Ecosystem Market News

Ecosystem markets are emerging from the shadows and challenges of the early wetland banking projects to reach respected status as a highly effective-and essential-conservation strategy for protecting habitat, water quality, and carbon storage by forests. Why?

Here's what some 200 experts from conservation, government, business and academia found most interesting at a recent convening by the American Forest Foundation:

* There's been a convergence across different types of markets in what's required to demonstrate ecological credibility.

* State and federal agencies are breaking down silos, increasingly moving toward cross-department commonality that can allow people to access multiple markets.

* The conservation community sees a huge opportunity to take the existing markets and make them more strategic, achieving better on-the-ground conservation results.

* As both the credibility and strategic impact have risen, so too has the investment interest that's looking for conservation projects of proven value. Voluntary carbon markets alone reached $705 million in 2008, a doubling in just one year.

Together, these new directions signal important conservation opportunities through market-driven strategies. From our vantage point, as a conservation group focused on securing sustainable forestry on private land, we see ecosystem markets as a critical step toward making the conservation option viable for more of the 10 million family forest owners in America. That is why we've made it a priority to convene the best minds to confront what's working and what's not, as together we build ecosystem markets that succeed.

According to AFF board member Sara Vickerman, the optimism voiced by conservation participants at our June gathering in Portland, Oregon, is a big change from the past. This is an important area to watch, as the carbon markets expand and as multi-sector market registries like TZ1 develop exponentially as an internationally recognized way to trade high-quality credits.

Learn more about the trends, lessons, and challenges of the growing ecosystem marketplace by visiting our website and downloading the presentations. If you would like to receive future updates on ecosystem markets, email Todd Gartner, Conservation Incentives Manager, at, 202-463-5181.


Tom Martin
President and CEO
American Forest Foundation
The American Forest Foundation is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization that was chartered in 1981 with the purpose of encouraging the long-term sustainability of America's forests, restoring wildlife habitat, and developing quality environmental education programs, to assure that Americans today, and in the future, enjoy healthy, growing forests. Visit
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