Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Field evidence that ecosystem service projects support biodiversity and diversity options

A recent paper from PNAS provided a TNC perspective.

Compared to biodiversity-oriented projects, ecosystem service-oriented projects:

  • have more funders, obtain 4+ times funding,
  • more successful at securing corporate funding and received much more funding per projects
  • more likely to involve diverse finance tools (purchasing land rights, selling carbon credits, designing new subsidies) as incentive rather than the traditional approaches of land purchase and purchase of property rights,
  • use markets and user access fees more frequently
  • more likely to alter an institutional policy (e.g. changing ownership rights of a dam to also decommissioning, selling rights to carbon credits, and being granted access rights to particular forests),
  • more likely to pursue conservation outside reserves (as shown in figure),
  • more likely to keep land in private ownership rather than negotiating a land purchase.
It is a very interesting study and showed why ES-oriented projects provide a more flexible approach compared to the traditional BD-oriented ones. The best part is ES projects attracted more cooperate funding and involved more agricultural land.

The study is based on a small sample (N=60, and only over half of the projects had funding information) but it is the first quantified study. Another point the authors made was that monitoring is a weak link for both types of projects.

P.S. Carbon offsets helps to reduce poverty, according to a UK report.

Update: Here is why we need to involve cooperates: "Out of 320 senior global executives, 43% said they managed environmental risks in an ‘ad hoc' manner, or not at all."

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