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Study shows market-based strategies for ecosystem conservation are surging

Programs in which people pay landholders to support natural systems that provide benefits like flood protection, biodiversity and carbon storage, are expanding around the world, according to a new UCLA-led study.

The paper, published today in Nature Sustainability, is the first peer-reviewed, global assessment of “payments for ecosystem services” mechanisms. Leading the study were James Salzman, Donald Bren Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law at UCLA School of Law and the Bren School of the Environment at UC Santa Barbara, and researchers at Ecosystem Marketplace, an initiative of the non-profit Forest Trends.

Malaysia provides one example of how payment for ecosystem services programs work, Salzman said. The state of Sabah worked with private parties to restore and maintain 131 square miles of rainforest, home to one of the world’s highest concentrations of orangutans. The program sells “biodiversity conservation certificates,” each representing 100 square meters of forest restoration and protection for at least 50 years.
Read more on UCLA Newsroom