WWETAC Projects

Project Title: Conservation markets roundtable: frameworks for bundling ecological services

Principal Investigators: Gina LaRocco and Sara Vickerman, Defenders of Wildlife


Collaborators: Robert Deal, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station

Key Issues/Problems Addressed:

A multi-credit ecosystem marketplace has emerged as a potential avenue for providing an economically and ecologically effective approach to offsetting development impacts and improving conservation efforts. Opportunities and constraints of a multi-credit trading system that would allow landowners to bundle or stack payments for ecosystem services need to be identified to help provide a framework for landowners to access multiple sources of revenue for providing ecological benefits.

Setting and Approach:

This study evaluated current opportunities that exist to help advance implementation of an ecosystem marketplace in Oregon, as well as some potential limitations that could impede its progress. A 2007 report provided ecosystem marketplace terminology as well as opportunities and possible constraints for development in Oregon. A 2011 report comprehensively reviewed bundling and stacking, existing markets, and provided regional examples of markets and payments.

Key Findings:

  • Currently, no laws or policies explicitly prohibit the creation of an ecosystem marketplace in Oregon.
  • Opportunities include modification of mechanisms used to implement existing conservation incentive programs such as wetland mitigation banking, conservation banking, water quality enhancement/protection, and carbon trading programs..
  • Some policies and mechanisms that may affect implementation of a marketplace system include agency funding restrictions that disallow credits beyond an agency's needs; agency preferences for on-site mitigation; lack of coordination among agencies; disagreement among agencies and organizations on payments; lack of a commonly accepted credit valuation tool, and finding acceptable mechanisms to ensure integrity of banks.


Payments focused on ecosystem services potentially provide promising opportunities for landowners, particularly if landowners can access or stack multiple sources of revenue. If correctly implemented, bundling or stacking policies could promote landscape-scale conservation and help move financial incentives toward a more holistic approach of protecting ecosystems.


LaRocco, G. L.; Deal, R. L. 2011. Giving credit where credit is due:  increasing landowner compensation for ecosystem services. USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station General Technical Report PNW-GTR-842. Portland, OR, 32 p. (PDF, 798 KB)

Deal,R.; C. West. 2007. Ecosystem services: Understanding market opportunities for landowners. Western Forester 52(2):1-4. (PDF, 2.6 MB)

Deal, R. L., B. Cochran, G. LaRocco, 2012.  Bundling of ecosystem services to increase forestland value and enhance sustainable forest management. Forest Policy and Economics 17: 69-76. (PDF, 211 KB)

WWETAC Project ID:  FY06JB8