Integrating ecosystem markets to co-ordinate landscape-scale public benefits from nature

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Mark S Reed , Tom Curtis, Arjan Gosal, Guy Ziv, Sarah Pyndt Andersen, Ana Attlee, Matthew Hay, David Hill, Helen Kendall, Julia Martin-Ortega, Simone Martino, Stephen Prior, Chris Rodgers, Asger Strange Olesen, Hannah Rudman, Franziska Tanneberger, Kerry Waylen


Ecosystem markets are proliferating around the world in response to increasing demand for climate change mitigation and provision of other public goods. However, this may lead to perverse outcomes, for example where public funding crowds out private investment or different schemes create trade-offs between the ecosystem services they each target. The integration of ecosystem markets could address some of these issues but to date there have been few attempts to do this, and there is limited understanding of either the opportunities or barriers to such integration. This paper reports on a comparative analysis of eleven ecosystem markets in operation or close to market in Europe, based on qualitative analysis of 25 interviews, scheme documentation and two focus groups. Our results indicate three distinct types of markets operating from the regional to national scale, based on modes of operation, funding and outcomes: regional ecosystem markets, national carbon markets and green finance. The typology provides new insights into the operation of ecosystem markets in practice, which may challenge traditionally held notions of Payment for Ecosystem Services. Regional ecosystem markets, in particular, represent a departure from traditional models, by using a risk-based funding model and aggregating both supply and demand to overcome issues of free-riding, ecosystem service trade-offs and land manager engagement. Central to all types of market were trusted intermediaries, brokers and platforms to aggregate supply and demand, build trust and lower transaction costs. The paper proposes five options for integrating public and private funding for the provision of ecosystem services and proposes a framework for integrating national carbon markets and green finance with regional ecosystem markets. Such integration may significantly increase funding for regenerative agriculture and conservation across multiple habitats and services, whilst addressing issues of additionality and ecosystem service trade-offs between competing schemes.



Social and Behavioral Sciences


blended finance, green finance, impact investment, Landscape Enterprise Networks, carbon markets, public-private partnerships, blended finance, green finance, impact investment, Landscape Enterprise Networks, carbon markets, public-private partnerships


Published: 2020-12-21 12:06

Last Updated: 2020-12-31 17:47

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CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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Conflict of interest statement:
Mark Reed is Research Lead for IUCN UK Peatland Programme and sits on the Executive Board for the Peatland Code. Tom Curtis is a founding partner of 3Keel and helped develop Landscape Enterprise Networks. Matthew Hay is a Project Manager and Stephen Prior is co-founder of Forest Carbon Ltd. David Hill is founding owner of Environment Bank Ltd.

Data Availability (Reason not available):
Available via the Resilient Dairy Landscapes project at