The World's Water

Drawing on modern data, this book considers the political, economic, scientific, and technological issues highlighting the growing crisis for many regional water systems. The book looks at some of the major trends in water technology and policy. It suggests policies and strategies to improve the rational use and distribution of water.

Submission on Green Offsets for Sustainable Development Concept Paper

The Peak Environment Non-Government Organisations have previously expressed their opposition to the use of offset schemes… the proposed scheme does not promote sustainable agriculture, changes in behaviour and resource use, or the avoidance of clearing. It does not prevent inappropriate clearing or result in reversing the long-term decline in Australia's native vegetation, as required under the Commonwealth/New South Wales Partnership Agreement under the Natural Heritage Trust of Australia Act 1997 (Commonwealth of Australia 1997). The scheme was found to be inconsistent with the principles of ESD and was not able to be monitored sufficiently within the present levels of scientific knowledge, data availability or government resourcing.

Auctions for conservation contracts: an empirical examination of Victoria's BushTender Trial

This paper provides an analysis of an auction-based approach to allocating biodiversity conservation contracts on private land. The action, called BushTender, was conducted by the Department of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE) in two regions of Victoria. The paper describes the key design features of the auction: including the auction format, contract specification and specification of biodiversity preferences. The author analyses the bids provided by landowners and compare the discriminative price auction with a hypothetical fixed-price scheme. The anecdotal evidence on the likely indirect benefits is covered.

Green Offsets Concept Paper: A Submission to the NSW Environment Protection Athority

The Property Council of Australia represents the companies that help shape, build and finance cities and companies that have a long term interest in the future of urban and regional centres in Australia… The Property Council recognises that some environmental areas may be so degraded as to need urgent or planned improvement, however in this report, they describe that they do not support the idea of green offsets as described in the Environment Protection Authority concept paper.

Investigating New Approaches: A Guide to The National Market-Based Instruments Pilots Program

The National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality (NAP) has signalled a number of new approaches to addressing natural resource management and environmental problems across Australia. These approaches include the further development and practical application of market-based instruments (MBIs). Governments allocate significant resources to environmental and natural resource management, traditionally through policy approaches such as direct ‘command and control' regulation, education and suasion. Rather than prescribing behaviour or technology use, MBIs use price signals to change behaviour to benefit the environment. They offer the potential to achieve environmental goals at a more affordable cost to the community – and with less disruption to resource users.

Investigating New Approaches: A Review of Natural Resource Management Pilots and Programs in Australia that Use Market-based Instruments

This paper is a review of current conceptual work, pilot schemes and Market Based Instrument programs being undertaken in Australia.Twenty four programs were surveyed regarding the market failures being addressed, market mechanisms being used, commodity definition, details of buyers and sellers, impediments faced, and their transferability to other environments or locations. The survey focused on the way in which the programs conceptualise and deal with the elements of MBIs, possible extensions to existing MBI pilots and their potential applicability to new situations (new locations or a new component of the environment). The paper focuses on programs involving trading.

GEF-FAO Workshop on Productive Uses of Renewable Energy: Experience, Strategies, and Project Development

"This report summarizing the findings of a conference which gathered participants from development agencies, non-governmental organizations, private companies,
research institutes, and universities in 15 countries. The link between energy and access to water for drinking and irrigation was a primary outcome. The report gives useful insights from those implementing water and energy solutions."

At Loggerheads? Agricultural Expansion, Poverty Reduction, and Environment in the Tropical Forests

World Bank Advises Better Forest Governance And Use of Carbon Markets to Save Tropical Forests

Available in: French, Spanish, Portuguese, Bahasa (Indonesian)

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 23, 2006 — Preserving the world's rapidly shrinking tropical forests and improving the economic prospects of millions of poor people requires an urgent strengthening of national forest governance. Globally, this calls for strong financial incentives, says a new World Bank policy research report, "At Loggerheads? Agricultural Expansion, Poverty Reduction and Environment in the Tropical Forests."

A majority of people in rural tropical areas — about 800 million — live in or around vulnerable forests or woodlands, depending on them heavily for survival. Yet deforestation at five percent a decade is steadily depleting this resource base, contributing to 20 percent of annual global CO2 emissions and seriously threatening biodiversity.

"Global carbon finance can be a powerful incentive to stop deforestation," said François Bourguignon, Chief Economist and Senior Vice President, Development Economics, the World Bank. "Compensation for avoiding deforestation could help developing countries to improve forest governance and boost rural incomes, while helping the world at large to mitigate climate change more vigorously."

In Latin America, dense tropical forest is often cleared to create pastures worth as little as $300 a hectare, while releasing large amounts of CO2. In Africa and Asia, some deforestation is equally unproductive. These forests may be worth five times more if left standing, providing carbon storage services, than if cleared and burned. If developing countries could tap this value, they could also stimulate more productive agriculture in degraded areas, while preserving the environmental services of forests.

But current carbon markets do not tap the potential benefits of forest carbon. The report reviews the obstacles impeding the use of global carbon finance to reduce deforestation, and offers workable solutions.

"Now is the time to reduce pressures on tropical forests through a comprehensive framework that integrates sustainable forest management into the global strategy for mitigating climate change and preserving biodiversity," said Katherine Sierra, Vice President, Sustainable Development, the World Bank.

Deforestation is driven largely by economic incentives to expand agriculture, with varying returns. In Madagascar, poor people clear forests for tiny, short-term gains. In Brazil, commercial farmers clear cerrado and forests for large profits. In both, the rate and profitability of deforestation are influenced by changes in agricultural prices.

"It is said that people destroy forests because they are poor, and that deforestation causes poverty-but generalizations are a poor foundation for policy," said Kenneth Chomitz, the report's lead author. "We find that deforestation is caused by both rich and poor people-and it can either destroy or create assets for poor people."

The report offers a simple framework for policy analysis by identifying three forest types-frontiers and disputed lands, lands beyond the agricultural frontier, and mosaiclands where forests and agriculture coexist. It collates geographic and economic information for each type that will help formulate poverty-reducing forest policy.

The report highlights distinct priorities for each forest type, where deforestation incentives, remoteness, forest rights, and environment interact differently:

In frontier and disputed areas, sorting out and guaranteeing forest rights is critical to mitigate deforestation, reduce conflicts, and improve rural livelihoods

In areas beyond the agricultural frontier, such as the Amazon and Congo basins, and the hearts of Borneo, New Guinea and Sulawesi, quick action to head off the social and environmental impacts of future agricultural expansion is the main challenge.

For often overlooked mosaiclands, where people and trees are most closely integrated, the report's suggestions include payments for environmental services programs. For example, a GEF-sponsored project in Colombia, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua pays farmers to maintain their forests and shift cattle from degraded pastures to agroforestry systems, which offer carbon and biodiversity benefits.

According to the report, the causes of forest poverty include remoteness, which often impedes forest dwellers from marketing forest products. Millions of forest dwellers lack forest rights, without secure tenure or access to forest resources, or live in degraded areas. Inadequate skills, technologies, or institutions can also depress forest incomes.

New technologies and institutions could help poor people to counterbalance powerful competing interests that tend to capture forest resources, and could help society harmonize environmental and regional development goals. For example, the proposed use of tradable forest protection obligations in Brazil could increase the biodiversity benefits of land use regulations while making it easier for landholders to comply.

Cameroon's reforms include transparent allocation of forest concessions and royalties, and the employment of independent observers who use remote sensing to detect illegal logging.

The report and associate material are available at:

Biodiversity Benefits Toolkit

This biodiversity benefits toolkit has been developed for the New South Wales Environmental Services Scheme to assist landowners in assessing the benefits to biodiversity that are likely to result from a change in the way they use their land.

The Toolkit is a product of collaboration between key government departments and stakeholders in NSW and Victoria including DIPNR, DEC and DPI (Forests NSW). It has been designed to: 1) Score the current biodiversity value of a site 2) Estimate the magnitude and direction of change in biodiversity value resulting from land use change 3) Incorporate these current and potential values into a Biodiversity Benefits Index.

The toolkit is unique in that it has been designed to cover a wide range of alternative vegetation options, including commercial and environmental native tree plantings as well as other typical land use changes on farmland

Creating Markets for Ecosystem Services

This study examines how newly defined property rights have been used to create markets in Australia and the United States. The Commission found that creating these markets – such as tradeable credits for carbon sequestration – can be an effective way for governments to achieve their environmental goals.

Biodiversity certification and banking in coastal and growth areas

This paper sets out broad parameters of a market-based biodiversity offset program under development by the government of New South Wales, AU. It is meant to elicit comments and suggestions for pilots in the Lower Hunter and the Far North Coast regions, which are set to begin in 2006 and end two years later. The authors explain how the new concepts of "biodiversity certification" and "biodiversity banking" will operate in areas where high population growth and economic development are transforming the landscape and causing irreversible biodiversity loss.

Case Studies of Markets and Innovative Financial Mechanisms for Water Services from Forests

These case studies are valuable for how they demonstrate different types of payment mechanisms from cap and trade nutrient trading in the US to direct payments to land owners by corporations and government entities. With brief bibliographies and a consistent format this is an excellent document to gain an overall understanding of the important elements of water related land management transactions.

Developing Markets for Water Services from Forests

This document condenses the learning from the Case Studies of Markets and Innovative Financial Mechanisms for Water Services from Forests in to an overview for those interested in creating or participating in these types of markets. It looks at both the potential benefits and pitfalls of ecosystem service markets and how linking the payment to actions that actually create desired benefits is difficult. With an easy to understand format this is an excellent introductory and overview document.

A Duty of Care for the Protection of Biodiversity on Land

Dr. Gerry Bates clarifies the issues surrounding the meaning and status of a 'duty of care' to the environment in Australia. Bates explains when a duty of care may exist, the obligations it imposes, and the implications of introducing a duty of care in statute.

Cost Sharing for Biodiversity Conservation: A Conceptual Framework

The report provides a thorough discussion of the two broad principles for determining cost sharing: 'impacter pays' and 'benificiary pays' and their different efficiency and distributional effects. The authors argue that, while clarifying property rights is a fundamental step for determining which principle to apply, governments will have to consider the social implications and changing community expectations.

Constraints on Private Conservation of Biodiversity

Private conservation activities in Australia have been constrained by various regulatory and institutional factors. This report seeks to identify those as a first step to considering appropriate policy responses in this important area. The discussion covers: land tenure, competitive neutrality, regulatory frameworks, and taxation.

Harnessing Private Sector Conservation of Biodiversity

The authors explain that, with 60% of Australia's land under private management, biodiversity conservation must include private sector participation. Key steps must be taken by government to facilitate effective and efficient provision of biodiversity conservation, including regulation, property rights, cost sharing arrangements, and creating new markets.

Forest Landscape Restoration Implementation Workshop: A Summary Report

This report summarizes the Forest Landscape Restoration Implementation Workshop (the Petrí³polis Workshop) convened in Petrí³polis, Brazil from 4-8 April 2005. The Workshop was a country- and organization-led initiative in support of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) hosted by Brazil and organized by the Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration. The latter was created in March 2003 to identify and reinforce a network of diverse forest landscape restoration (FLR) examples that deliver benefits to local communities, fulfill international commitments on forests, and help manage forests for the ecological health of landscapes.

Background Papers on Wetland Values and Functions

Ramsar's Background Papers on Wetland Values and Functions provides information on several wetland functions, including economic valuations of specific wetlands throughout the world based on these functions. This site provides links to background papers on the following wetland functions: flood control, groundwater replenishment, shoreline stabilization and storm protection, sediment and nutrient retention and export, climate change mitigation, water purification, reservoirs of biodiversity, wetland products, recreation and tourism, and cultural value.

Participatory Management Clearinghouse

The Participatory Management Clearinghouse is a joint initiative of the Bureau of the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar), The World Conservation Untion (IUCN), and The Swedish International Development Cooperation (SIDA). The clearinghouse is classified thematically by ecosystems, regions, or themes. Posted documents, specific projects and case studies cover issues such as biodiversity and traditional knowledge, gender, water, equitable sharing, protected areas, and indigenous peoples. The new trend for the clearinghouse is a specific focus on participatory management and wetlands issues.

Aquatic and Wetland Plant Forum

The Aquatic and Wetland Plant Forum aims to facilitate exchange of ideas and information relating to the ecology, conservation, identification, taxonomy, and survey methods for wetland plants. The Forum website is built around a series of email lists covering various aquatic and wetland plant topics. Users can freely subscribe to these email lists or visit listserv archives from this web page.

The Australian Wetlands Information Network

The Australian Wetlands Information Network is a well-organized clearinghouse of information on Australia's wetlands designed to promote wetland communication, education, and public awareness. This site contains descriptions and links to both government agencies and non governmental organizations in Australia. The site also provides a events calendar, wetland news, publications and educational resources.

ELI-Wetlands Listserv

The ELI-Wetlands Listserv is a free electronic forum on wetlands, floodplains, and coastal resources and provides an outlet for debate and dissemination of information on wetlands law, policy, science, and management. To subscribe to this list, send an email to

Global Peatland Database

The Global Peatland Database is continually updated with baseline information on the distribution, size, quality, ecological characteristics, carbon storage and biological diversity of peatlands. This database is currently searchable by country and disjunct areas and contested areas. Peatlands represent 50 to 70 percent of all wetlands and are globally important as carbon stores and sinks, storing more carbon than all the worlds forests.