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From the Editors

The revamping of biodiversity conservation continues in the US. As promised, the US Fish and Wildlife Service issued a draft Compensatory Mitigation Policy for species listed under the Endangered Species Act. It's the first time the Service will manage adverse impacts to at-risk species with a comprehensive policy that encompasses an array of mitigation mechanisms.

"Despite our best efforts to avoid and minimize impacts on the environment, there will almost always be some impacts that are unavoidable. Where at-risk species are concerned, we must ensure to the greatest extent possible that those impacts are compensated for," Gary Frazer, FWS Assistant Director for Ecological Services, said. 

The draft policy is a part of the administration of President Barack Obama's ongoing efforts to shift mitigation from a project-by-project basis to strategic landscape-level planning. The policy aims to promote a list of preferred mitigation measures that compensate in advance of impacts such as conservation banking. The Service added another tool to that list in the new policy: the habitat credit exchange, otherwise knowns as "Airbnb for wildlife."

Interested parties have until October 17 to comment on the draft policy. Meanwhile, Nevada made an exciting announcement of its own earlier this month. Under the Nevada Conservation Credit System, Newmont Mining Company will establish greater sage grouse conservation projects. And in exchange for delivering a net benefit to the sage grouse, Newmont will receive credits that it can use to offset future mining-related impacts to the bird.

Players in the private sector are also mobilizing to conserve pollinators as business organizations promote creating or enhancing their habitat on company property. Bees are also creating some buzzworthy news in India where farmers find raising bees alongside coffee may help preserve native forests.

These stories and more are summarized below.

- The Ecosystem Marketplace team



The Missing Link In Protecting Forests? The Private Sector

After last year’s Paris Agreement solidified the critical role of forests in mitigating climate change, Forest Trends’ Gus Silva-Chávez says the next step is harnessing the nearly untapped potential of the private sector. A new Forest Trends report lays out the “carrots and sticks” approach to spurring private sector action in forest protection.

Ecosystem Marketplace explains.

Taking the Deforestation Out of Avocados 

Everyone loves avocados. They taste great, and they’re good for you, but our ravenous demand for them is prompting farmers in central Mexico to chop forests, and that accelerates climate change. It’s a demand-driven problem that requires demand-driven solutions, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up the guacamole just yet. Here’s a look at both the challenge and its solutions. 

Read the story at Ecosystem Marketplace.

The Next Agriculture Revolution Is Under Our Feet

The topic of soil might not grab the headlines, but the fact of the matter is soil health is critical in ensuring healthy communities, land, water and climate. Achieving healthy soil today requires innovative practices alongside innovative finance and practitioners say this starts with collaboration among government agencies, experts and farmers.

Read more from Ecosystem Marketplace.


Mining for Conservation Credits

The Newmont Mining Company inked a deal with the state of Nevada – the US' largest gold mining state – and the Department of Interior to establish greater sage grouse conservation projects under the Nevada Conservation Credit System. In exchange for delivering a net benefit to the sage grouse, Newmont will receive credits that it can use to offset future mining-related impacts to the birds.

The Denver Post has details.

Read what the Environmental Defense Fund's Director of Habitat Markets, Will McDow, had to say about the deal.

Determining Protocol for Corporate Natural Capital Accounting

Big names in the corporate world such as Coca Cola, Dow and Shell among others are trying out the Natural Capital Coalition's Natural Capital Protocol. The protocol is essentially a framework designed to help corporates integrate natural capital into their decision-making.

Read more from The Huffington Post.

Pollinators go Corporate

Bees and pollinators of all sorts are receiving support from the corporate world. The Business Council for Sustainable Development and Pollinator Partnership launched the Corporate Pollinator Ecosystem Project, which seeks not only to identify pollinator habitat on corporate property but also to encourage companies to develop and enhance it.  

3BL Media has details.

The $1M Habitat Mitigation Plan

State wildlife officials in Idaho expect the Canadian-based mining company Agrium to pay roughly $1 million in habitat mitigation in order to set up a fertilizer mine. The mitigation plan uses a habitat equivalency analysis – a first for Idaho - that allows the company to both quantify the value of lost habitat due to mining developments and then offset those losses elsewhere.

Find out more at the Capital Press.

Politician says Never Mind about Banking Permit  

A former candidate for US Senate Carlos Beruff has decided not to pursue his idea for an unconventional wetland mitigation bank in Florida. After pushback from several environmental groups and skepticism from federal agencies, Beruff withdrew his state permit request.

The Tampa Bay Times has more.

CIG Winner seeks to Boost Biodiversity Markets

The US Department of Agriculture awarded K·Coe Isom, a US-based consulting firm on agricultural accounting, with a Conservation Innovation Grant worth $433,807. The firm says it will work with western landowners to stimulate private investment in habitat mitigation markets in several western states.  

Read a press release at PRWeb.

Read more about this year's Conservation Innovation Grant winners at the USDA blog.


Shaking Up At-Risk Species Conservation in the US

Late last month, the US Fish and Wildlife Service issued a first of its kind draft Compensatory Mitigation Policy for species listed under the Endangered Species Act. The policy is continuing follow-up to last fall's Presidential Memorandum on mitigation, which states a preference for advanced mitigation measures and aims to shift biodiversity conservation toward a landscape-scale approach.

Get details from the Courthouse News Service.

Read the FWS press release.

Is WA's Biodiversity Bill New and Improved?

Western Australia lawmakers issued a long-awaited for biodiversity bill that updates legislation passed into law in 1950. The new bill offers amped up protection for such species as dolphins and dugongs, and mandates all parts of parliament must weigh in on decisions that affect endangered wildlife.

Get details from the Mining Weekly and The West Australian.

Battle Over the Lesser Prairie Chicken is Back

Environmental groups are once again advocating for the US Fish and Wildlife Service to relist the lesser prairie chicken. Those opposed such as energy interest groups say the bird is rebounding thanks to voluntary conservation and plentiful rains, while environmentalists say threats to the chicken's habitat are only getting worse.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has the latest.   


Coffee, Bees and Payments for Ecosystem Services

Karnataka's Kodagu district in India is a hotbed of ecosystem services that include biodiversity, carbon sequestration and water regulation, which is why PES researchers think the famed coffee growers of the region should explore payments for ecosystem services. They're currently experiencing with bee farming that also helps conserve native groves. 

The India Climate Dialogue has more.

Where has all the Biodiversity Gone?

China's Grain-to-Green program is the largest reforestation project in the world but the program has failed to protect or enhance biodiversity, say Princeton University researchers. They recommend restoring the country's diverse native forests or establishing mixed forests.  

Read more on the study's findings from the University of Princeton.

Biodiversity in the Building Plans

Integrating the mitigation hierarchy into infrastructure and development projects in the UK could substantially reduce biodiversity loss, says WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, the engineering and design consulting firm. In a new report, the group encourages both the public and private sector to adopt a biodiversity net gain approach using offsets as a last resort.

Learn more about WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff's report.

Bad News for Britain's Biodiversity

This year's State of Nature report, which assesses biodiversity in the United Kingdom, offers insights on some small victories and innovative conservation projects but overall it doesn't bring good news. The UK's wildlife is under pressure from climate change, agriculture and a reduction in conservation funds resulting in a net loss of nature.   

Find out more at the Ecologist.




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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