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Stacking Ecosystem Services Payments: Risks and Solutions

February 2012

Citation: 42 ELR 10150

Issue: 2

Author: David Cooley and Lydia Olander

Healthy ecosystems provide many services to society, including water filtration, biodiversity habitat protection, and carbon sequestration. A number of incentive programs and markets have arisen to pay landowners for these services, raising questions about how landowners can receive multiple payments for the ecosystem services they provide from the same parcel, a practice known as stacking. Stacking can provide multiple revenue streams for landowners and encourage them to manage their lands for multiple ecosystem services. However, if not well-managed, it may also lead to a net loss of services.

David Cooley is an Associate for Project Development at the Duke Carbon Offsets Initiative at Duke University. He has also worked as a researcher at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University. Lydia Olander is the Director of the Ecosystem Services Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University. She leads the National Ecosystem Services Partnership.

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