustainable financing for biodiversity conservation post-2014. This could change smallholder views to forest conservation as a livelihood opportunity.
– Get the full story at Ecosystem Marketplace.
CBD Refines Focus on Biodiversity and Deforestation
The Sixteenth meeting (SBSTTA-16) of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice deliberated painstakingly earlier this month on a REDD+ recommendation that ultimately emphasized national REDD+ approaches for safeguards and indicators relating to biodiversity – an emphasis that works in tandem with UNFCCC REDD+ work.
The SBSTTA conference also made progress on information and guidance that address the biodiversity gaps many feel would widen if the UNFCCC launches a REDD juggernaut. The meeting’s discourse and decision strongly emphasized the REDD+ synergies with the CBD 2020 Action Plan to reduce global biodiversity loss and the Action Plan’s Aichi Principles, which serve as a template for promoting biodiversity governance, establishing protected areas, restoring degraded ecosystems, and other measures.
– Get the full story at Ecosystem Marketplace.
Dispatches from the US National Mitigation and Ecosystem Banking Conference
Coming To Grips With The Water-Energy-Food Nexus
The ‘nexus’ has become a popular buzz word to describe the complex linkages among water, energy and food security – sectors that have traditionally remained fairly separate. Talk of the water-energy-food nexus was a hot topic at last month’s Planet Under Pressure conference; it is also the focus of a significant German government-organised input to the UN Rio+20 Summit.
Framing burgeoning and interlinked challenges related to climate change, global demographic trends, and pressures on the nature resource base as a ‘water-energy-food nexus’ is useful, but could nexus thinking also be risky? Might it identify scarce resources that are most tangible and monetised, or able to be easily marketed, while potentially overlooking those resources which are less visible (such as certain biodiversity values) or insufficiently valued (such as carbon). In other words, could nexus thinking under-play environmental externalities at our peril?
– Read on at Ecosystem Marketplace.
Putting ‘No Net Loss’ Into Action
The concept of no net biodiversity loss lies at the heart of biodiversity offsetting. It’s the first of the ten Business and Biodiversity Offsets Program (BBOP) Principles for high quality biodiversity offsets and underpins several of the other Principles as well as the offset design process. BBOP released its offset standard earlier this year; more recently the program has published a resource paper digging into key concepts and practices related to no net loss (NNL). The paper sets out a broad conceptual framework for loss/gain calculations, including a typology of currencies,considerations when selecting reference (or benchmark) conditions, and sources of uncertainty regarding the achievement of NNL and some responses to addressing these.
– Download the paper (PDF).
A Declaration of Dependence – on Natural Capital
With Rio +20 just around the corner, the Natural Capital Declaration – a commitment by financial institutions to “to create the conditions necessary to maintain and enhance Natural Capital as a critical economic, ecological and social asset” – is picking up speed. At last count, more than twenty firms have signed on, with more expected. Signatories are calling for governments to step up and create the necessary policy frameworks and incentives for the private sector to properly account for natural capital, “thereby working towards internalizing environmental costs.” The Declaration is due to launch at the Rio talks next month.
– Learn more at Forbes.
Benchmarking Business Action on Ecosystem Services
A new report out from Business for Social Responsibility tracks business uptake of ecosystem service impact monitoring and management around the world. The Quiet (R)Evolution in Expectations of Corporate Environmental Performance notes that while business interest in the concept is growing, there’s often little clarity on how best to monitor and evaluate impacts or determine priorities for action. The authors offer insights from interviews with managers from a range of sectors – from oil and gas to tourism – and suggest ways to speed up the process of corporate learning.
– Read a press release.
– Download the report.
Tracking Business’ Biodiversity & Ecosystem Impacts in Brazil
A new corporate partnership between PepsiCo, Walmart, Anglo American, Grupo Andre Maggi, Vale, and Votorantim will demonstrate how managing biodiversity and ecosystem impacts can boost the bottom line in Brazil. The companies plan to implement WRI’s Corporate Ecosystem Services Review methodology to identify and manage biodiversity and ecosystem services risks in the Amazon Basin. The partnership will also support a series of workshops and network of practitioners to build capacity, with results from the Review to be announced in the summer of 2013.
– Read a press release.
– Learn more about the partnership.
Are You Taking Notes, REDD+?
The Convention on Biological Diversity’s REDD+ and Biodiversity E-Newsletter this month highlights a project in the Western Ghats, a global biodiversity hotspot, where successful incentive-based agreements for forest conservation in the region could serve as a forerunner for a REDD+ mechanism.
The NGO Applied Environmental Research Foundation (AERF), which piloted the agreements, has published the results from a comprehensive stakeholder analysis, showing how a case-by-case approach to negotiation was critical to the program’s success. “Conservation agreements and similar incentive-based mechanisms for conservation are often debated as measures that escape participatory processes and stakeholder engagement,” note the authors. Yet in the Western Ghats, “no two agreements were similar, and every agreement is formed as a result of a negotiated process.”
– Read about AERF’s Stakeholder Review
Carbon’s Better When It’s Wetter
A One-Stop Conservation Shop
Oregon, Where Cows and Fairy Shrimp Can Finally Live in Peace
A Wildlands, Inc. project in southern Oregon is showing how conservation can be compatible with other land uses. A strategic grazing plan and careful monitoring mean that cattle and fairy shrimp occupy 132 acres of vernal pool habitat in relative harmony. Keeping cattle on the land, which is part of the state’s new vernal pool mitigation bank, actually helps keep “upland vegetation from beginning to encroach on the vernal pool fringe…[which] is where a lot of our plant diversity is,” explains Wildlands’ director of biological services Bill Roper.
– Read more at the Mail Tribune.
FL Official Suspended After Refusing to Issue Banking Permit
What’s going on down in Florida? A recent Tampa Bay Times article reports on the suspension of Department of Environmental Protection wetlands expert Connie Bersok, after she refused to issue a permit for the Highlands Ranch Mitigation Bank’s proposed 424-site on a former pine plantation in Clay County. Bersok reportedly felt that the suggested mitigation plan failed to provide reasonable assurance of its effectiveness and that too much of the proposed credited area was on upland community. Bank developers say they will continue to seek permit approval.
– Read the article.
2012 Yale Conservation Finance Camp
The 6th annual Yale Conservation Finance Camp will be held at Yale University, Monday, June 4 through Friday, June 8, 2012. The course offers the latest information on a wide range of innovative conservation finance tools, including new sources of philanthropic funds, public capital and private investment, as well as a framework for analyzing and packaging them. The camp is focused on useful, hands-on tools for conservation practitioners and board members, foundation leaders, private investors and graduate students. This highly interactive course is limited to 20 participants. Registration is on a first-come-first-served basis. For further information and a participant application please contact Amy Badner at [email protected] or visit the camp webpage. 4-8 June 2012. New Haven, CT.
– Learn more.
Workshop: Regulatory and Institutional Frameworks for Markets for Ecosystem Services
This workshop seeks to contribute to research and learning on the law and policy on ecosystems services by focusing on the regulatory and institutional challenges in creating markets for ecosystems services. The workshop goal is to enable outcome-oriented interaction between experts, innovators, and front-end users of these evolving market models to learn about recent progress, what strategies can be adopted to encourage cross-learning between different models for regulatory and institutional frameworks, and how to design new institutional and regulatory mechanisms that can help preserve ecosystem services? The workshop will enable the development of collaborative projects between participants on the elaboration of methodological tools for the development of regulatory and institutional frameworks for ecosystems services. 6 June 2012 – 7 June 2012. University of Surrey, UK.
– Learn more.
5th Annual International ESP Conference
The Ecosystem Services Partnership invites you to the 5th annual ESP conference. Don’t miss your chance to interact and exchange ideas with practitioners, educators, policy-makers, researchers, and many others. Be part of working-groups producing outcomes ranging from journal articles, white papers, book chapters (if enough we can put together a book out of this conference), grant proposals, database structures, websites, and much more. This conference is being organised jointly with the International Association of Landscape Ecology (IALE) and A Community on Ecosystem Services (ACES). 31 July – 4 August 2012. Portland, Oregon, United States.
– Learn more.
International Conference on Biodiversity & Sustainable Energy Development
OMICS Group’s International Conference on Biodiversity & Sustainable Energy Development, Biodiversity-2012 takes the theme “Implying Research into Socio Ecological Studies to Conserve Biodiversity.” Biodiversity-2012 is comprised of 12 tracks and 77 sessions designed to offer comprehensive sessions that address current issues in Implying research into the Socio Ecological Studies to Conserve Biodiversity. Abstracts are currently being accepted. 14-15 September 2012. Hyderabad, India.
– Learn more.
ACES and Ecosystem Markets 2012
ACES and Ecosystem Markets 2012 is an international collaboration of three dynamic communities – A Community on Ecosystem Services (ACES), the Ecosystem Markets Conference, and the Ecosystem Services Partnership (ESP). The conference will provide an open forum to share experiences and state-of-the-art methods, tools, and processes for assessing and incorporating ecosystem services into public and private decisions. The focus of the conference will be to link science, practice, institutions and resource sustainable decision making by bringing together ecosystem services communities from around the United States and the globe. 10-12 December 2012. Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA.
– Learn more.
Environmental Sustainability Knowledge Transfer Network – Natural Environment Research Council
The Environmental Sustainability Knowledge Transfer Network, on behalf of the Natural Environment Research Council, invites existing researchers to apply for internships of between one and six months, based in businesses and third sector organisations. Interns will explore and demonstrate how business or third sector partners can make use of scientific knowledge, data and valuation tools to understand and manage their impacts and/or dependencies on ecosystem services. Each project will involve at least one business or third sector partner, and one or more researchers, working collaboratively to ensure that the business partner makes maximum use of the knowledge and data provided. The focus must be a topic where ecosystem service approaches have potential to affect decision making. NERC anticipates a varied range of projects involving different economic sectors. NERC funding up to £20,000 is available for each project. The closing date for applications is 15th June 2012 at 5pm.
– Learn more.
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