Environmental markets theme for February meeting in Houston

Emerging ecosystems markets will be the topic for academia, industry leaders, government officials and landowners at a meeting Feb. 27 in Houston. "Ecosystem Service Markets: Everybody’s Business" will be held at the Westin Galleria Hotel.

The conference aims to help society find practical ways, through marketplace incentives, to protect ecosystems.

"This most important and timely conference serves as a necessary convening of the individuals, organizations and stake holders who would be most impacted by market- based trading of environmental services," said Texas Forest Service director James B. Hull.

"Sustainable development," is increasingly an issue throughout the nation as ecosystems become more fragmented through construction, conference organizers explained.

Healthy, functioning ecosystems are economically important because wetlands purify streams and ground water and assimilate wastes, estuaries mitigate the impact of storms and floods, and forests provide timber and fiber while stabilizing the climate and providing habitat for plants and animals, Hull noted.

"The idea of marketing ecosystem services is still a new frontier, and the innovators making it work come from a mix of private industry, non-profit organizations, academia and public agencies," said Dr. Neal Wilkins, director of the Texas A&M Institute for Renewable Natural Resources. "This conference gathers the experts and innovators in the development for market-based programs for conserving natural resources."

Featured presenters include Dr. J. B. Ruhl of Florida State University College of Law, Dr. James Salzman of Duke University Law School and Dr. Geoffrey Heal of Columbia University. They will lead discussions on landowner incentives to protect natural resources.


For more information and to register, go to http://tfsweb.tamu.edu/ecoserv/.

Cooperating sponsors of the conference are USDA Forest Service, Greater Houston Partnership, Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources, Conservation Capital, Ltd., Houston Advanced Research Center, and Texas Forest Service.

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