Skip to main content

Ecosystem service marketplaces emerging

by Valentina, May 22
2 minutes read

Ecosystem services are understood as the services provided by humans when they manage and/or protect land and water systems in order to maximise the life-sustaining benefits of these systems, such as clean water and air, pollination, fire/flood control, and healthy soil, among others.

person wearing brown straw hat while planting rice selective focus photography

An ecosystem services marketplace looks to quantify and sell these benefits, separately from the actual products generated on the land (e.g. produce, livestock, commodities). These often fall into certain buckets: carbon markets, biodiversity markets, water markets, or bundled markets. The intention of the marketplace is to financially encourage farmers and ranchers to adopt more sustainable agricultural practices and provide them with a new source of revenue.

After years of development, an abundance of ecosystem service marketplaces are beginning to emerge, from the public launches of the Ecosystem Service Market Consortium and IndigoAg in May and June of 2022 to carbon credit programs within established agribusinesses.

So what?

“Recognize and value ecosystem services” was identified by Forum for the Future as an important leverage point in the work towards accelerating regenerative agriculture in the United States.

While there is an incredible amount of energy around these programs, it remains to be seen whether they can provide adequate incentives to deliver positive environmental and social impacts.

How can we ensure that small-scale farmers, marginalised farmers and ranchers, and communities are actively involved in the discussions and establishment of these marketplaces?

As voluntary, compliance and government-mediated marketplaces are multiplying, how can regulation and enforcement be adaptive to this emerging space?

To see how these different signals across the agriculture system are impacting the future system that we envision, keep an eye out for the upcoming report from
Growing our Future.



by Valentina Spotted 5 signals

Have you spotted a signal of change?

Register to receive the latest from the Futures Centre.
Sign up

  • 0
  • Share

Join discussion

Related signals

Our use of cookies

We use necessary cookies to make our site work. We'd also like to set optional analytics cookies to help us improve it. We won't set optional cookies unless you enable them. Using this tool will set a cookie on your device to remember your preferences.

For more detailed information about the cookies we use, see our Cookies page.

Necessary cookies

Necessary cookies enable core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility. You may disable these by changing your browser settings, but this may affect how the website functions.

Analytics cookies

We'd like to set Google Analytics cookies to help us to improve our website by collecting and reporting information on how you use it. The cookies collect information in a way that does not directly identify anyone. For more information on how these cookies work, please see our 'Cookies page'.