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From the Editors 

Just days before handing the reigns of power to president-elect Pedro Pablo Kuczynski on Peruvian Independence Day, the administration of outgoing President Ollanta Humala issued a flurry of environmental policies that provide his successor with a powerful set of tools for funneling money into conservation and sustainable agriculture.

First, the Ministry of Environment released formal regulations for the country’s groundbreaking Mecanismos de Retribución por Servicios Ecosistémicos (MRSEs), or “Mechanisms of Compensation for Ecosystem Services” law, which legislators approved in 2014. The law created a legal framework for conservation activities that harness public and private capital, and the new regulations offer clear guidance on how to implement them. In a related move, the government issued guidance on biodiversity offsets, primarily for Andean ecosystems.

It's not a minute too soon: New research finds Earth has hit a critical threshold for biodiversity loss. Report authors recommend proactive conservation policies at all levels of government – and fast.

The private sector sector has a key role to play in stemming biodiversity loss. In a new report, the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, comprised of environmental NGOs and researchers, urged businesses to view biodiversity as an asset rather than a benefit within the natural capital framework.

Meanwhile, recent coverage suggests that conflict-riddled countries such as Colombia often use biodiversity to cover for illegal mining or coca farming, activities that are ecologically degrading. Leaders continue to explore a new type of peace process though, one that implements land reforms and takes natural resources into consideration

These stories and more are summarized below. Happy reading!

- The Ecosystem Marketplace Team

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


Latest News

Peru’s New President Gets Arsenal Of New Environmental Tools

Peru has long been among the more innovative countries in dealing with the consequences of climate change, and last week policymakers there approved critical tools that can open the door for public and private investment in forests, water and biodiversity conservation.

Keep reading at Ecosystem Marketplace.

How The Paris Climate Agreement Can Drive Colombia’s Fledgling Peace – And Keep Liberia’s Peace Alive

Liberia has built a lasting peace by implementing land reforms that stifled the forces of conflict and paved the way for carbon finance to support sustainable agriculture. Now Colombia hopes to mimic that success with a peace plan of its own – one that harnesses the forest-protection provisions of the Paris Climate Agreement to overhaul its agriculture sector.

Keep reading here

Between Skeptic And Denier: Has The Media Contributed To Public Skepticism On Climate Change?

A falsely balanced discourse between public opinion and climate science in the US has allowed decision-makers to take little action in addressing the very real dangers of climate change, says Emily Lundberg, a Ph.D. communications researcher. Here, she charts this issue from its origins, taking a close look at the media’s role in propelling doubt and stalling change.

Ecosystem Marketplace has the story.

Here's The Deal

Rio Olympics Go Big on Climate Change

It's all about the games at the Summer Olympics that are well underway in Rio de Janeiro. During the Opening Cermony, however, Brazil, a nation comprising about one-third of the world's rainforests, didn't shy away from mentioning severe deforestation and the dangers of a looming change in climate.

The Washington Post has details.

In Karnataka, Compensating for Biodiversity's Impacts on People

Wildlife such as elephants and feral pigs often plague rural farming communities in India's Karnataka state. But a new initiative that harnesses the modern technology of cell phones and the convenience of a help desk is offering assistance.

National Geographic has the story.

Breaking: Landowners like Earning Money for Saving Species 

Many free-thinking farmers and ranchers working in the wide open spaces of the US west don't like to be told what to do. That includes managing their land for troubled species. It's perhaps part of the reason they have gravitated toward the free-market ethos of habitat exchanges, a conservation tool that appears to be gaining ground.

The Smithsonian Magazine has the story.

The Lesser Prairie Chicken Makes a Final Exit

Legal action that began last fall has forced the US Fish and Wildlife Service to officially remove the lesser prairie chicken from the Endangered Species List. The bird will not be considered a candidate species though the agency said it will continue to monitor the bird's status, working with state and regional partners.

Keep reading here.

A Biodiversity Offset That Destroys Biodiversity?

The developer of a potential mitigation bank in Florida is causing a stir as he said he plans to chop down native mangroves and develop a mitigation bank -- just to improve the view. Despite criticism, including from the National Mitigation Banking Association, the environmental authorities appear to be signing off on it.

Read it at the Tampa Bay.

Aussie Conservation Body Questions Use of Offsets That Don't Pass the NNL Test

Biodiversity offsets are meant to be additional, says the Australian Capital Territory's Conservation Council. For this reason, the body is arguing against a local project's decision to offset an endangered tree species by expanding a nature reserve.

Read it at the Canberra Times.

Countries Commit to Biodiversity. Will They Follow Through?  

As many as 101 parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity have submitted their National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan. It's an important milestone, though there's still much work to do, says CBD's Executive Secretary.  

Get the details here.

How Much for this Ecosystem Service?

Efforts to restore a Louisiana wetland are leveraging the services the ecosystem provides, such as storm protection and habitat, to raise funds. The Restore the Earth Foundation together with the US Business Council for Sustainable Development are targeting businesses to raise $1 million and have already received promising responses from such big corporates as Coca Cola, Shell and Entergy.

Keep reading here.

A Payments for Ecosystem Services Success Story

The United Nations Environment Programme has noted the importance of evaluation when it comes to payments for ecosystem services projects. It recently assessed a PES project it spearheaded in Uganda. The project sought to spur biodiversity conservation on non-protected forest areas and UNEP determined it was largely successful in reducing deforestation.

Get the details here.

Policy Watch

I'm No Lawyer, but What is Going on in Western Australia?

A highway extension project in Western Australia is caught up in a Supreme Court case for its impact on a significant conservation site and use of biodiversity offsets. At the heart of the case is the question of whether the government is required to follow its own offset policies. Both sides have won victories in the courtroom and the fight doesn't appear to be over.

Get the details here.

Cali Dreams of a New Wetland Permitting Program

California's State Water Resources Control Board recently published proposed amendments that would usher in a new permitting program for wetlands and waters in the state. The new amendments revise a statewide wetland definition, updated delineation procedures, and change discharge application processes.

Lexology has analysis from Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton.

Western Governors Want a Seat at the ESA Table

The US Western Governors' Association closed its annual meeting this month with a resolution calling for a bigger role for states in administering the federal Endangered Species Act. The Governors noted the value of state expertise in managing natural resources, and also called for scaling up conservation incentives and greater clarity on the role of climate change in listing decisions.

Read about it here.

New Research

We're Playing Ecological Roulette and We Can't Afford It

Researchers say Earth has hit a critical threshold for biodiversity loss, significantly calling into question the ability of ecosystems to support humanity (Read: Five Reasons Why We Need Biodiversity). They urgently stress proactive conservation policies at national and international levels to prevent future losses.

Mongabay has the story.

Business Should Consider Biodiversity the Heart of Natural Capital

A new report by the Cambridge Conservation Initiative urges the business community to treat biodiversity as a natural capital asset rather than one of the many benefits that comes from protecting nature. The report was published in coordination with the launch of the Natural Capital Protocol.

Learn more from Cambridge University.

Get more details here.




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