The title of this article could be the theme song of this blog: “It’s Not Easy Turning High Environmental Value into High Economic Value” (by Alice Kenny, published in Ecosystem Marketplace).

Some say the best way to create incentives to restore the most environmentally valuable properties is to let landowners sell restoration credits garnered from a single location into multiple ecosystem markets [carbon offsets, wetland mitigation banks, nutrient banks].  Others say that would be an old-fashioned double-dip that benefits the landowner without generating any additional good for the environment.

Environmental scientists say it’s a moot argument—because even if it works in theory, no one knows how to implement it, at least in the current regulatory framework.

It’s a complicated article, and most of it was new to me. The point that made the most sense was that if the services of the restored land can be unbundled and sold separately, then the services of the destroyed land should also have been unbundled and counted separately. But that’s not done now.

How Is This Restoration?

You can’t have a market selling ecosystem services unless something has actually been restored. An ecosystem market creates an incentive for landowners to restore their properties. If things get as out of control with unbundling and selling services separately as predicted by the article above, then the system could collapse.

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