The Office of Environmental Markets (OEM) is a new office created within the U.S. Department of Agriculture to catalyze the development of markets for ecosystem services. OEM has a unique role in the federal government's efforts to develop uniform standards and market infrastructure that will facilitate market-based approaches to agriculture, forest, and rangeland conservation. OEM is bringing experts and stakeholders together with government agencies to build a robust, accessible, and scientifically credible market system that will protect and enhance America's natural capital into the future.
The office, formerly called Office of Ecosystem Services and Markets, was established in December 2008 to provide administrative and technical assistance to the Secretary in implementing Section 2709 of the Farm Bill. Sally Collins was named Director of the office, after serving as Associate Chief of the Forest Service for eight years.
Office of Environmental Markets/USDA
The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 took a first step towards facilitating landowner participation in emerging markets for ecosystem services. Section 2709 of the conservation title requires the Secretary of Agriculture, in consultation with other agencies and interests, to "establish technical guidelines that measure the environmental services benefits from conservation and land management activities." These guidelines will be used in the development of measurement and reporting protocols and registries. Section 2709 also calls for a verification process and guidelines for reported conservation and land management activities.
Updated: July 11, 2011 2:47 PM