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From the Editors

On October 26, WWF published its bi-annual Living Planet Report charting the new "Anthropocene" epoch, a post-Holocene era defined by the effects of by human activity. Among those human impacts, according to WWF, is a plunge in worldwide vertebrate populations that works out to a 58% decline between 1970 and 2012. While that global-level number obscures some positive trends, it certainly works as a wake-up call.  

"We are feeling the impact of a sick planet - from social, economic and climate stability to energy, food and water security - all increasingly suffering from environmental degradation," Marco Lambertini, the Director General of WWF International, writes in the report.  WWF lists transformations in the food and energy sectors as the first steps to seriously stemming biodiversity loss.

A recognition of the value of biodiversity could also aid species and habitats, and there's new evidence the practice may be on the rise – at least in California. A recent case analysis found that the value of a San Benito property increased threefold after considering eco-asset market values.

In September, the Department of Interior recently wrapped up a three-year assessment of conservation banking including a survey of bank sponsors and managers. The results revealed that project developers are broadly supportive of adopting new ecological metrics to better track conservation banking's impacts at a programmatic level. Sounds good to us.

Another interesting find: Respondents named Habitat Conservation Plans as the single most important factor impeding bank operations.

Read on below,

- The Ecosystem Marketplace team

 
   

Latest News

New California Law Recognizes Meadows, Streams As “Green Infrastructure” Eligible For Public Works Funding

As degraded watersheds drag California into its sixth year of drought, a new law makes forests, farms, and fields eligible for infrastructure funding – and the state is hardly alone, according to new research by Ecosystem Marketplace, which shows a dramatic surge in payments for watershed services across the United States and around the world. 

Ecosystem Marketplace has the story.

New Bond Aims To Unlock Private Investment To Protect Forests

While most agree forests have a critical role to play in curbing climate change, forest protection programs continue to struggle to attract capital. But a new investment mechanism could help bridge the finance gap through a unique component that gives investors the option of receiving interest payments in the form of environmental impact. Called the Forests Bond, it supports a REDD project in Kenya’s Kasigau Corridor.

Read more at Ecosystem Marketplace.

How Latin American Farmers Can Make $1k Per Hectare By Restoring Land

Twenty percent of the forests and farmland of Latin America and the Caribbean have been degraded by over logging, overgrazing, and overplowing, according to the World Resources Institute, which says that restoring just 20 million hectares can generate $23 billion in net benefits over the next 50 years and slow climate change.

Get details on the report at Ecosystem Marketplace.

Transforming Agriculture From Threat To Solution For Environmental Challenges

The global narrative on agriculture expanded after Rio+20 to include the concept of “sustainable intensification” and is now moving towards a clear vision. The Sustainable Development Goals offer a roadmap for sustainable agricultural systems and landscapes that secure food, ecosystem services and climate resilience, says Sara Scherr of EcoAgriculture Partners.

Ecosystem Marketplace has the story.

HERE'S THE DEAL

Making the Business Case for Investing in Nature

Global engineering firm CH2M continues to stress the need for businesses to invest in nature as natural capital declines and concrete infrastructure ages. The firm partnered with other members of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development to design a free online platform called Natural Infrastructure for Business, which aims to strengthen the business case for investing in natural infrastructure. 

Green Biz has the story.

Who Will Take the Lead on Natural Capital Accounting?

We all need the rain and the natural world, says Paul Gehres, an environmental advisor who believes initiatives that are pushing policymakers, businesses and investors to account for their dependence on natural capital are meeting with relative success. But clear leaders have yet to emerge.

Read Gheres' whole blog on the Huffington Post.

Unlocking Private Investment for Conservation

In a recent article adapted from a report published earlier this year by Credit Suisse and the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment, report authors explain how improving risk-return profiles and structuring larger investment products could unlock private capital to flow toward conservation projects.

McKinsey & Company has more.

MARKET MUSINGS

Saltwater Mitigation Bank Leaves Bitter Taste for Locals in Maine

Maine's Department of Transportation is planning to restore and turn part of the Sherman saltwater marsh into a mitigation bank, to the dismay of some locals. Residents living close to the wetland express concern they'll lose access while some public officials say the DOP projects the bank will compensate for are occurring in other areas of the state.  

The Bangor Daily News has details.

POLICY WATCH

Green Groups say Australia's Biodiversity Bill Bad News for Biodiversity

Conservation groups including WWF and Australians for Animals say New South Wales' proposed biodiversity legislation could result in environmental disaster. They zero in on a provision that would allow developers to clear over 300,000 hectares of habitat through a self-assessing process and compensate with cash payments in lieu of biodiversity offsets.  

Read more at Echonetdaily.

Environmental adviser Professor Hugh Possingham recently resigned in protest against the proposed legislation. He cites the "equity codes" provision that bypasses offsetting as one big reason.

9News has more.

Government-Led Conservation Helps Prairie Chickens Roam Wider, USDA Says

According to the US Department of Agriculture, ranchers and farmers that implement habitat conservation practices designed by the Natural Resources Conservation Service are measurably helping lesser prairie chicken populations. New research says practices such as prescribed grazing have resulted in large swathes of intact prairie, which is critical to the bird's conservation.

The USDA has more on the findings.

NEW RESEARCH

Can Humankind Change to Save the World?

Animal populations continue to decline at alarming rates, according to WWF's most recent Living Planet report. In order to reverse these trends and end what most scientists say is a human-produced mass extinction event, global societies must pull off the extremely difficult feat of creating a new economic system that enhances and supports natural capital.

News.com.au has more.

What do Conservation Bankers Think About...

Actors in the conservation banking space in the United States want to see clear timelines established for reviewing bank proposals and a clear preference by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for advance mitigation. That's according to recent findings from a Department of Interior-conducted survey of bank sponsors and managers.

For the details, read Results From A Survey Of Conservation Banking Sponsors And Managers

PROJECT DEVELOPMENT

Innovative Conservation Projects: USDA Wants to Hear From You!

The US Department of Agriculture announced it is once again accepting proposals on cutting-edge conservation projects in order to receive a Conservation Innovation Grant. The USDA funnels up to $25 million into these projects that focus on six core areas that includes conservation finance and data analytics.

Read the details at the USDA blog.

   
   

ABOUT FOREST TRENDS' ECOSYSTEM MARKETPLACE

Ecosystem Marketplace is an initiative of Forest Trends, a tax-exempt corporation under Section 501(c)3. This newsletter and other dimensions of our market tracking programs 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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