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Environmental Markets

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Latest News 2-17-16

NRCS & Environmental Markets in the News:

The environmental benefits that healthy ecosystems provide -- such as clean water and air, flood prevention, healthy soils and wildlife habitat – are collectively known as ecosystem services. When ecosystem services can be measured and quantified -- for example, the amount of carbon stored in soil -- they can be sold and purchased through emerging markets. These markets are called ecosystem or environmental markets.

Farmers and ranchers frequently generate ecosystem services when they implement conservation practices on their lands. Producers who generate ecosystem services credit may be able to voluntarily participate in environmental markets, providing an additional source of income.

NRCS’ Role in Environmental Markets

Environmental markets are another tool to help landowners get conservation on the ground. While NRCS has substantial funding to dedicate to private lands conservation, environmental markets complement NRCS’s work by bringing private and other non-Federal investments to private lands conservation.

  • Financial support—Through Conservation Innovation Grants and other mechanisms, NRCS has supported the development of many of the Nation’s leading environmental markets for water quality and carbon.
  • Tools and Data – NRCS develops and hosts software tools to help quantify and estimate the ecosystem services generated through land management actions. 
  • Technical Assistance - NRCS can provide outreach and education on market opportunities through its longstanding relationships with agricultural producers.
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For more information, contact Kari Cohen