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Trading carbon for protected areas

Map of where participants come from and their protected areas

The Joint Eurosite-EUROPARC Working Group on Economics and Ecosystem Services organised a workshop to discuss the possibilities of trading systems on the voluntary carbon market as a potential way to finance management in protected areas in Europe. 24 participants from the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Latvia and Belarus discussed this issue on 16-17 November in the office of EUROPARC Deutschland (Berlin), who kindly hosted the seminar. The goal was to look in some detail into the carbon market and to discuss already existing trading instruments for the voluntary carbon market. The workshop incorporated a series of presentations on the general characteristics of the carbon markets in Europe, the UK Woodland and Peatland Code (partly in place, partly under development), the Moor Futures Scheme in Germany and on the motivations, experiences and expectations of private companies like Coca-Cola, First Climate, Forest Finest and Adelphi who support or participate in these kinds of schemes.

The questions resulting from these presentations were discussed in plenary and reshuffled into questions for two discussion groups on the second day. These questions were about what products, services, added values, etc. can be sold by protected areas and which technical and institutional aspects will have to be settled if a protected area is willing to start a project with a valuable buy-in for companies. It became clear that these kind of trading projects will have to be credible and reliable and as simple as possible. Therefore it will be wise to start on a small scale and to grow from experience. The potential for this niche market is not in a faraway country but will be found on the doorstep of buying companies.

In the end there was too little time to discuss the pros and cons of a trading system that can be shared by the protected areas in Europe. The next step for the Joint Working Group on Economics and Ecosystem Services will be to look into the possibility of comparing existing and developing systems and to combine their strong points into a proposal for a system which can be discussed and eventually shared between protected areas. We hope to come back to this question over the next few months. For further information contact Working Group member Jan Veenstra: j.veenstra@staatsbosbeheer.nl

You can view pictures from the workshop on our Facebook page.