Advisory Emphasis – Forestry and Land

Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES)

Beyond traditional timber, agriculture, and real estate sales; U.S. landowners receive billions of dollars annually from carbon, water, biodiversity, land and other ecosystem service markets. This value is expected to grow based on increasing support from public policy and voluntary initiatives such as:

  • Carbon offsets
  • Conservation sales or easement
  • Mitigation banking credits (wetlands, stream, species, water quality), fees and sales
  • Watershed service payments
  • Public conservation / reserve programs
  • Renewable energy, recreation leases

While some options may preclude future timber or resource extraction, others, such as carbon projects and working forest easements, can generate immediate revenue while leaving the door open to future operations. In some cases, it is possible to “stack” multiple categories of payments (e.g. combining easement and carbon sale) to secure full ecosystem service value for the landowner.

Through many years of helping landowners assess carbon and other new markets, we have established a national network of conservation and land-use experts. Combining this local expertise with our own market perspective allows us to offer comprehensive help identifying, prioritizing, and evaluating opportunities across the spectrum of current and emerging ecosystem service markets. 

Our team uses available shapefiles, cruise data, and management documents, along with land-use/conservation databases, GIS analysis, expert interviews, and other primary research as needed to provide Ecosystem Service Opportunity Assessments as a first step to engaging in these markets which includes the following:

  • Identification and prioritization of potential PES opportunities and programs in regions encompassing a designated project area
  • Market overview, history, and prospects
  • Descriptions of past transactions in relevant geographic regions
  • Assessment of eligibility and approximate economic potential
  • Description of risks and unknowns
  • Risk mitigation and stage-gate decision making process
  • Preliminary development plan, timeline, budget
  • Suggested partners and service providers
  • Project marketing strategy
  • Proposal to provide development and marketing services