DATA & ANALYSIS
  • We all know that trees and forests are important. Trees give us shade and a place to relax on a sunny day. Their wood helps make products ranging from the homes we live in to medications we take when we're sick.

    But did you know that trees benefit society just by being there? Forests purify the air we breathe, clean the water we drink and provide habitat for a diverse mix of plants and animals. Collectively, these life-sustaining benefits are called ecosystem services and according to a recent assessment by Texas A&M Forest Service are valued at $93 billion annually.

    Texas Statewide Assessment of Forest Ecosystem Services (October 2013)

     + Ecosystem Services Marketing

    Ecosystem services marketing is an initiative aimed at creating monetary value for benefits provided by forests and other natural areas. Landowners maintain their forests as forests—by receiving income from those that benefit from the services provided by their land. Potential services that can be marketed and transacted include biodiversity, carbon, and watershed. Click below to learn more.

    While these markets are in their infancy and still emerging, a 2010 survey conducted by TFS indicated that Texas landowners are interested in learning more and possibly participating in these new market opportunities.

    Environmental Credit Marketing Survey (August 2010)

     + Biodiversity

    Biodiversity markets generally focus on habitat conservation and restoration projects. These markets are designed to lessen the impact on biodiversity resulting from various activities, and are driven by regulatory policy of “no net loss.” Biodiversity impacts can be offset by purchasing credits from conservation/mitigation banks for wetlands, streams and threatened or endangered species.

     + Carbon

    Carbon markets, either voluntary or compliance based, focus on reducing or offsetting greenhouse gas emissions. Offsets represent the reduction, avoidance or sequestration of one metric ton of carbon dioxide. Forests have the ability to store and sequester carbon from the atmosphere and can generate offsets that can be transacted on these markets.

     + Watershed

    Watershed markets and payments direct money to natural water infrastructure for water quality and quantity. These markets may serve to facilitate the delivery of clean and reliable drinking water, manage stormwater and flood control or improve water quality as directed by regulatory policy.

     + FAQs
    What are ecosystem services?
    Ecosystem services are generally defined as the benefits people obtain from ecosystems. 

     

    What are ecosystem service markets?
    Ecosystem service markets are financial mechanisms designed to enhance or maintain benefits people obtain from ecosystems. Landowners providing ecosystem services (sellers) receive payment from those that benefit (buyers) from the services provided, just like in traditional markets.

     

    What are some examples of ecosystem service markets?

    Government or public payments – Financial assistance programs, tax credits, or subsidies to private landowners for protecting, enhancing, or restoring an ecosystem service.

    Voluntary markets – Payment made to landowners by businesses or conservation groups for public relations, ethical reasons, or to protect assets and investments.

    Regulatory based – Payment made to landowners by businesses or individuals to comply with environmental policy or regulations.

     + Additional Information
    Visit our Ecosystem Services Links page for an extensive list of ecosystem information, services and professionals.
     + Contact

    Burl Carraway
    Department Head, Sustainable Forestry
    200 Technology Way, Suite 1281
    College Station, TX 77845
    979-458-6630 office
    979-458-6633 fax
    bcarraway@tfs.tamu.edu


    Hughes Simpson
    Program Coordinator
    200 Technology Way, Suite 1281
    College Station, TX 77845
    979-458-6630 office
    979-458-6633 fax
    hsimpson@tfs.tamu.edu