In this article, we are showing some interesting topics taken from the newsletter of the Ecosystem Marketplace Community Forum. To read the full newsletter, please click here. For more information about the Ecosystem Marketplace, visit their website.

Around the World

The ABCs of water trading

Vittel’s deal with upstream farmers to maintain water quality essential to the mineral water plant, New York city’s payment to upstream farmers to protect the city’s watershed for improved (and cheaper) water filtration as well as Panama’s efforts to maintain the Panama Canal Watershed are all famous examples of payments for ecosystem services (or payments for watershed services). Examples of water trading schemes include wetlands as ‘savings accounts’ for cheaper (and often more efficient) water and waste filtration, Australia’s water trading regime where water is traded as a commodity as common as electricity, or watershed pollution control arrangements.

In developing countries, clean drinking water is often most expensive for the poorest communities and establishing a trading scheme could, arguably, reduce industrial waste and enable more efficient water delivery. Establishing trading regimes could also create further social inequalities in societies marked by poor institutional arrangements. Despite this important concern, water trading regimes, if implemented properly, can fundamentally drive change.


At the private event at June’s Global Katoomba XII meeting, participants worked to advance several nascent market initiatives aimed at reducing nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment pollution in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Participants discussed previous market based schemes aimed at improving the water quality of the Bay and then worked in different groups to develop business plans for new initiatives. There is still a lot of work to be done, but the Katoomba Group, as well as many other participants, confirmed their commitment to the creation of a market-based scheme to improve water quality within the Bay in the years to come.

- Please see the “Private Meeting” tab on the Katoomba Chesapeake website for more information and resources regarding water trading and the Chesapeake Bay Initiative.

‘Growing’ clean water for the Olympics: a story of divine intentions and human actions
By Katherine Ellison, China Dialogue February 18th, 2008

Beijing's strategy for clean water during the Olympics? Pay rural farmers to 'grow' it. Katherine Ellison explores China's new hope for conserving the precious natural resources it has left. Combine global warming with an already dry climate and a growing population, and you’ve got the nightmare haunting Beijing: the risk that the capital may run out of water, perhaps just in time for this year’s “green Olympics.” Last September, several Chinese government-affiliated scientists met with a team from the Natural Capital Project - a year-old partnership between Stanford University, The Nature Conservancy and WWF. The project has developed mapping and modeling software to pinpoint landscapes where conservation makes the most sense, a tool that has great potential to help the Chinese government fine-tune its concept of preserving 'ecological function zones.' In the “Viewpoint” section of the Community Forum you can learn more about Gretchen Daily, a great scientist who worked all her life to give nature’s its value.

- Read the full article entitled “Paying for Nature”
- Learn more about the Natural Capital Project

Resources and Tools

Natural Capital’s new tool: A sound InVESTment? Modeling and mapping the delivery, distribution and economic value of ecosystem services

Government officials, conservation professionals, farmers, and other land owners make decisions about how to use their land all the time. Yet, never before have any of these groups had a systematic way to demonstrate the future costs and benefits of their decisions for people and the environment. In its most ground-breaking effort, the Natural Capital Project aims to meet this challenge with InVEST, a new tool that can model and map the delivery, distribution, and economic value of life-support systems (ecosystem services), well into the future. The tool will help users visualize the impacts of potential decisions, identifying tradeoffs and compatibilities between environmental, economic, and social benefits, working in biophysical and economic terms in 3 tiers (basic to more elaborate).

- Click here for more information

Neo meets PES: the Ecosystem Marketplace brings you the matrix
Adapted from “The Matrix: Mapping Ecosystem Services” by Nathaniel Carroll and Michael Jenkins
The once-radical concept of saving the environment by documenting the economic value of environmental services and then getting industry to pay is finally catching on – but how is one to keep track of all the new methodologies and concepts? The Ecosystem Marketplace presents The Matrix, a new tool for surveying the ecosystem services landscape. The Matrix categorizes ecosystem markets by market type, commodity type (water, biodiversity, carbon, bundled, other), payment schemes, benefits to the communities (social equity) as well as opportunities and pitfalls associated with each of these.

- Access the Matrix
- Read the ecosystem market place full article “The Matrix: Mapping Ecosystem Services”
- Go deeper into the Matrix

The articles above were all taken from the Ecosystem Marketplace Community Forum's newsletter, Vol. 3, No. 4: July 11, 2008.

The Ecosystem Marketplace seeks to become the world's leading source of information on markets and payment schemes for ecosystem services; services such as water quality, carbon sequestration and biodiversity. We believe that by providing solid and trust-worthy information on prices, regulation, science, and other market-relevant issues, markets for ecosystem services will one day become a fundamental part of our economic and environmental system, helping give value to environmental services that have, for too long, been taken for granted.

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