About the Data

Ecosystem markets connect people who restore and maintain healthy landscapes with people or organizations willing to pay for conservation activities—whether to safeguard ecological values that they depend on, such as clean and reliable water supplies, to comply with laws and regulations, or to provide a public good like cleaner air. The interactive Ecosystem Markets Map displays information about projects that conserve, restore, or support sustainable management of ecosystem services through ecosystem markets and market-based mechanisms.

Typically, these environmental markets focus on a single ecosystem service or asset type. The projects shown in this map are part of the following four markets that are best-established globally:

  1. Terrestrial, or “forest and land-use,” carbon projects produce “carbon offsets,” which are quantified units of reductions in CO2 emissions that are bought and sold in carbon markets to offset for emissions elsewhere.
  2. Species or habitats projects either preserve or restore at-risk habitat, or re-establish habitat that has already been lost through land-use change or other human activity. These projects mitigate impacts from development and are often conducted as the final step in the “mitigation hierarchy,” which requires that development projects first avoid, minimize, and restore damage to local ecosystems before they resort to mitigating in order to achieve “no net loss” or “net gain” of biodiversity.
  3. Wetlands and streams projects conserve or restore healthy wetlands and streams. Like imperiled species/habitats projects, many of these projects are implemented in response to new development and are used as part of the mitigation hierarchy to achieve “no net loss” or “net gain” of aquatic resources.
  4. Watershed health projects target hydrological services such as water quality, groundwater levels, or dry-season flows. Examples of watershed health-focused projects are water quality trading programs, water funds that direct investments from downstream water users toward conservation of land upstream that regulates water supply, or public subsidies for watershed conservation.

How Do I Use the Filters?

The list of filters on the right-hand side of the Ecosystem Markets Map allows you to select the projects you are interested in. You can select as many or as few filters as you like. Once you have selected your filters, only those projects to which the selected filter category applies will be displayed on the map and in the Project Details section on the left side, and only those projects will also be included in the Summary of Selected Data on the bottom of the page. (Data will only be displayed in the map and the Project Details section where it is available in our database.)

Filters include:
Asset Type is the type of ecosystem service or asset the project is designed to provide or conserve: terrestrial carbon, species and habitats, wetlands and streams, or watershed

Location is the region and country in which the project operates.

Project Status denotes what stage the project is in. We generally consider projects “active,” if they are currently generating quantified ecosystem services or goods that may be transacted through that project’s mechanism.

Intervention is the management method the project uses to restore, enhance, or preserve ecosystem services, such as sustainable agricultural practices or reforestation. Many projects use more than one type of intervention.

Mechanism is the transactional structure through which payments are exchanged for delivery of an ecosystem service asset. We include the following :

  • Bilateral agreements involve a single user or beneficiary of ecosystem services compensating one or more parties for activities that maintain or enhance ecosystem services delivery to the payer.
  • Collective action funds pool resources from multiple service users (and sometimes from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or government acting in the public interest) to pay for coordinated ecosystem services conservation actions across a landscape.
  • Compensatory mitigation is the restoration, establishment, enhancement, and/or preservation of resources or sources of ecosystem services for the purposes of offsetting unavoidable adverse impacts which remain after all appropriate and practicable avoidance and minimization has been achieved. It can be carried out through:
  • Credit banking, in which a third party develops offset credits in advance of impacts, for purchase by parties responsible for environmental damages;
  • Financial compensation/in-lieu fees, where the party responsible for environmental damages makes a financial payment, usually to a government agency or designated environmental fund, which, in turn, funds and oversees biodiversity management and protection programs to compensate for the loss of biodiversity; or
  • Permittee-responsible offsets, in which the party responsible for negative biodiversity impacts (or a subcontractor) carries out its own offsets or compensation, either on- or off-site, depending on the offsetter’s preference and regulatory requirements.
  • Environmental water leasing/acquisition typically involves governments or NGOs acting in the public interest to buy or lease surface water rights. Instead of being used by the buyers, these water rights allocations are set aside so that these waters are not being used which ensures a minimum level of flows or to recharge aquifers.
  • Jurisdictional REDD programs involve donors (most often governments) funding quantified emissions reductions through government-run programs that reduce deforestation and/or forest degradation across a certain jurisdiction and are part of the United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD).
  • Offsets & trading involve companies, organizations, and other entities compensating for their environmental impacts by purchasing standardized units of ecosystem services or goods (in the form of offsets or credits) from other parties who carry out activities that maintain or enhance those ecosystem services or goods. These can be either compliance-driven, in which parties need to act in accordance with laws or regulations, or voluntary, where parties are motivated by other factors such as corporate social responsibility.
  • Public subsidies leverage public finance for large-scale programs that reward land managers for enhancing or protecting ecosystem services.

Year First Active is when the project first began.

Size is the land area a project covers. Measurements are in hectares – one hectare is equal to 0.01 square kilometers or 0.00386 square.

How Can I Use This Data?

The Ecosystem Markets Map is designed to give both high-level information, like the number and types of projects for a given asset type, and specific information about projects, i.e., how they operate and what they are doing to improve the state of ecosystem services.

Maybe you work in one of these markets. The Ecosystem Markets Map shows you other nearby or similar projects.

Maybe you’re a policymaker or politician. This Ecosystem Markets Map shows you the size and scope of ecosystem markets in your jurisdiction.

Maybe you’re a journalist or researcher. This Ecosystem Markets Map shows you where which projects are concentrated (and where they are not).

Maybe you are part of a company looking to set or achieve goals for sustainable environmental management. This Ecosystem Markets Map shows what types of projects are out there and provides contact information for potential project partners to help achieve those goals.

Whatever you use it for, we at Ecosystem Marketplace would love to hear about it. Please send us a note at info@nullecosystemmarketplace.com.

Where Does this Data Come From?

Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace collected this data between 2008 and 2017 through a combination of surveys, personal communications, and desk research on biodiversity (i.e., imperiled species/habitats; wetlands and streams), carbon, and water markets. Geographic point data was provided by the project developer or obtained by geocoding the nearest city or town. Data on imperiled species/habitats and wetland and streams projects in the United States were obtained in 2017 from the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Regulatory In-lieu Fee and Bank Information Tracking System (RIBITS) database. For more information on data sources and collection, please consult the methodology chapters in our report series on the state of various ecosystem service markets: State of Voluntary Carbon Markets, State of Watershed Investments, or State of Biodiversity Mitigation.

What Are the Limitations of this Data?

The Ecosystem Markets Map is not a comprehensive list of all ecosystem markets projects in the world. We do our best to ensure that as many projects as possible are included in our surveys, but we cannot reach all projects around the globe and not all projects respond to our surveys. Some project information may be outdated. For more up to date information about a specific project, either visit the project’s website or contact them directly. Finally, the point locations displayed on the map may not be absolutely precise. In many cases, the project’s exact coordinates were not available and project locations were georeferenced to the nearest town or city.

What if I Want to Change or Update the Information on a Project?

Do you see something that’s not right? If you work for one of these projects and you would like to update information about your project, or would like to send information about a new project please project please click the “submit a project” link in the map or email us at info@nullecosystemmarketplace.com. We rely on you to keep our Ecosystem Markets Map data as up-to-date and accurate as possible.

Where Can I Learn More?

For more information about terrestrial, or forest and land-use, carbon markets and finance, click here.

For more information about the state of biodiversity mitigation, and markets for species/habitats and wetland/stream conservation, click here.

For more information about markets and incentives for watershed health, click here.

For more information about Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace, click here.