The CCC is leading a community working group to investigate the feasibility of establishing an ecosystem services marketplace in northern Colorado. The goal of such a marketplace would be to create a new tool for the region to achieve regional conservation goals by incentivizing good land stewardship while also improving the livelihoods of those managing the land.
Ecosystem services are the life-sustaining benefits people receive from nature, such as clean air, clean water, food and fiber production, and open space to recreate. For example, a forest does not just provide timber. It also provides public benefits such as water quality protection, recreational opportunities, and biodiversity habitat. In order for nature to provide these benefits, the landscapes that provide them must be properly managed so that the underlying ecological processes necessary for their production are protected.
In northern Colorado, a diverse set of land managers, including ranchers, farmers and public agencies, steward a variety of landscapes that provide critical ecosystem services that both urban and rural communities rely on. These ecosystem services include high quality water resources, agricultural products, biodiversity habitat and recreational opportunities that all flow from the region’s forests, rangelands and croplands.
Unfortunately, these landscapes face increasing pressures that threaten the continued provision of high quality ecosystem services. Our hope is that an ecosystem marketplace could be a new, innovative tool used to overcome these issues. It would incentivize best management practices on important landscapes by financially rewarding landowners and managers who volunteer to improve stewardship practices of their lands. The results would be improved livelihoods for landowners and ensure a continued flow of critical ecosystem services to northern Colorado communities.
For example, ranchers could diversify their revenue streams by being paid for protecting the quality of water flowing through their lands, in addition to the beef they produce. Such a system of payments for ecosystem services is a win-win for the ranchers and communities downstream. Ranchers would improve their profitability and communities downstream can ensure their water quality.
May 2011 Ecosystem Services Workshop
Click here to find out more about the workshop and to see videos of the workshop presentations/panels.
Ecosystem Marketplace Working Group:
Patrick Flynn – Center for Collaborative Conservation, CSU
Dr. Josh Goldstein – Dept. of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, CSU
Hill Grimmett – Be Local Northern Colorado
David Jessup – Sylvan Dale Ranch
Heather Knight – The Nature Conservancy
Dr. Rick Knight – Dept. of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, CSU
Dr. Robin Reid – Center for Collaborative Conservation, CSU