Ecosystem Markets: New Mechanisms to Support Forestry

Lead Author: Kathryn Fernholz

Publish date: 03.26.2008


With the growing interest in global warming, climate change, and the influence that human activities have on our environment, there are increasing opportunities for market-based mechanisms to support responsible forestry and environmentally beneficial land use decisions. An increasingly common market-based mechanism is the “carbon credit” which links marketplace values with the sequestration of carbon. Additional market opportunities exist and are in development for other ecosystem products and services, including payments for water, soil protection, and habitat enhancements. Although carbon credits are currently grabbing the headlines, the take home message from the evolving “ecosystem marketplace” is that the time may be right for implementation of economic tools that link environmental cause-and-effect relationships and to more robustly reward the full range of environmental stewardship values. There is also a need to develop the tools to effectively measure and monitor these marketplace transactions.