Navigation Links
How should society pay for services ecosystems provide?
Date:11/4/2011

Over the past 50 years, 60 percent of all ecosystem services have declined as a direct result of the conversion of land to the production of foods, fuels and fibers.

This should come as no surprise, say seven of the world's leading environmental scientists, who met to collectively study the pitfalls of utilizing markets to induce people to take account of the environmental costs of their behavior and solutions. We are getting what we pay for.

"The best things in life are free, including nature", says author Stephen Polasky, professor of applied economics and ecology, evolution and behavior. "But without a price for nature's services we don't maintain the environment in ways necessary to sustain these valuable services." Polasky is also a resident fellow in the university's Institute on the Environment (IonE).

Their report, "Paying for Ecosystem Services: Promise and Peril," is published in the Nov. 4 issue of the journal Science.

Society pays for the products of agriculture, aquaculture and forestry, and has developed well-functioning markets for these products, these experts say

However, author David Tilman, Regents Professor in the College of Biological Sciences and IonE fellow, notes "We also need market mechanisms that reward farmers for the quality of the water that leaves their lands, and for other important ecosystem services." These services include watershed protection, habitat provision, pest and disease regulation, climate regulation and storm buffering.

The problem is that many ecosystem services are public goods. Some lie outside the control of any one government, and the science for others is still only poorly understood. There is no one-size payment mechanism that fits all cases. And bad payment mechanisms can be worse than no payment mechanisms at all, the study's authors warn, pointing to the lessons learned from four decades of agricultural subsidies. Subsidies encouraged the overuse of fertilizers and pesticides, two of the main reasons for the growing number of dead zones in the world's oceans.

A similar lesson can be found in the first generation of cap-and-trade systems, they say. The first U.S. markets for sulfur dioxide emission rights collapsed because of faulty design: They failed to take into account the interactions between multiple pollutants across state boundaries.

Establishing markets and payment for ecosystem services can provide incentives for sustainable supply of these services. Examples of successful approaches to environmental markets include cap-and-trade policies to limit pollution and certification for sustainably made products. But environmental markets need to be designed carefully. Doing it wrong could be worse than not doing it at all.

The scientists' report is timely, given the growing enthusiasm for the use of Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) schemes that allow governments and non-governmental organizations to pay for environmental public goods. For example, carbon sequestration is being paid for through the United Nations' Collaborative Program on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries, or REDD, scheme. The scheme pays countries to not cut down their forests, which in turn puts the brakes on loss of biodiversity, in addition to curbing carbon emissions.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jeff Falk
jfalk@umn.edu
612-626-1720
University of Minnesota
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. E-health records should play bigger role in patient safety initiatives, researchers advocate
2. New organic catalyst should enhance drug research and development
3. Undergraduate institutions should play larger research role
4. Low-cost molecular medicine should be included in modern eye physicians tool kit
5. Species unique to single island should not be rare there
6. Data suggest liver experts should take care when prescribing novel antiviral HCV drugs
7. Biodiversity in danger: Which areas should be protected?
8. The amount of adipose tissue should be taken into account in the fight against obesity
9. Should airplanes look like birds?
10. Sediment pollution should be included in water quality assessment
11. Researchers: EPA should recognize environmental impact of protecting foreign oil
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/30/2017)... ARLINGTON, Va. , June 30, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ ... a leading developer and supplier of face and ... the ATA Featured Product provider program. ... created an innovative way to monitor a driver,s ... benefit greatly from being able to detect fatigue ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... , May 23, 2017  Hunova, the first robotic gym for the ... been officially launched in Genoa, Italy . The first ... and the USA . The technology was developed ... market by the IIT spin-off Movendo Technology thanks to a 10 million ... News Release, please click: ...
(Date:5/6/2017)... RAM Group , Singaporean based ... in biometric authentication based on a novel  ... to perform biometric authentication. These new sensors are based on ... Ram Group and its partners. This sensor will have ... and security. Ram Group is a next generation ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... States multicenter, prospective clinical study that demonstrates the accuracy of the FebriDx® ... identifying clinically significant acute bacterial and viral respiratory tract infections by testing ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 12, 2017 , ... AMRI, a global contract research, development ... patient outcomes and quality of life, will now be offering its impurity solutions ... new regulatory requirements for all new drug products, including the finalization of ICH ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... President Andi Purple announced Dr. Suneel I. Sheikh, the co-founder, CEO and chief ... ), Inc. has been selected for membership in ARCS Alumni Hall of ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... 11, 2017 , ... Personal eye wash is a basic first aid supply for any work ... which eye do you rinse first if a dangerous substance enters both eyes? It’s one ... with its unique dual eye piece. , “Whether its dirt and debris, or an ...
Breaking Biology Technology: