Healthy forests and wetland systems provide a host of watershed services, including water purification, ground water and surface flow regulation, erosion control, and streambank stabilization. The importance of these watershed services will only increase as water quality becomes a critical issue around the globe. Their financial value becomes particularly apparent when the costs of protecting an ecosystem for improved water quality are compared with investments in new or improved infrastructure, such as purification plants and flood control structures – in many cases it is often cheaper and more efficient to invest in ecosystem management and protection.
Innovative market-based mechanisms for watershed services include self-organized private payments, public payments or incentives, and trading schemes.
Updated: May 29, 2009 9:09 AM