Atlas of International Freshwater Agreements

This is a comprehensive list and information source of historic agreements related to freshwater. With sections for each continent, tables and maps of key demographic and ecosystem information it puts the agreements in their social and environmental context. These agreements are the base from which ecosystem service transactions will build.

Carbon annuities and their potential to preserve tropical forests and slow global warming: an application for small-scale farmers

Carbon annuities have been suggested as a means for rewarding landowners for preserving forests and sequestering carbon. Although this is an intuitively appealing approach, the benefits of the sequestration activities have not been compared with the opportunity cost of preserving the forest. This paper represents an initial attempt at analysing how large carbon annuities must be to induce a landowner in the Amazonian rainforest to accept the annuity and leave the forest intact. The benefits of carbon sequestration are computed based on estimates in the literature on the carbon contained in a hectare of rainforest and the damages associated with a ton of carbon emissions. This is compared with information on household income from Rondonia, Brazil. Our results show that, for the majority of our conservative assumptions about the damages of carbon emissions, the magnitude of an annuity is greater than the income from agriculture. For less conservative assumptions about the damages from global warming, a fraction of the annuity would be a sufficient incentive for small-scale farmers to switch to sustainable techniques that leave the forest intact.

A Knowledge and Assessment Guide to Support the Development of Payment Arrangements for Watershed Ecosystem Services (PWES)

The authors contend that payments for watershed ecosystem services are frequently based of generalizations that may not be true in the watersheds where the program operates. Through tackling common myths about watershed management and looking at the need for monitoring and information collection, good science and institutional arrangements are encouraged to assure the intended results are produced from payment programs.

Evaluation of the Americas Account of Colombia

This evaluation has two areas of focus: (1) a general evaluation of the Enterprise for the Americas Environment Account (Americas Account) for Colombia, and (2) an institutional evaluation of ECOFONDO and the FFEA, the two organizations that have administered the Account. However, since ECOFONDO has not managed the Americas Account since 2000, emphasis has been given to the institutional evaluation of the FFEA.

The Link Between Biodiversity and Sustainable Development: Lessons from INBio's Bioprospecting Program in Costa Rica.

This paper looks at the role of INBio's facilitation of bioprospecting to Costa Rica's quest to protect its biological wealth while simultaneously promoting the social and economic development. Gí¡mez concludes that INBio has assisted in Costa Rica's sustainable development by providing the country with vast and complex experience on access, legislation and uses of genetic and biochemical resources that facilitates the sustainable use of the country's biodiversity.

When Money Flows Upstream: Payment for Watershed Services in Guatemala

This presentation given at the 2003 Katoomba Group meeting in Switzerland outlines a project by WWF in Central America to develop a Water Fund that would engage willing and financially able water users to pay for water related ecosystem services from the Sierra de las Minas Biosphere Reserve in Guatemala. The presentation outlines the steps to create a financial linkage between ecosystem services and the benefits to downstream users, as well as the watershed management opportunities to sustain and enhance these ecosystem services. The presentation concludes with an important set of considerations for anyone attempting to establish a market system for ecosystem services.

Market-Based Instruments: The Forum Approach

"The Water Initiative is a World Economic Forum program to ""an initiative to facilitate
multistakeholder cooperation in the management of water and watersheds 'from the summit to the sea.'"" The program involves public-private partnerships that identify opportunities for payments for environmental services and the exchange of best practices. The presentation also give an overview of the Global Greenhouse Gas Register that allows companies to understand their green house gas emissions, their impacts and opportunities to reduce and offset them."

From our forest to your medicine cabinet

International pharmaceutical companies have been collaborating with Costa Rica's National Institute of Biodiversity (INBio), in a relationship where in return for access to the country's rich trove of biological diversity as a potential source of raw materials for drugs, the firms provided INBio with extensive training and sophisticated equipment. INBio uses its expertise to help small firms in Costa Rica develop products based on sustainable use of biodiversity. With the help of a $1.6 million grant from the IDB's Multilateral Investment Fund, INBio launched the project Support to the Use of Biodiversity by Small Enterprises.

Where the Trees are a Desert – Stories from the Ground

This emotional report by Carbon Trade Watch gives voice to Brazilians' struggles against the ever-expanding eucalyptus monoculture. The collection of articles cover the social and environmental problems associated with including mono-culture plantations in carbon trading programs, using Brazil as a case study. The authors believe that the eucalyptus plantations, which have been used for decades for paper pulp or charcoal production, are devastating the environment and lives of the local population of Brazil. They go on to argue that since the advent of "carbon trading" under the Kyoto Protocol, such damaging monocultural plantations are being encouraged.

Beyond Carbon Emerging Nexus Emerging Nexus Solar

Through examples and conceptual diagrams WorldWater Corporation presents the opportunity to combined solar energy and water pumping to provide water where it is currently unavailable, give added security to water treatment and supply plants for industrialized utilities and reduce pumping costs and emissions from diesel generators used by farmers. This powerful concept is demonstrated through projects in the Philippines and California. This basic concept shows the applicability for diverse settings, including a payment driven mechanism for the rural poor.

Compensation for Environmental Services and Rural Communities

This report presents the findings of the "Payment for Environmental Services in the Americas" project (1999-2003), coordinated by PRISMA and supported by the Ford Foundation, as well as PRISMA's framework for the compensation of environmental services from the perspective of peasant and indige-nous communities… The research underpinning this publication was motivated by an overriding concern for equity and a special focus on those 'closest' to the land. The underlying interest was to explore if the PES concept could contribute to overcoming the inequities in the Poor's access to, control over and benefits from their natural resources, while guaranteeing the provision of environmental services.

When Nature Goes Public: The Making and Unmaking of Bioprospecting in Mexico

"Cori Hayden tracks bioprospecting's contentious new promise–and the contradictory activities generated in its name. Focusing on a contract involving Mexico's National Autonomous University, Hayden examines the practices through which researchers, plant vendors, rural collectors, indigenous cooperatives, and other actors put prospecting to work. By paying unique attention to scientific research, she provides a key to understanding which people and plants are included in the promise of 'selling biodiversity to save it'–and which are not. And she considers the consequences of linking scientific research and rural 'enfranchisement' to the logics of intellectual property."

Selling Forest Environmental Services: Market-based Mechanisms for Conservation and Development

Two environmental economists with the International Institute for Environment and Development and Pagiola (an environmental economist with the World Bank) are the editors and among the authors of this collection of 15 essays in this book. The papers present case studies of the application of market-based mechanisms for watershed management, biodiversity, forest carbon, and other resources, in countries that include the US, Canada, Australia, India, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Chile, Panama, and Brazil. The book demonstrates how payment systems can be established in practice, their effectiveness and their implications for the poor.

Spatial prioritisation of environmental service payments for biodiversity protection

This study demonstrates the use of TARGET (software) trade-offs analysis for prioritizing environmental service payments (PSA or ‘Pagos por Servicios Ambientales' in Spanish) to private land-owners in the Osa Conservation Area (ACOSA), Costa Rica. The paper answers a number of research questions of direct management relevance in ACOSA and general relevance to biodiversity conservation planning in the region. The analyses for the ACOSA area conclude that the 1999-2001 selection of areas to receive environmental service payments for forest protection, forest management, and reforestation was not cost-efficient, in the sense of maximizing biodiversity protection on private land outside existing national parks, while also minimizing the opportunity costs to agriculture and commercial forestry. The study goes on to show how TARGET methodology may be used to rank PSA candidate areas by their cost-efficiency in representing complementary biodiversity at lowest cost at regional level (ACOSA).

The Domestic Benefits of Tropical Forests

This review finds that the quantifiable benefits of forest preservation in providing hydrological services and nontimber forest products are highly variable. Locally important in some situations, these classes of domestic benefits may, in general, be smaller than popularly supposed. This underscores the need for financing conservation from the Global Environmental Facility or other global sources rather than placing the burden entirely on domestic resources.

The Value of Chilean Biodiversity: Economic, Environmental, and Legal Considerations

The authors attempt to show that biodiversity has an economic value which is not being taken into consideration in decision-making in Chile. The purpose of the study is to propose a methodology that can give an approximate value of biodiversity. This value will show that Chilean biodiversity is not only important because of its magnitude and degree of endemism but also for the potential value of its services.

Financing Environmental Services: The Costa Rican Experience and its Implications

This article provides a snapshot of a fascinating, rapidly evolving experiment in progress: markets for the environmental benefits of forests. Costa Rica is blazing a trail into a previously undisturbed jungle of policy issues. This paper describes the practical issues that Costa Rica has faced, the nuts and bolts mechanics of how it has approached those issues, and the challenges that remain, both for Costa Rica and for would-be emulators.

Capitalising on Biodiversity

The Brazilian Programme of Molecular Ecology for Sustainable Use of Biodiversity (Probem), designed in 1997, is aimed at making the Amazon region a source of high value-added products and advanced scientific know-how, especially through the use of biotechnology. The programme is aimed at changing the current model of economic growth in the region, which is based on the extraction of wood and minerals, ranching and one-crop farming – activities that destroy the forests.

Agroforestry in REDD+: Opportunities and Challenges

Agroforestry and other tree-based systems (wood lots, afforestation) can contribute to REDD+ in two ways: 1) as part of REDD+ under certain forest definitions;  and/or 2) as part of a strategy for achieving REDD+ in landscapes. In the context of REDD+, agroforestry has the potential for reducing degradation by supplying timber and fuelwood that would otherwise be sourced from adjacent or distant forests. In fact, agroforestry has been used in several protected area landscape buffer zones and within conservation as one way of alleviating pressure on forests, thereby reducing deforestation. However, enabling market infrastructure, policies on tree rights and ownership and safeguards would be necessary for agroforestry and other tree-based systems in the landscape to effectively contribute to the goals of REDD+ and Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs).

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Drivers and consequences of tropical forest transitions: options to bypass land degradation?

The early studies of the ASB Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins stratified the domain for study into stages of a generic transition pathway that suggested a strongly non-linear trajectory of change. In this scheme, a phase of degradation of above-ground vegetation, based on over-logging or shortening fallow cycles in intensified swiddens can lead to a grass-fire cycle that needs special conditions to allow successful rehabilitation. Many places with current agroforestry and tree mosaics have gone through such a phase. A new review of the global literature on these ‘forest transitions’ by Meyfroidt and Lambin (2011) framed important conclusions.

Land use trajectories that avoid a low tree-cover phase and ‘bypass’ the high emission stages are often targeted in REDD+ policies; examples exist in transitions of swiddens to agroforests rather than intensive annual cropping systems degrading into grasslands with frequent fire. Changes in land tenure regime are often key to change in tree cover.

Download brief here

Building Forest Carbon Projects (Step-by-Step Overview and Guide)

Forest projects around the world are working to confront the practical challenges of reducing emissions and providing local benefits. To facilitate the development of forest projects, we have compiled strategic step-by–step guidance to emerging best practices. Drawing on the experience of the Katoomba Incubator, this series of documents helps project developers understand key technical, social, environmental, and financial issues and points the way to key tools and guidance. Composed of nine volumes, the Building Forest Carbon Projects series is best accessed first through the Step-by-Step Overview and Guide, which outlines the key steps in the project development cycle. This overview is complemented by the eight guidance documents that constitute the meat of the series, with each exploring in detail one critical aspect of forest carbon project development.

Subdocuments:

  • REDD Guidance: Technical Project Design
  • AR Guidance: Technical Project Design
  • Carbon Stock Assessment Guidance: Inventory and Monitoring Procedures
  • Community Engagement Guidance: Good Practice for Forest Carbon Projects
  • Legal Guidance: Legal and Contractual Aspects of Forest Carbon Projects
  • Business Guidance: Forest Carbon Marketing and Finance
  • Social Impacts Guidance: Key Assessment Issues for Forest Carbon Projects
  • Biodiversity Impacts Guidance: Key Assessment Issues for Forest Carbon Projects

Download the publication here.

Marine InVEST

The Marine Initiative of the Natural Capital Project is dedicated to using the framework of ecosystem services to inform ecosystem-based management of marine and coastal waters. The Project is developing and applying a suite of ecosystem service models called InVest (Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Trade-offs).

Marine InVest is highly flexible to accommodate application across multiple scales in coastal and marine regions with diverse habitats, policy questions, and stakeholders. Our approach identifies where ecosystem services are provided adn where they are consumed. It reveals how resource management decisions will affect multiple aspects of the economy, human well-being and the environment. Marine InVest can help answer questions such as:

  • What kinds of coastal management and fishery policies will give us the best returns for sustainable fisheries, shoreline protection and recreation?
  • Are revenues from activities such as recreational fishing or scuba diving likely to rise or fall under an integrated coastal zone managment plan?
  • How does marine spatial planning help to ensure that current and future generations benefit from the value of coral reefs for providing food, potential for economic prosperity, and biological diversity?

State of Watershed Payments 2012: Executive Summary for Business

 This report benchmarks companies taking a landscape-scale approach to water risk – looking beyond  direct operations to the larger watershed context.  Business leaders from Coca-Cola to SABMiller to  Sony are experimenting with natural infrastructure  investments that address many of the operational  risks at the top of their lists – including supply disruptions  and emerging regulations – while saving money,  increasing resilience to climate and natural disaster  shocks, and improving relations with local communities.  These efforts are known as investments in  watershed services (“IWS”).

This executive summary is developed specifically for a business audience, building upon data and analysis first  presented in a more comprehensive report from Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace on the topic of  watershed investments –  Charting New Waters: State of Watershed Payments 2012. In  Charting New Waters,  we track the size, scope, and outlook for investments in watershed services and in the ecological infrastructure  from which they flow.

State of Watershed Payments 2012: Executive Summary for Business

 This report benchmarks companies taking a landscape-scale approach to water risk – looking beyond  direct operations to the larger watershed context.  Business leaders from Coca-Cola to SABMiller to  Sony are experimenting with natural infrastructure  investments that address many of the operational  risks at the top of their lists – including supply disruptions  and emerging regulations – while saving money,  increasing resilience to climate and natural disaster  shocks, and improving relations with local communities.  These efforts are known as investments in  watershed services (“IWS”).

This executive summary is developed specifically for a business audience, building upon data and analysis first  presented in a more comprehensive report from Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace on the topic of  watershed investments –  Charting New Waters: State of Watershed Payments 2012. In  Charting New Waters,  we track the size, scope, and outlook for investments in watershed services and in the ecological infrastructure  from which they flow.

Charting New Waters

 The number of initiatives that protect and restore forests, wetlands, and other water-rich ecosystems has nearly doubled in just four years as governments urgently seek sustainable alternatives to costly industrial infrastructure, according to a new report from Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace.

 
“Whether you need to save water-starved China from economic ruin or protect drinking water for New York City, investing in natural resources is emerging as the most cost-efficient and effective way to secure clean water and recharge our dangerously depleted streams and aquifers,” said Michael Jenkins, Forest Trends President and CEO. “80 percent of the world is now facing significant threats to water security. We are witnessing the early stages of a global response that could transform the way we value and manage the world’s watersheds.”
 
The report, State of Watershed Payments 2012, is the second installment of the most comprehensive inventory to date of initiatives around the world that are paying individuals and communities to revive or preserve water-friendly features of the landscape. Such features include wetlands, streams, and forests that can capture, filter, and store freshwater.

Lessons Learned from Community Forestry & REDD+ in Brazil

In the new publication REDD+ and Community Forestry: Lessons Learned from an Exchange of Brazilian Experiences with Africa, experts describe the lessons learned from an initiative by the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility to share Brazilian experiences with African countries. The initiative was undertaken by World Bank staff with funding from the Global Environment Facility and coordinated by the Amazonas Sustainable Foundation, with technical support from the Office National des Foríªts International.

 
The new publication brings together information, analyses, and conclusions on issues relevant to the design and implementation of national REDD+ strategies. It aims to foster a discussion on the role of community forest management as a strategic option to promote REDD+ goals, and, conversely, on ways that REDD+ can incentivize community management of forests.
 
The report’s main conclusions include:
  • REDD+ initiatives need to be integrated with sectoral and cross-sectoral policies, including forestry, agriculture, infrastructure, and environmental policies.
  • Support for long-term capacity building and financing are key elements for the success of REDD+ initiatives.
  • Community-based forest management plays a very important role in reducing deforestation and forest degradation.
  • Forests should managed through participatory processes that empower indigenous peoples and local populations in decision making.
  • Measurement, reporting and verification are key elements of REDD+ initiatives, and South-South cooperation plays an important role in increasing their efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Cooperation and exchange of experiences with Brazil could provide important support for REDD+ development in Africa.

Read more here