Started in 2012, Nature’s Returns: Investing in Ecosystem Services is a webinar series that addresses the growing importance of ecosystem service valuation and investment.
The benefits that human populations gain from healthy and functioning ecosystems are vast. Clean drinking water filtered by forests, carbon stored in plants or soil, crop pollination by wild insects, and pharmaceutical uses of plants are just a few examples of services humans usually receive for free. A recent wave of efforts to monetize the value of ecosystem services presents an opportunity to both protect these assets and bring their worth into the market.
Currently, conservationists and investors alike are moving into this space in hopes of achieving a win-win for the economy and the environment. An array of public and private mechanisms exist to use payments to encourage responsible land management that preserves public benefits.
So, what do ecosystem services projects look like? Who are the practitioners involved and what skills are most important for breaking into the profession? What obstacles and opportunities does this field face? These questions, among others, are addressed in the webinar series throughout the school year.