Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Scientists warn restoration-based environmental markets may not improve ecosystem health

Methods for restoring ecosystems out of synch with interest in environmental markets

While policymakers across of the globe are relying on environmental restoration projects to fuel emerging market-based environmental programs, an article in the July 31 edition of Science by two noted ecologists warns that these programs still lack the scientific certainty needed to ensure that restoration projects deliver the environmental improvements being marketed.

Markets identify the benefits humans derive from ecosystems, called ecosystem services, and associate them with economic values which can be bought, sold or traded. The scientists, Dr. Margaret Palmer and Dr. Solange Filoso of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, raise concerns that there is insufficient scientific understanding of the restoration process, namely, how to alter a landscape or coastal habitat to achieve the environmental benefits that are marketed.

"Both locally and nationally, policymakers are considering market-based environmental restoration programs where the science does not yet conclusively show that environment health will improve once the 'restoration' is completed," said Dr. Palmer. "These programs may very well make economic sense, but the jury is still out whether or not the local environment will ultimately benefit."

At present, the demand in ecosystem service markets is driven by regulations that require those who harm the environment to mitigate or provide offsets for their environmental impacts. But in the regions throughout the world, including the Chesapeake Bay, many people hope that voluntary markets will expand outside of a regulatory context and result in a net gain of ecosystem services rather than just offsets for lost ecosystem services.

Examples include markets for flood protection created by restoring floodplains or wetlands and markets for improving water quality by restoring streams or rivers.

The scientists outline what should be done before markets expand further: recognize that restoration projects generally only restore a subset of the services that natural ecosystem provide, complete a limited number of projects in which direct measurements are made of the response of biophysical processes to restoration actions, and identify easily measured ecosystem features that have been shown to reflect the biophysical processes that support the desired ecosystem service.

"There is an inherent danger of marketing ecosystem services through ecological restoration without properly verifying if the restoration actions actually lead to the delivery of services," said Dr. Filoso. "If this happens, these markets may unintentionally cause an increase in environmental degradation."

The article, "Restoration of Ecosystem Services for Environmental Markets," appears in the July 31 edition of Science. Their work is supported in part by a Collaborative Network for Sustainability grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science is the University System of Maryland's premier environmental research institution. UMCES researchers are helping improve our scientific understanding of Maryland, the region and the world through its three laboratories –Chesapeake Biological Laboratory in Solomons, Appalachian Laboratory in Frostburg, and Horn Point Laboratory in Cambridge – and the Maryland Sea Grant College.

Christopher Conner | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

nachricht Malaysia's unique freshwater mussels in danger
27.09.2016 | The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>