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Incorporating ecosystem services into the implementation of existing U.S. natural resource management regulations: Operationalizing carbon sequestration and storage

Ariana E. Sutton-Grier, Amber K. Moore, Peter C. Wiley and Peter Edwards

Marine Policy, 2014, vol. 43, issue C, 246-253

Abstract: Many agencies and organizations, including in the United States federal government, are expressing interest in the measurement and valuation of ecosystem services. Despite this interest, specific guidance on whether and how to incorporate ecosystem services into federal activities remains scarce. This analysis examines three regulations that are important parts of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's mission to protect coastal and marine habitats: the Clean Water Act, the Coastal Zone Management Act, and the Natural Resources Damage Assessment process that is part of the Oil Pollution Act. Case studies of each reveal that it is possible to incorporate the carbon sequestered and stored in coastal habitats, or “carbon services,” into existing processes—consultative, regulatory, and mitigative—that are employed to implement these regulations. Specific examples illustrate how carbon services could be incorporated into the implementation of each federal regulation. The study concludes that incorporating carbon services into the implementation of existing environmental regulations could provide increased protection or restoration of coastal habitats. Increased conservation outcomes could result from changing the way the federal government implements national policy and/or by stimulating increased investment in coastal habitat conservation through private carbon markets. These outcomes would result in a “win-win” for both climate regulation and habitat conservation and would preserve not only the carbon services, but also the many ecosystem services these habitats provide.

Keywords: Ecosystem services; Clean Water Act (CWA); Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA); Natural Resources Damage Assessment (NRDA); Coastal blue carbon (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
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DOI: 10.1016/j.marpol.2013.06.003

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