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From the Editors

Greetings!

We have to do something. That's what Guy Duke, an independent consultant working on conservation issues such as biodiversity offsetting, said when confronted with a question concerning the giant wave of biodiversity loss in England.

While biodiversity offsetting is met with suspicion in England (and in much of Europe, for that matter), Duke says that third-party offsets can really work. Along with Kerry ten Kate, the Director of Forest Trends' Biodiversity Initiative, he spent five weeks assessing and analyzing third-party offsetting programs in the US and Australia upon a request from England's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The research revealed the potential of well-designed third-party offsetting programs to deliver both more certain and streamlined regulatory process for developers and better conservation outcomes. Perhaps most importantly, the higher standards of mitigation and biobanking encouraged closer adherence to the mitigation hierarchy - especially for high-value biodiversity.

Will the report change anyone's mind about whether offsetting can help stanch biodiversity loss? We have coverage of the skeptics, too, as opponents express their displeasure at the European Commission for continuing to pursue offsetting through the Natural Capital Financing Facility.

In the meantime, observe with us the many forms that mitigation can take. Australia recently announced the use of offsets to compensate for the creation of new suburbs in Canberra. We also have coverage of a Louisiana lawmaker offering an alternative procedure for mitigation in the Gulf Coast and a new mitigation banking initative for small oil spills. We also have coverage as Environmental Defense Fund modifies its monarch butterfly habitat quantification tool.  

And developers thinking of not following through on mitigation requirements or delivering a half-baked job, beware: a set of eyes other than the familiar frazzled and overwhelmed regulators may be upon you.

Also, the most recent episode of Ecosystem Marketplace's podcast, Bionic Planet, may be of interest to MitMail readers. It focuses on the Sustainable Development Goals and their deep connection with climate resiliency and action targets. 

Happy reading,

-- The Ecosystem Marketplace team

 

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

 

 
   

EM Headlines

Newly Released Findings Say Biodiversity Offset Markets Save Time And Money Without Skimping On Results

In 2011, England’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) enlisted Forest Trends to assess biodiversity offset markets in the US and Australia in order to determine how they might work in England. Earlier this year, the government published the report, which found that adopting similar programs in Britain would increase certainty, streamline the regulatory process and improve conservation outcomes from offsetting.

Keep reading here.

Opinion: Why The UN Sustainable Development Goals Really Are A Very Big Deal

The Sustainable Development Goals can provide a clear benchmark for the non-carbon "co-benefits" of carbon offset projects  such as biodiversity. But for the SDGs to catch on, we will need buy-in across all sectors: private, public, and non-governmental. Here is why it should happen.

Keep reading at Ecosystem Marketplace.

Emissions Reduced, Lives Saved: New Metrics For The New Normal

In 2015, the United Nations forged the Paris Agreement and launched the Sustainable Development Goals – officially linking climate protection with poverty alleviation, biodiversity conservation, and the empowerment of women. Participants in the voluntary carbon markets said, “At last!” And then they started jockeying for position.

Ecosystem Marketplace has the story.

Indigenous Climate Adaptation Tool May Soon Go Mobile

Brazil’s SOMAI Alerta Indígena platform helps indigenous territories plan for climate change, but so far it’s only been available in places with reliable internet. A new mobile app could spread the access and make it more responsive – but only if funding materializes. Thanks to Google, that may be about to happen.

Read the whole story here.

Here's the Deal

Unlikely Allies Rally Around the Mitigation Hierarchy

There's been a flurry of recent policy and guidance related to no net loss of habitat and mitigation instruments for public lands in the US, and more is expected to be on the way. In response, environmental groups, energy interests and regulators have formed a tenuous – and unusual – alliance that's pushing hard for following the mitigation hierarchy.

The Casper Star Tribune has the story.

PEER keeps an Eye Out for Bad Mitigation

An environmental watchdog group, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) was successful in suing a company for poor implementation of wetland mitigation requirements at a site nearly 20 miles outside Nashville. The group monitors several environmental issues in the US, with activity currently foucsed in Tennessee.

Read it at the Chattanoogan.

Endangered Animals move in Next Door to Canberra's New Suburbs

The government of the Australian Capital Territory has allocated $5M AUD ($3.7M USD) and a total of 120 hectares to offset the creation of new suburbs and to protect several endangered species. Two new nature preserves will also aim to preserve local indigenous culture.  

ABC has the story.

Sharing is Caring in India  

India's Environment Minister awarded Gram Mooligai (Village Herbs) Company Limited (GMCL), a firm based in the central part of the country, this year's biodiversity award for the company's benefit sharing activities, paying up to 2% of its sales to Madhya Pradesh's State Biodiversity Board. GMCL says its work employing local communities to sustainably harvest herbs incentivizes forest conservation.

Learn more here.

Funbio Reports on Results for Brazilian Biodiversity 

Funbio, the Brazilian Biodiversity Fund (Funbio), published its annual report showcasing the progress it made in 2015. Since 1996, the fund has executed just shy of $580M USD in contracts supporting 310 Protected Areas spanning 68M hectares.  Part of Funbio's purview is to manage environmental compensation funds through its Legal Obligations Unit, which has delivered $98M BRL ($28M USD) to date and $12M BRL ($3.5M USD) in 2015 alone.

Get the facts here.

Diversified Natural Resources Company adds Biodiversity Conservation to its Portfolio  

This month a diversified natural resources company in India, Vedanta Limited, announced commitments to biodiversity conservation, utilizing the UN Environment Programme's Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool to screen for related risk and seeking to align with a minimum no net loss of biodiversity achieved while striving for a net gain.

Vedanta Resources has details.

Policy Watch

Norway First Country to Commit to Zero Deforestation 

Norway announced plans late last month that would make it the first-ever country to commit to zero deforestation in its procurement of products contributing to forest loss, such as timber, palm, and soy. The country's Standing Committee on Energy and Environment also called on Norway's soverign wealth fund, the Government Pension Fund Global, to pursue biodiversity conservation and develop a specific biodiversity policy. 

Learn more.

Louisiana Banks on Advanced Mitigation for Small Oil Spills 

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed a bill this month authorizing the creation of an oil spill mitigation banking program to be administered by the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. Private investors will generate coastal wetland credits that can be used by oil companies to mitigate for small oil spills. 

The Advocate has coverage.

Natural Capital Financing Facility Draws Anti-Offsetting Ire in Europe

Some citizens of the European Union are taking aim at the new EU Natural Capital Financing Facility, expressing concern that its interest in generating a financial return trumps goals to protect the environment. The European Commission and the European Investment Bank run the initiative together under the conviction that financial and biodiversity gains can be achieved in conjunction.

Read the whole story here.

New Plan for Gulf Coast Mitigation: Efficient Shortcut or Cutting Corners?

A Louisiana Congressman is pushing to make development speedier and mitigation cheaper in the Gulf Coast with a plan that bypasses Clean Water Act rules and removes some of the Army Corps of Engineers' authority over wetland restoration. The bill is currently making its way through the legislature.   

NOLA has the story.

Oil & Gas Cry Confusion over New Mitigation Requirements 

Some developers operating in Alaska are voicing their frustration over mitigation requirements, claiming uncertainty in the procedures and excessive high costs. More specifically, they claim the Presidential memorandum, issued in November, lacks clarity and may force developers to comply with multiple agencies' mitigation requirements at once.

Petroleum News has coverage.

New Research

EDF searches for Premium Monarch Butterfly Real Estate  

For the first time, the Environmental Defense Fund tested its monarch butterfly habitat quantification tool, which appraises habitat quantity and quality. EDF is using the tool to manage the conservation activities that it's carrying out with ranchers and farmers for the emerging Monarch Butterfly Habitat Exchange.

Learn more here.

Saving the Largest Forest on Earth

This month, WWF published its Living Amazon report where it reminds the world of the stresses that unsustainable economic activities put on the ecosystem. WWF continues its call for an integrated Amazon-wide approach to managing the great forest that bridges sustainable development and conservation.

Read the findings here.

   
   

ABOUT THE ECOSYSTEM MARKETPLACE

Ecosystem Marketplace is a project of Forest Trends, a tax-exempt corporation under Section 501(c)3. This newsletter and other dimensions of our voluntary carbon markets program 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. 

ABOUT FOREST TRENDS

Ecosystem Marketplace is a project of Forest Trends, a tax-exempt corporation under Section 501(c)3. This newsletter and other dimensions of our voluntary carbon markets program 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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