The California Roundtable on Agriculture and the Environment (CRAE) released Guidelines for Creating Effective Ecosystem Services Incentive Programs and Policy in 2012. This paper is the product of a collaboration among agricultural and conservation groups, technical support agencies, and state agencies. The guidelines are a synthesis of best practices gleaned from the combined experience of this group with the intention of supporting evolving efforts to develop conservation incentives that are as successful and responsive to as broad a range of needs as possible.
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Over the last several years, the pressure to improve environmental quality on working lands has been growing while funding for conservation projects has been dwindling. Conservation and agricultural interests have joined with state agencies in identifying ecosystem services as an incentive-based approach to supply the needed public benefits.
In response to the growing number of pilot projects being established to explore ecosystem services markets in California, CRAE developed Guidelines for Creating Effective Ecosystem Services Incentive Programs and Policy. These preliminary guidelines are intended to assist in the development of new programmatic and policy efforts that encourage ecosystem service incentives, and cover:
- Eligible activities
- Reward levels
- Stacking credits
- Transaction values
- Local approaches
- Scientific basis for incentives
- Regulatory alignment