The Consultant - 2011 - (Page 34)

COVER FEATURE The Brave New World of Ecosystem Service Markets BY K. GREGG ELLIOTT USDA developing guidelines for carbon, water and biodiversity W hen James Houser, ACF, first began hearing about carbon markets, he thought to himself, “If I don’t supply that service to my landowners, somebody else will. If I were a landowner, I’d rather hire one guy who can advise me on my entire operation, rather than just one facet of it.” Even though carbon markets have recently tanked, Houser did pick up new business by providing carbon sequestration advice – usually by looking at trees that were not yet merchantable but would soon need thinning. A forest’s carbon uptake or “sequestration” capacity is one example of an ecosystem service, the new term in vogue to describe ecological functions present in all types of ecosystems. However, the term ecosystem service has an added twist: it connotes an ecosystem product or function that is specifically useful to people and, here’s the kicker, therefore subject to economic valuation. The prospect of farmers and forestland owners jumping into ecosystem service markets with both feet may seem a long way off, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture is helping to make the leap. USDA’s newly created Office of Environmental Markets, established in response to the 2008 Farm Bill, is developing guidelines for carbon, water and biodiversity markets to facilitate landowner involvement. OEM is rolling out a series of “farm of the future” case studies, including one forestry case study. What makes them farms – or forests – of the future?  Their ability to capitalize on environmental stewardship through new market forces. I n a coord i nated ef for t, the Environmental Protection Agency is helping to put dollar signs on ecological functions. EPA’s Ecosystem Services Research Program is supporting a series THE CONSULTANT 2011 34

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Consultant - 2011

Executive Director’s Message The Power of Family Support
President’s Message Three-Legged Stool: Landowners, Loggers and Consultants
The “Shaw Method” – How to Succeed in Business While Building a Profession
Madonna, Cher & … Carbo?
International Demand for U.S. Wood Fiber for Biomass Energy
Forestry Response on Wood as a Positive Climate Contributor
What Biomass May Mean to the Small Landowner
Unified Community the Best Antidote for Misinformation
ATFS: Old News, Wrong News and New News
The Brave New World of Ecosystem Service Markets
Should State Departments of Forestry Charge for Services?
Timberland Valuation: The Appraiser-Forester Partnership
In California Forestry, the Tail Wags the Dog

The Consultant - 2011