Grown in Marin
University of California
Grown in Marin

Ecosystem Services & Environmental Service Markets

Ecosystem Services

In addition to high quality local agricultural products, Marin’s rangelands and working farms and ranches provide ecological benefits referred to as “ecosystem goods and services”.  By definition these are the benefits people obtain from healthy ecosystems, and include things like clean water for boating, swimming, and drinking; habitat for wildlife; and sequestration of atmospheric carbon.  A few good resources for learning more about these services are:

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Payments for Services

With increased recognition of these services, and the ways in which farms and ranches provide them, comes the interest and ability to gain additional community and public support for local family ranches and capture increased revenue through premium prices, watershed payments, and environmental markets.

  • Premium Prices: Programs such as Verified Green are helping livestock producers to secure higher prices for calves sold through markets.
  • Watershed Payments: Currently direct financial support to farmers and ranchers for ecological services are being made through Watershed Payments.  One example of these payments is administered by the Watershed Agricultural Council, which facilitates payments made by drinking water providers and users in New York to support on-farm soil and water conservation practices.  Another example is the Santa Fe Municipal Watershed Plan, which uses payments from water users to cover the long-term maintenance and management of private forest lands providing drinking water.

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