Exploring the financial value of ecosystem services on lands certified to SFI
Why This Project Matters
Ecosystem services refer to things that the natural world provides to sustain life, such as water, air and recreational opportunities. An ecosystem services perspective offers a way of looking at the collective value of nature. Placing a financial value on these services provides a tool for policymakers and conservationists to evaluate management impacts and conduct a cost-benefit analysis of potential policies. This project is exploring the financial value of ecosystem services in a California forest, owned by Fruit Growers Supply Company and certified to SFI. It will demonstrate the unique role that forests certified to SFI can play in achieving returns through climate change mitigation, watershed improvement, and habitat conservation. Demonstrating the potential for generating value from ecosystem services will help align forest management objectives with the full-spectrum of services that working forests provide society.
How the Project is Exploring the Financial Value of Ecosystem Services
The conservation group, Coalitions & Collaboratives, Inc. (COCO) and its strategic partner RenewWest, a Colorado company specializing in forest-based ecosystem services, are leading the investigation into generating conservation-focused returns through the monetization of carbon, water, and conservation markets. Results will be examined and extrapolated to show potential for other forests certified to SFI. The team will assess the potential of applying the California Compliance Offset Protocol for U.S. Forest Offset Projects for both afforestation/reforestation projects and improved forest management carbon offset projects. The project will also provide a quick and relatively inexpensive analysis of the financial values of both carbon and water for Fruit Growers Supply Company, an SFI Program Participant. The project includes elements of forest restoration, some 30,000 acres of the subject area lost forest cover in a wildfire.
The SFI Conservation and Community Partnerships Grant Program is supporting this project. Results from this grant are expected to increase understanding of which SFI forest management practices have the most significant impact on carbon, water, and other conservation outcomes. This data will create the opportunity to replicate the most beneficial practices, when appropriate, across certified forests. SFI will play a key role in ensuring outcomes are made available to SFI Program Participants and other forest landowners. Additionally, SFI will work closely with the project team to explore how accounting requirements relating to payments for ecosystem services models could be integrated into SFI Standards.
How the Project Helps Forest Managers
Demonstrating the financial value of ecosystem services will help to align forest management objectives with the full-spectrum of services that working forests provide society. The motivations to measure conservation values are diverse: brand owners seek to understand the impact of their sourcing; conservation stakeholders can engage more effectively if they understand the values that certification can provide; and improved tracking will better equip SFI to provide sustainability related metrics and contribute meaningfully to conservation outcomes.
This partnership includes conservationists, researchers, and an SFI Program Participant.
- Project lead: Coalitions & Collaboratives, Inc.
- Sustainable Forestry Initiative
- Colorado Springs Utilities
- Fruit Growers Supply Company (SFI Program Participant)