Ecosystem Service Market Development: The Role and Opportunity for Finance

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The creation of tradable credits for the development or preservation of ecosystem services has emerged as a method to provide such payments. These credits are financial assets that can be sold to fund landowners’ investment in stewardship projects. Earning a financial return for good environmental stewardship of property holds the promise of simultaneously protecting the environment and providing economic opportunity in rural areas, thus supporting societal interests in rural sustainability.

This report includes recommendations for improving ES project access to finance, some of which will be tested in pilot projects in a second phase of this effort. A longer-term objective is to unlock ES project development as an environmentally beneficial economic opportunity in rural communities.

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