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Payments for peatland ecosystem services

  1. Opportunities for Payments for Ecosystem Services in Peatlands
  2. Intrinsic value  Should we only value what we can put a price on and value as humans?
  3. A human problem...  Caused by not sufficiently valuing the things we can’t put a price tag on, but that society relies on
  4. PES ...a very human solution  Creating an economic incentive to look after more of our countryside  But must avoid being biased towards services that are easy to monetise
  5. Payments for Ecosystem Services  A voluntary transaction where  A well-defined ecosystem service (or land use likely to secure that service)  Is being “bought” by a (minimum one) ecosystem service buyer  From a (minimum one) ecosystem service provider  If and only if the ecosystem service provider secures provision (conditionality)
  6. Opportunities for peatland PES 1. Climate regulation through carbon sequestration and storage in peat soils 2. Regulation of water quality 3. Regulation of wildfire risk 4. Cultural ecosystem services
  7. 1. Climate regulation Potential to enhance this service:  Restoration can stem loss & absorb carbon  Short-term CH4 problem, long-term GHG benefit  Co-benefits
  8. Market demand  Market demand estimated between 1-10M tonnes carbon reduction p.a. (BRE, 2009)  Pay premium for UK-based carbon from land- based project that has co-benefits  Voluntary carbon markets and CSR operating at a very small scale  Need Government guidance to help regulate & expand this emerging market to ensure:  Long-term, additional climate benefits  Avoid trade-offs with other important services
  9. UK Peatland Carbon Code  Provide projects & investors with scientific basis for good practice in peatland restoration  Option to include peatland restoration in official carbon accounting to become “carbon neutral”  Greenhouse Gas Accounting Guidelines  Not possible to trade this carbon, so...  Government could count it towards Kyoto targets if we sign up to “peatland re-wetting” option
  10. UK Peatland Carbon Code  If designed to meet the Verified Carbon Standard:  Peatland Code would be cheaper alternative that would still provide investors with confidence  Possible to generate trade-able carbon credits for voluntary carbon market (and perhaps compliance markets in future)  A Code could boost both peatland CSR and carbon markets, making more restoration possible
  11. UK Peatland Carbon Code  Next steps:  IUCN establishing Peatland Code group including science panel  Develop GHG accounting methods  Form a Peatland Alliance of businesses interested in funding pilot projects  IUCN launching a Peatland Gateway  Co-ordinate monitoring of restoration projects  Knowledge exchange about peatland restoration between researchers and policy & practitioner communities
  12. 2. Regulation of water quality  Some water companies already paying for WQ via land management  Most interest from companies:  With high proportion of peatland catchments upon which they can influence land management  With current Dissolved Organic Carbon problems (brown water)  With concerns about future DOC problems under climate change
  13. Flood regulation  Evidence too equivocal for inclusion in PES schemes  Impact of restoration on flood regulation depends on:  Type of peat  Its topographic and catchment location  Intensity & type of restoration  Location of restoration with respect to river channels (danger of flood wave synchronicity)
  14. Viki Hirst – water@leeds KE Fellow • VNN & water@leeds ‘Reducing the cost of the Water Framework Directive through Payments for Water Services’ 9th May 2012 • Aims • address barriers and identify options • share examples • assess the economics of WFD implementation • identify the best ways to continue sharing knowledge • Links very well with • IUCN Commission of inquiry on peatlands • Today’s discussion – excellent timing • Write up from today will inform the 9th May event and proceedings • From 9th May we will write a briefing note bringing together • Science understanding • Policy issues • Future requirements and suggestions • Wider interests of those involved • Will provide the best base for future decisions, make suggestions – and will raise awareness of issues
  15. 3. Regulation of wildfire risk  Restoration raises water table  Reduces risk of wildfires burning deep into peat  No market for wildfire risk regulation, but may contribute towards the attractiveness of PES schemes based on carbon or water
  16. 4. Cultural Ecosystem Services  Hard to monetarise, but options emerging  Spatial planning approaches to pay for restoration of sites that could be used for restoration near new developments  Section 106 agreements/Community Infrastructure Levy  Habitat banking/ biodiversity offsets
  17. Visitor Payback as a PES  Where visitor payback schemes in National Parks elicit payments from individual visitors or companies that pay for specific projects that enhance (usually cultural) ecosystem services in the Park  Additional money at a time of Government cut- backs to pay for projects in National Parks that provide cultural services to society...
  18. Uptake X ?
  19. Opportunities to expand 1. Interest from DEFRA and Scottish Government in PES – notably NEWP commitments 2. Technological advances may reduce administration costs, achieve economies of scale without losing local distinctiveness, educate new audiences and make contributions easier 3. Bundling visitor payback with other ecosystem services e.g. offset your travel
  20. Conclusions  Don’t be dazzled by the economics – avoid trade-offs & be aware of stakeholders needs  Opportunities to bundle PES:  Bundling payments for co-benefits of restoration may add value to carbon and/or water schemes  Bundling carbon offsetting with visitor payback?  Integrate with CAP for cost-effective & fair administration?  Need for regulation